Strauss-Kahn and Sinclair, 2011
Strauss-Kahn and Sinclair, 2011Reuters

US film director Abel Ferrara, whose film – inspired by the scandal that sullied IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn – premiered in Cannes, refuted allegations of anti-Semitism on Sunday.

The movie stars Gerard Depardieu as a man called Georges Devereaux with striking similarities to "DSK" – who was accused, and later cleared, of assaulting a New York hotel maid in 2011 – and Jacqueline Bisset as his wife.

The daily Le Monde and Strauss-Kahn's ex-wife Anne Sinclair have lashed out at a film they believe portrays Bisset's character Simone in an anti-Jewish way.

Asked about the controversy, Ferrara told AFP he is not anti-Semitic. "I hope not. I was brought up by Jewish women," he said.

In the film, Simone is a rich woman who inherited a fortune amassed during World War II and helps the Israeli state financially.

Writing in the French version of the Huffington Post, which she edits, Sinclair said she was "disgusted with the so-called face-to-face between the two main characters, on which the authors and producers of the film project their fantasies about money and Jews."

"The allusions to my family during the war are completely degrading and defamatory. They say the opposite of what happened," she said.

"My grandfather (famous art dealer Paul Rosenberg) had to escape from the Nazis and was stripped of his French nationality by the Vichy government," she added, referring to the wartime French regime that collaborated with the Germans.

"My father... fought until the liberation. To say otherwise is slander."

Sinclair said she would not resort to legal action over what she described as "dirt".

Ferrara, meanwhile, denied having sullied the memory of Sinclair's father.

"He was not a collaborator. He was almost killed by the Gestapo. He was completely the opposite. He was very nearly killed like six million Jews."