Posted by Paul
When the French presented the Statue de la Liberté to the United States in 1886, ties between the nations could not have been stronger.
Since then, there have been numerous examples of Franco-US discord, but for the current generation it was the 2003 invasion of Iraq that prompted a significant deterioration in relations.
In September of that year, Jacques Chirac blasted the US for going to war without UN approval.
The Americans responded angrily with anti-French sentiment returning to the fore. One memorable and rather comical development was when ‘French fries’ were renamed ‘freedom fries’ in all eateries in the House of Representatives, with restaurants across the country following suit.
The relationship between the two nations remained cool for some time but, of late, there have been signs it may be thawing.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency appeared to usher in a new era of solidarity between the two.
Pictures of Sarko and Dubya embracing for the cameras stunned the world.
Sacré bleu! The Academy of Motion Pictures award the gong for Best Actress – the first ever Oscar for a French language film – to Marion Cotillard.
Had these two great nations put their differences on the War on Terror aside to work together on key issues?
Perhaps, but news reported on Sunday may scupper the efforts of Sarkozy and others. The French are not afraid to speak their mind as Mme Cotillard has demonstrated.
The actress faces a backlash in the US over comments she made in an interview in France.
Footage which surfaced on the internet showed her questioning the New York terrorist attacks of September 11 and the 1969 moon landing.
"I think we’re lied to about a number of things," she said, singling out September 11.
Referring to the two passenger jets flown into the World Trade Centre, Cotillard said: "We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned? There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours.
It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed."
Cotillard suggested that the towers, planned in the early 1960s, were an outdated "money sucker" which would have cost so much to modernise that it was easier to destroy them.
Turning to America’s space programme, she said: "Did a man really walk on the moon? I saw plenty of documentaries on it, and I really wondered. And in any case I don’t believe all they tell me, that’s for sure."
This wonderfully talented actress had the opportunity to become a major Hollywood star. Her comments about 9/11 may just make her untouchable, and possibly even reopen those wounds that Sarkozy has been trying so hard to heal.
Read more about Cotillard’s comments in external articles by searching on MSN Search.