PARIS– Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” with Oscar-nominated Isabelle Huppert, Francois Ozon’s period drama ‘Frantz’ and Bruno Dumont’s “Slack Bay” are leading the nominations at the 42nd Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars.
Other strong contenders include Houda Benyamina’s directorial debut “Divines,” which won the Camera d’Or in Cannes, was nominated for a Golden Globe and is now competing for best film, first film, director, script, and female newcomer along with other prizes, at the Cesar Awards.
“Elle,” which competed at Cannes, has already earned Isabelle Huppert a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination for best actress. Set in France and produced by Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt, “Elle” has been described as a powerful revenge rape thriller weaving dark humor. Huppert recently received a honorary prize from the French culture ministry and promotion org UniFrance. The movie was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes.
“Frantz,” starring Pierre Niney (“Yves Saint Laurent), turns on a young German woman (Paula Beer) who travels to the grave of her fiancé in France and comes across a mysterious French man (Pierre Niney) who met her husband on the battlefields. “Frantz” was produced by Nicolas and Eric Altmayer at Mandarin Cinema.
“Slack Bay,” which like “Elle,” competed at Cannes is a surreal comedy set at the beginning of the 20th century in a Northern France suburb where two peculiar families clash. The film’s all-stars cast includes Juliette Binoche and Fabrice Luchini. The movie was produced by Rachid Bouchareb and Jean Brehat.
A friendship tale with a strong political resonance, “Divines” stars Oulaya Amamra and Deborah Lukumuena as two friends determined to make money fast and escape to a better life. The movie was conceived by Beyamina following the 2005 riots which erupted after the deaths of two boys who had been running from police in a high-rise ghetto near Paris. Produced by Marc-Benoît Créancier at Easy Tiger, “Divines” world premiered at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight and was picked up by Netflix for worldwide distribution.
More to come