Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Sabtu, Februari 28, 2009

#167. Berita Filem : French film awards accused of box office snub

PARIS (Reuters) – French cinema holds its version of the Oscars on Friday in a ceremony where self-congratulation after a year of box office and critical triumphs will be dosed by claims that the biggest hit of all has been snubbed.The annual Cesars awards provide the local industry with one of its annual highlights, with a glitzy if rarely glitch-free night often mocked in France for its mix of gushing tributes and onstage gaffes by stars and presenters.

This year, French cinema has an unusually successful period to look back on, with an Oscar for actress Marion Cotillard, the first French film winner at Cannes in more than 20 years and the biggest box office success in the industry's history.But controversy is rarely far away and this year is no exception with claims that the Cesars have ignored the popular comedy "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (Welcome to the Sticks).

The story of a post office executive transferred to the far north of France and forced to deal with rain, strange food and incomprehensible accents has attracted more than 20 million viewers to become the biggest French hit of all time.

Star and director Dany Boon, reported by the daily Le Figaro to have earned 26 million euros ($33.06 million) from the film, will not be attending the ceremony because it has only been nominated for one award -- Best Screenplay.

"It's a shame, it's cinema's party and we're not represented," he told RTL radio earlier this month.

A galaxy of French comedy stars have backed him, declaring that the awards have become the snobbish preserve of intellectual films that nobody watches and demanding a special award for "Best Comedy."

Others, including Luc Besson, director and producer of a string of hits including "Le Grand Bleu" and "Leon," have responded that "Les Ch'tis" was an enjoyable and unpretentious comedy but hardly great cinema.

"I like Dany Boon a lot, 'Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis' made me laugh but I don't understand the debate," he told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Instead, favorites include "Mesrine," the two-part story of legendary 1970s French gangster Jacques Mesrine, starring Vincent Cassel or "A Christmas Tale," director Arnaud Desplechin's family saga starring Catherine Deneuve and Bond villain Mathieu Amalric.

The schoolroom drama "Entre les murs" ("The Class"), the first French film since 1987 to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes and nominated for the Oscar as Best Foreign Film, is also in the running, crowning an outstanding year for French films.

Although the Cesars may have overlooked it, the industry overall has every reason to thank Les Ch'tis, whose success fueled a bumper year in which French films attracted more than 86 million spectators at home and a record 77 million abroad.

Source : Reuters
(Editing by Paul Casciato)
By James Mackenzie James Mackenzie
Fri Feb 27, 6:13 am ET

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