‘No culture, no future’: French film awards turn into protest over Covid closures

France’s annual celebration of cinema, Les Césars, on Friday became the stage for venting frustrations over the months-long shutdown of theatres. Actress Corinne Masiero stole the limelight when she stripped naked with the words “No culture, no future” written across her front as she presented the costume award.

The mood was set from the opening monologue, as mistress of ceremonies Marina Fois launched a scathing attack on Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot.

“The minister hasn’t done nothing… Madame Bachelot, you released a book with your recipe for pasta and gorgonzola,” the actress joked, before striking a sad note to conclude: “What we miss is what unites us, the emotions that we experience together.”

Bachelot was reportedly present in the Olympia venue in Paris for the 46th edition, but the television channel Canal+ was instructed not to zoom in on her.

Several participants at the César Awards used the event as a platform to confront the government over its decision to keep cinemas shut since October, even as most other businesses have reopened.

“My children can go to Zara but not the cinema… it’s incomprehensible,” said Stephane Demoustier as he picked up the Cesar for best screenplay for “The Girl With a Bracelet”.



For her part, actress Corinne Masiero turned her message into performance art. She wore a bloody donkey costume, before stripping naked – to reveal messages painted on her body – referring to how cinema industry workers see themselves “stripped” of work in the face of the pandemic.

On her back were the words “Give us back our art Jean,” directed at Prime Minister Jean Castex, while on her chest were the words “No culture no future”.

The country has seen mounting protests in recent days over the closure of cultural sites, with several theatres occupied by activists and students.

Greater diversity

The big winner on the night was Adieu les Cons (Bye Bye Morons), a comedy drama about a seriously ill woman searching for her long-lost child, which took home seven awards including best film and best director for Albert Dupontel.

Continue reading “‘No culture, no future’: French film awards turn into protest over Covid closures”

French film critics crown Love Affair(s) their winner

Association of French Film Critics president Philippe Rouyer and director Emmanuel Mouret with his prize for Love Affair(s)
Association of French Film Critics president Philippe Rouyer and director Emmanuel Mouret with his prize for Love Affair(s)

08/03/2021 – Emmanuel Mouret’s feature film walks away with the title of Best French Film of 2020, while Aurel’s Josep is named Best First Film

The Association of French Film Critics has announced its champions for 2020. The accolade of Best French Film of the Year went to Love Affair(s) by Emmanuel Mouret, which sees the movie continuing a winning streak which began with Cannes’ 2020 Official Selection label and has since been bolstered by the 2021 Lumières award for Best Film, as well as 13 nominations for this year’s César awards, the victors of which will be announced on 12 March. Notably starring Camélia Jordana, Nils Schneider, Vincent Macaigne, Jeanna Thiam, Guillaume Gouix, Émilie Dequenne and Julia Piaton, this Moby Dick Films production which was distributed in France in September of last year, courtesy of Pyramide, is sold worldwide by Elle Driver.

The award for Best First French Film, meanwhile, was won by an animated film also bearing Cannes’ 2020 Official Selection stamp of approval: Josep by Aurel. Produced by Les Films d’Ici Méditerranée in co-production with France 3 Cinéma, Spanish group Imagic Telecom and film studios Les Films du Poisson Rouge, Lunanime (Belgium), Promenons nous dans les bois, Tchak, Les Fées Spéciales and Effecto, this trophy for Josep joins an already impressive horde (European Film Award for Best Animated Film, two Lumières awards and the Louis-Delluc Prize for Best First Film). Released in France back in the autumn, courtesy of Sophie Dulac Distribution, the feature film is sold by The Party Films Sales. Continue reading “French film critics crown Love Affair(s) their winner”

Does Polanski’s César award highlight a deep problem in French society?

The elite world of French cinema is divided over the 45th César Awards ceremony, the French equivalent of the Oscars. A movie by the controversial and divisive Franco-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski won three awards, including the coveted Best Director prize. This was a bitter pill to swallow for many, including feminist groups who had called for a boycott of the ceremony. The incident once again ignited a fierce debate about the question of “separating the man from the artist”. Does this episode highlight a deep-rooted problem in French society? And are things slowly starting to change?

Source: Does Polanski’s César award highlight a deep problem in French society? – French connections

Domestic abuse film ‘Custody’ sweeps board at France’s Cesar awards

“Custody”, a film about domestic violence and a divorced couple’s battle over their son, was the big winner at the “French Oscars” — the Cesars — on Friday, where veteran US actor and director Robert Redford was presented with an honorary award.

Released in France under its original title of “Jusqu’à la garde”, “Custody” is director Xavier Legrand’s first feature-length movie and took home four awards including best film and best original screenplay.

It also earned a best leading actress award for Lea Drucker, who plays Miriam, a brave but fragile mother struggling to recover after her separation and fighting to protect her son from his violent father.

“When we made the film in 2016, 123 women were killed by their partner or ex-partner” in France, Legrand said as he picked up his award.

“Since January 1, 2019, 25 women have been killed, which means we’ve gone from one woman every three days, as it was in 2016, to one every two days.”

The awards ceremony, the biggest of its kind recognising French cinema, is now in its 44th year and was held at a glittering gala celebration in Paris.

“I would like to dedicate this award to all the Miriams, all the women who are not living a fiction but a tragic reality,” Drucker said as she collected her statuette.

Source: Domestic abuse film ‘Custody’ sweeps board at France’s Cesar awards

Film stars protest sexual harassment at ‘French Oscars’


Throughout the Cesar Awards ceremony Friday night, presenters and winners referenced the movement that has campaigned for an end to abuses by powerful men.

And the packed concert hall stood in ovation as the presenter called on everyone to support the #MaintenantOnAgit (Now We Act) campaign launched this week, aimed at raising money to help women pursue legal complaints against abusers.

Anger over sexual violence and demands for gender equality in the cinema industry charged the atmosphere around this year’s Cesars – much like around the Oscars coming up Sunday in Hollywood.

Instead of wearing black – as actors in the U.S. and Britain have done at recent awards shows – French stars chose to wear a white ribbon to make their statement.

So did special guests like Penelope Cruz, given a special award for her career’s work.

“The entire world is talking about this, it’s not only a problem of our industry, but of all industries and of any woman who does not have the opportunity to have a microphone in front of her as I have myself,” she told reporters.

The most Cesar awards went to the AIDS drama “120 Beats Per Minute,” which took six prizes, including best film. Directed by Robin Campillo, the movie centers on the activist group ACT UP in Paris in the 1990s at the height of the AIDS crisis.

Producer Marie-Ange Luciani hailed the social change since that era, including growing acceptance of gay marriage. She also had a message for those disconcerted by the turmoil prompted by the #MeToo movement that started in Hollywood with sexual abuse accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein.

“Don’t be afraid of what will happen. This moment is not a threat. It is a promise. And history will show we are right,” she said.

France’s entertainment industry has seen divisions over the #MeToo movement, with Catherine Deneuve notably saying it had gone too far.

No one at the Cesars publicly said anything similar.

The ceremony’s president, Vanessa Paradis – singer and actress and Johnny Depp’s ex-wife – set the tone by opening the show saying: “I am wearing this white ribbon for the fight against violence against women.”

More than 100 personalities, including actress Sandrine Bonnaire, director Agnes Jaoui and actor-director Julie Gayet, asked for donations destined for associations helping women pursue cases before justice, “so that no woman ever again has to say #MeToo.”

French film stars including Juliet Binoche called in a proposal in newspaper Le Monde on Friday for quotas to guarantee that more government film subsidies go to movies directed by women.

The ceremony was dedicated to Jeanne Moreau, the smoky-voiced femme fatale of the French New Wave who died last year, known for her distinctive blend of sensuality, intellect and resolve.

Best actress winner Jeanne Balibar praised actresses for supporting each other amid discrimination, injustice and abuses. “Despite our differences and our competition, we hold on.”

In addition to a white ribbon, actorBlanche Gardin wore a pin with the picture of comedian Louis C.K., accused of sexual harassment, and earned laughter with a sarcastic plea:

“Producers no longer have the right to rape actresses . But do we still have the right to sleep with them to get roles?” she asked. “Because if we don’t, then we have to learn our lines, pass auditions, and we don’t have the time. You realize how much time that takes?”