French 'cinema d'auteur' had plenty to celebrate at the Cesars, with The Taste of Others, and Harry, He's Here To Help both scooping four awards each.
The comedy hit The Taste Of Others (3.8 million admissions to date) by first timer Agnes Jaoui, recently purchased by Miramax for domestic distribution, received the Best Film award, as well as Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay.
Thriller Harry (1.9 million admissions to date), Dominik Moll's second film, won him the Best Director Award, together with Best Sound and Best Editing Awards. But a nominee for Best Male Newcomer back in 1998, Sergio Lopez, received the Best Actor Award. Dominique Blanc won the Best Actress Award for her convincing role in the low budget film Stand By. This was her 7th Cesar nomination in 14 years and first as Best Actress and saw her competing against such high profile French talents as Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart and another "outsider" Muriel Robin.
The Asian title In The Mood For Love won the Best Foreign Film Award. Special Honorary Awards were given to actress Charlotte Rampling, actor/comedian Darry Cowl and Director Agnès Varda. The majority of the awards demonstrated, on the one hand, the French public's increasing appreciation for lower profile productions and, on the other hand, a new trend from the French film industry towards supporting the latter, in an overall upbeat market.
With huge box office hits such as La Verité Si Je Mens 2 (4.3 million admissions), Le Placard (4.2 million admissions) and Le Pacte Des Loups (3.8 million admissions), the domestic market share of French films hit an all time high of 60.5 % last week, with a cumulative total of 52% since the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, with Patrice Chéreau's Intimacy recently winning the Golden Bear, Lasse Hallstrom's Chocolate (a French co-production) nominated for three Oscars and The Taste Of Others nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category, the French film industry is looking forward to increased export potential.
Cesars in full:
Agnes Jaoui, The Taste of Others (Le Gout des Autres)
Dominik Moll, Harry, He's Here To Help (Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien)
Dominique Blanc, Stand-By
Sergi Lopez, Harry, He's Here To Help (Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien)
In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai
Gerard Lanvin, The Taste of Others (Le Gout des Autres)
Anne Alvaro, The Taste of Others (Le Gout des Autres)
Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, The Taste of Others (Le Gout des Autres)
MOST PROMISING YOUNG ACTRESS
Sylvie Testud, Les Blessures Assassines (Murderous Maids)
MOST PROMISING YOUNG ACTOR
Jalil Lespert, Ressources Humaines (Human Resources)
Laurent Cantet, Ressources Humaines (Human Resources)
Tomatito, Sheikh Ahmad Al Tuni, La Caita and Tony Gatlif Vengo
Souad El Bouhati's Salam and Eric Guirado's Un Petit Air de Fete
Edith Versperini and Jean-Daniel Vuillermoz, St. Cyr
Agnes Godard, Beau Travail (Good Work)
Jean Rabasse, Vatel
Yannick Kergoat, Harry, He's Here To Help (Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien)
Francois Maurel and Gerard Lamps, Harry, He's Here To Help (Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veut du Bien)