Martin Provost's Seraphine was the big winner at Friday night's Cesar awards ceremony in Paris. The film scored seven prizes including best picture.
Vincent Cassel took top acting honors for Jean-Francois Richet's Mesrine, the two-part story of France's notorious gangster which had been the most-heavily nominated going into the awards with ten mentions in total.
Seraphine, the story of the gifted self-taught painter, had been nominated in nine categories and took prizes including best actress for Yolande Moreau, best original screenplay, best cinematography, best score, best art direction and best costumes. Music Box has US rights to the film.
Provost was also nominated for best director but that prize in turn went to Mesrine's Richet.
Palme d'Or winner The Class took only the best adapted screenplay Cesar. The prize went to the film's director Laurent Cantet and co-screenwriter Robin Campillo along with Francois Begaudeau whose book was the source material for the film. It had been nominated in five categories.
The supporting actress award went to Elsa Zylberstein for Philippe Claudel's I've Loved You So Long while Jean-Paul Roussillon won best supporting actor for Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale.
Ari Folman's Waltz With Bashir won the best foreign language film prize, scoring a coup after the upset at the Oscars. Hollywood was on hand in the form of Sean Penn who presented the award for best picture - his Into The Wild was vying in the foreign film category - and Dustin Hoffman who received a special honour.
The fulllist of Cesar winners:
Seraphine, dir : Martin Provost
Vincent Cassel, Mesrine
Yolande Moreau, Seraphine
Jean-Francois Richet, Mesrine
Best Original Screenplay
Martin Provost, Seraphine
Best Adapted Screenplay
Laurent Cantet, Francois Begaudeau and Robin Campillo, The Class
Best First Film
I've Loved You So Long, dir: Philippe Claudel
Best Supporting Actress
Elsa Zilberstein, I've Loved You So Long
Best Supporting Actor
Jean-Paul Roussillon, A Christmas Tale
Best Newcomer, Male
Marc-Andre Grondin, Le Premier Jour Du Reste De Ta Vie
Best Newcomer, Female
Deborah Francois, Le Premier Jour Du Reste De Ta Vie
Michael Galasso, Seraphine
Laurent Brunet, Seraphine
Madeline Fontaine, Seraphine
Best Art Direction
Thierry Francois, Seraphine
Sophie Reine, Le Premier Jour Du Reste De Ta Vie
Alexandre Widmer, Francois Groult, Gerard Hardy, Herve Buirette, Jean Minodo, Mesrine
Best Foreign Film
Waltz With Bashir, dir: Ari Folman
Les Plages d'Agnes, dir: Agnes Varda
Best Short Film
Les Miettes, dir : Pierre Pinaud