Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Live: Air Algérie flight missing over northern Mali

    Read more

  • ‘Many’ French passengers on board missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

Culture

Oscar snub for 'Of Gods and Men' ruffles French feathers

Text by Jon FROSCH

Latest update : 2011-02-26

The omission of a beloved French film in the Best Foreign Language Film category of Oscar nominees - and the inclusion of a sceptically regarded Algerian one - has raised a few eyebrows and damaged some egos in France.

In the grand scheme of French-American relations, it’s a miniscule bump in the road.

Still, the omission of Xavier Beauvois’s critically beloved “Of Gods and Men” (“Des hommes et des dieux”) in the Best Foreign Language Film category of Oscar nominees has raised some eyebrows and hurt a few feelings in France. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that the Academy nominated Rachid Bouchareb’s “Outside the Law”, an Algerian entry accused by several French politicians of being anti-French.

Both films deal with France’s historically uneasy relationship with former colony Algeria – but in the one that was nominated, the French are the oppressors, while in the one passed over, they are essentially martyrs.

The latter film, “Of Gods and Men”, tells a true story of French Trappist monks living in an Algerian village in the 1990s who decide to stay despite a wave of Islamic extremism. The understated, powerful film won the second place Grand Prize at Cannes in May, graced dozens of critics’ “10-best” lists at the end of the year, and scored 11 nominations for the Césars (the French equivalent of the Oscars).

‘Sniff, sniff’

An “enormous disappointment” was how French regional daily Le Parisien qualified the Oscar snub. “Sniff sniff” lamented the online edition of popular magazine Voici.

Meanwhile, “Outside the Law”, about Algerian brothers living in France during Algeria’s war for independence, received only middling reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. The film, inflated with period pomp and didactic storytelling, also set off a controversy ahead of its premiere at Cannes last spring. A deputy from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party accused filmmaker Bouchareb of “falsifying” history in his portrayal of the 1945 Sétif massacre (in which clashes between French forces and Algerian protesters caused mass deaths on both sides). According to the deputy, as well as the French Defence Ministry, “Outside the Law” placed disproportionate blame on the French side, while minimising the violence of the Algerian uprising.

Ignoring French cinema?

Films eligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar are submitted by individual countries, and then narrowed down to five nominees by a designated committee in the US. The final step comes when Academy members vote for one of the films.

One French journalist, writing for respected magazine Paris Match, alleged that since “Indochine” took home the Best Foreign Language Film trophy in 1993, “the Oscars have systematically ignored French cinema”. Indeed, France has not won since then (though eight French films were nominated), whereas it was a frequent winner in earlier decades.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM NOMINEES

Outside the Law (Hors la Loi) (Algeria)

Incendies (Canada)

In a Better World (Denmark)

Dogtooth (Greece)

Biutiful (Mexico)
 

Franck Garbarz, a critic for prestigious French film magazine Positif, told France24.com that the French reaction was one of “hurt pride”, and admitted he would have rather seen “Of Gods and Men” nominated.

Still, Garbarz noted that “Of Gods and Men” does not need an Oscar for international exposure, because its quality as a film would earn it notice around the world.

And, he added, “it’s really a ridiculous controversy”.

The Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 27.
 

Date created : 2011-01-26

  • CINEMA

    'The King's Speech', 'True Grit' lead Oscar nominations

    Read more

  • CINEMA

    With 'Somewhere', Sofia Coppola puts a new spin on old obsessions

    Read more

COMMENT(S)