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Culture

Coming-out comedy wins big at France’s top film awards

© Photo: AFP

Video by Thomas WATERHOUSE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-01

An offbeat coming-out comedy stole the show at France’s top film awards on Friday, with Guillaume Gallienne (pictured) celebrating five César Awards for “Les Garçons et Guillaume, a table!" (“Me, Myself and Mum”) at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris.

The movie, which is Gallienne's directorial debut, led the race at the 39th César Awards with Best Film, Best First Film, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay (all Gallienne) and Best Editing (Valérie Deseine).

Best Director went to Roman Polanski for "Venus in Fur", an edgy drama adapted from the stage about sexual role-play.

Best Foreign Film went to "Alabama Monroe" ("The Broken Circle Breakdown)'' by Belgian Felix Van Groeningen, beating out films like "Gravity," "Blue Jasmine'' and "Django Unchained".

"Broken Circle Breakdown," which tells the story of a man and a woman who fall in love and face tragedy when their daughter is diagnosed with cancer, is up for an Oscar in the same category.

Best Actress, presented by Jeremy Irons, went to Sandrine Kiberlain for "9 Mois Ferme," while Gallienne was also named best actor for “Me, Myself and Mum”.

The biggest loser of the night was lesbian love story "La Vie d'Adèle" ("Blue is the Warmest Colour") which scooped the Palme d'Or in Cannes last year and had led the race at the Césars.

The movie about an intense relationship between an art student and a schoolgirl was nominated in a string of categories including Best Picture and Best Director for the French-Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, but came away with only a Best Newcomer award for its lead, Adèle Exarchopoulos.

The film's sensational welcome last year was tarnished by a public row between the director and the film’s two stars, Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, notably over the filming of graphic sex scenes.

‘It was a very good year in cinema’

FRANCE 24 film critic Lisa Nesselson applauded the wide-reaching selection of winners at this year's awards, saying that the honouring of many movies "suggests that it was a very good year for cinema".

No win for Hollande’s lover

For Julie Gayet, the woman outed as French President François Hollande's lover in January, Friday's ceremony was her first high-profile appearance since news of the affair broke.

Gayet had been widely expected to stay away from the awards, despite her nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Quai d'Orsay," in which she played a seductive aide at the French foreign ministry. Gayet lost out to actress Adèle Haenel for the film "Suzanne".

The actress had kept a low profile since tabloid magazine Closer published a series of photos showing Hollande, 59, and Gayet, 41, arriving separately for trysts at a flat close to the presidential Elysée Palace in January – revelations that prompted an end to Hollande's long-term relationship with journalist Valérie Trierweiler, 48, the country's de-facto first lady.

Gayet's appearance came just hours after Trierweiler also stepped out of the shadows for the first time in weeks when she appeared in the front row at a Dior catwalk show as part of Paris fashion week.

In the run-up to the awards, organisers had refused to say whether she would be present or not and the actress skipped a traditional pre-ceremony dinner for nominees.

Quentin Tarantino and Scarlett Johansson were also at Friday's awards, held two days before the US Oscars. Johansson, who has been living in Paris, received an honorary César in recognition of a career in which she has already made 35 films.

The actress, who is engaged to a French journalist, was given a warm reception despite going on US television last month to declare that Parisians lived up to their rude stereotype.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2014-03-01

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