Depardon’s Modern Life wins Delluc
by Fabien Lemercier
15/12/2008 - Two documentaries looking at rural life scooped top honours at the 2008 edition of the prestigious Louis-Delluc Prize, awarded on December 12 by a jury of 14 film critics and personalities presided by Gilles Jacob.
The main award went to Country Profiles: Modern Life [trailer] by great documentary filmmaker Raymond Depardon (66), while Best Debut Film was presented to outsider favourite L'apprenti [trailer] (“The Apprentice”) by Samuel Collardey (33).
Lauded at the Cannes Film Festival in May in the Un Certain Regard section, where it received a special mention from the jury, Country Profiles: Modern Life is currently enjoying success in French theatres. Released by Ad Vitam, the film – which has garnered over 200,000 admissions in six weeks – has had excellent word-of-mouth publicity and audience figures have only fallen slightly in past weeks (-16% in the latest weekly rankings).
Produced by Palmeraie et Désert (Depardon’s company), Country Profiles: Modern Life was co-produced by France 2 Cinéma and pre-bought by Canal +. The title also received an advance on receipts from the National Film Centre (CNC) and backing from the Île-de-France region. International sales are being handled by Films Distribution.
The film outshone other contenders for the Delluc, including Laurent Cantet’s The Class [trailer, film focus], Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale [trailer], Jacques Doillon’s Just Anybody [trailer], Olivier Assayas’ Summer Hours [trailer], Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche’s Adhen [trailer] and Martin Provost’s Séraphine [trailer].
Winner of Best Film at Venice Critics’ Week and the Jury Prize at Namur, Collardey’s L'apprenti came out top among the debut films, even though it was not on the shortlist of nominees (which included Pierre Schoeller’s Versailles [trailer, film focus], Cédric Anger’s The Killer and Sandrine Bonnaire’s Her Name Is Sabine [trailer]).
Created in 1937, the Louis-Delluc Prize has honoured the greatest French directors, from Jean Renoir to Claude Sautet, not to mention Clouzot, Bresson, Tati, Demy, Godard, Truffaut, Malle, Rohmer, Costa-Gavras, Pialat, Chéreau, Resnais, Tavernier Chabrol, Téchiné, Miller, Guédiguian and Kechiche.
(Translated from French)