Hardly visible on the screens, in need of public, the films of 2020 offer themselves a new chance to be in the light, with the César nominations on Wednesday, for those who left despite the pandemic.
In total, 133 French films have been listed by the Académie des César, radically changed after a historic crisis last year. They passed between the drops, during the few months that the rooms were open (from January to early March, then between the two confinements, from late June to October).
Who to succeed Miserable by Ladj Ly? After a catastrophic year for the 7th art, the Caesars will perhaps put on the ranks of the sure values of the absurd comedy, like Albert Dupontel for Goodbye Cons or the duo Benoît Delépine / Gustave Kervern for Clear history. Two films that managed to make people laugh under surgical masks.
Other postulants are in the ranks, such as François Ozon (Summer 85), accustomed to nominations but eternally disappointed at the time of rewards, or the twice-crowned actress Isabelle Huppert, part-cop, part-dealer in comedy The mum, for which she had to learn to pronounce the Arabic language …
We will also quote The things we say, the things we do, by Emmanuel Mouret on the vicissitudes of love, which won the “Enlightenment” of the international press, a prize often setting the tone for the Caesars. Or two films with careers broken by confinement: the biopic De Gaulle with Lambert Wilson, DNA by actress and director Maïwenn. This drama mixes the small and the big history, the family and the Franco-Algerian relations.
The nice surprises of the César nominations
In the “nobody saw them coming” category, actor and director Jean-Pascal Zadi was the summer’s public success, with more than 700,000 admissions with Simply black . An appointment would be a logical continuation for this comedy with sketches, political but full of derision, which attacks the clichés on blacks, by an artist who does not come from the seraglio.
Until now little known to the general public, Caroline Vignal has also imposed herself, with more than 700,000 admissions for her comedy Antoinette in the Cévennes, carried by Laure Calamy… and the donkey Patrick. The film should logically carve out a place in the nominations.
Documentary side, A country that stands wise by David Dufresne, trial in order of police violence in France, should receive attention, as Teenage girls by Sébastien Lifshitz, who could continue his career, after winning the Louis-Delluc Prize at the end of January.
In a completely different genre, actor Nicolas Maury was able to move by moving to directing with Rag boy while the filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré struck hard with Cute and its stunning teenage actresses, denouncing both the hypersexualization of children and the weight of traditions.
And its Oscar preselection could make Academicians want to look again at Of them, first feature film by the Italian Filippo Meneghetti, a drama that has remained confidential on a theme that has not been explored much: old age and love between elderly women.
A new era ?
Long awaited by the profession, these nominations, at the end of the first round of voting of the 4,300 members from the profession, are also the first of a new era for the Academy of Caesar, which must give pledges of its profound renewal.
Founded 45 years ago, its management exploded in flight as the 2020 awards ceremony approached, undermined by self-confidence and opacity. Before the coup de grace during the ceremony – the César for best director awarded to Roman Polanski, accused of rape, for I accuse – causing the fury and the departure of actress Adèle Haenel.
The new management, under the aegis of Véronique Cayla, has reviewed everything: Polanski is no longer part of the members, the Césars want to be democratic and equal.
The ceremony, scheduled for March 12, will be a test, chaired by Roschdy Zem, with Marina Foïs as mistress of ceremonies, Laurent Lafitte and Blanche Gardin writing the sketches.