Before the Oscar there was César
A low-budget immigrant drama collected four prizes, including best picture, at last weekend’s César awards in Paris, the French film industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. La Graine et le Mulet (The Secret of the Grain) deals with a Maghrebi emigre who attempts to open a restaurant in his adopted country, France.
Abdellatif Kechiche, the film’s Tunisian-born, French-raised actor-writer- director, received Césars for best picture, director and screenplay. La Graine et le Mulet also took the prize for breakthrough performance by an actress, which went to Hafsia Herzi.
There was no surprise at all when the César for best actor went to Mathieu Amalric for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, while Marion Cotillard (an Oscar winner two days later) was voted best actress for La Vie en Rose, which also took Césars for art direction, costume design, cinematography and sound.
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parranoud took the Césars for best adapted screenplay and best film for the animated Persepolis. Julie Depardieu was named best supporting actress for Un Secret. Sami Boujilla was voted best supporting actor for The Witnesses. The best foreign film went to The Lives of Others.
Rhys Meyers goes to the devil
Before Jonathan Rhys Meyers reprises his role as Henry VIII for the third series of The Tudors, he is joining Julianne Moore in Shelter, which starts shooting in Pittsburgh late next month. In this supernatural thriller, Rhys Meyers plays a demonic preacher who threatens the daughter of a sceptical psychiatrist (Moore).
Greenaway’s up to his old tricks
Idiosyncratic director Peter Greenaway, who is almost as obsessed with numbers as he is with getting his actors naked on screen, is planning a science-fiction film based on his own book, The Historians Book 39: The Rise and Fall of Gestures Drama. “It is really a history of cinema rewritten as fiction,” Greenaway explains. “It is the first of 100 slim volumes that will together act as a compendium of history. Each will examine a range of topics, from toys and clouds to conception and death.”
Greenaway’s recent Nightwatching, starring Martin Freeman (from The Office) as Rembrandt, has yet to be released. He has four other movies in the pipeline. The first, which shoots in São Paulo this summer, is a dramatisation of the Old Testament that “will merge religion and porn”.
Lennon death revisited
Hot on the heels of The Killing of John Lennoncomes Chapter 27, starring Jared Leto as murderer Mark David Chapman and due for US release next month. No slouch when it comes to immersing himself in a role, Leto gained so much weight to play Chapman that he came down with gout.
We’ll drink to that
A bar near my LA hotel had a special cocktail menu for Oscar weekend. Offerings included There Will Be Bloody Marys and Juno Non-Virgin Daiquiri. They obviously didn’t think of Atone Mint Julep.
Hail César: Marion Cotillard collects hers
Martin Freeman as Rembrandt in Peter Greenaway’s Nightwatching