The movie, which was acquired by Neon at Cannes, was pre-selected alongside “The Taste of Things” (previously titled “The Pot-au-Feu”), a culinary romance starring Juliette Binoche which won best director at Cannes for French-Vietnamese filmmaker Trần Anh Hùng; Clement Cogitore’s “Sons of Ramses;” Thomas Cailley’s supernatural coming-of-age drama “The Animal Kingdom”; and Denis Imbert’s “On The Wandering Paths.” “The Animal Kingdom” was bought by Magnolia’s Magnet, while “The Taste of Things” was picked up by IFC Films and Sapan Studios. The selected movie will be unveiled on Sept. 21.
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France hasn’t won an Oscar for best international film since Régis Wargnier’s “Indochine” in 1993 (it was then called best foreign-language film). Last year’s French entry, Alice Diop’s “Saint Omer,” which had won the Silver Lion and Lion of the Future at Venice, failed to get nominated after making it on the long list. The last nomination for France in the international feature film category dates back to Ladj Ly’s police brutality thriller “Les Misérables” in 2019.
The underwhelming track record of France in that category has led the National Film Board to revamp its Oscar committee and introduce new members every year who are believed to be familiar with the tastes of Academy voters.
As such, this year’s selection committee includes producers Charles Gillibert (“Annette”), former Lionsgate boss Patrick Wachsberger and Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat, as well as directors Olivier Assayas (“Carlos”) and Mounia Meddour (“Papicha”), and sales agents Sabine Chemaly and Tanja Meissner.
A courtroom drama exploring the collapse of a marriage and a mother-son relationship, “Anatomy of a Fall” has earned the best score for a Palme d’or winner at the French box office in many years. Produced by David Thion and Marie-Ange Luciani, the movie is driven by a powerful performance by German actor Sandra Huller (“The Zone of Interest”).
Other movies that were in the pipeline for the shortlist include “All Your Faces,” Jeanne Herry’s timely ensemble drama starring Gilles Lellouche, Leila Bekhti, Adele Exarchopoulos and Miou-Miou, and “Jeanne du Barry,” Maiwenn’s period movie starring Johnny Depp.
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