France Unveils Short List For Best International Film Candidate – Deadline

France has unveiled the five titles in the running to be its entry for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.

The full short list is:

  • The Animal Kingdom by Thomas Cailley (int’l sales, Studiocanal)
  • Sons of Ramses (Goutte d’Or) by Clement Cogitore (int’l sales, mk2 films)
  • The Pot-Au-Feu by Tràn Anh Hùng (int’l sales, Gaumont, U.S. distrib, Sapan Studios and IFC Films)
  • On The Wondering Paths by Denis Imbert (int’l sales, Newen Connect – (ex-TF1 Studio))

The short list was decided by a selection committee of film professionals on Wednesday in a process overseen by the country’s National Cinema Centre (CNC).

This year’s committee features former Lionsgate film co-chief Patrick Wachsberger; international sales veterans Sabine Chemaly and Tanja Meissner; producer Charles Gillibert; directors Mounia Meddour and Olivier Assayas and composer Alexandre Desplat.

CNC head Dominique Boutonnat and newly-appointed Unifrance President Gilles Pélisson sat in on the discussions as observers.

The committee will reconvene on September 21 to make their final choice after auditioning the producers and sales agents of the preselected films.

In cases where the films have a U.S. distributor attached, they will also join the discussion by video link.

Triet’s thriller Anatomy Of A Fall won Cannes coveted Palme d’Or in May but the director found herself mired in controversy over her politicized victory speech.

The film has since enjoyed a successful theatrical release in France for Le Pacte, grossing around $4.2m to date,

The Deadline review described the film as “ferociously intelligent” and tipped lead actress Sandra Hüller for Best Actress (she lost out to Merve Dizdar in About Dry Grass).

Sumptuous period drama The Pot-Au-Feu revolves a culinary love affair between a cook and her gourmet employee, played by Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel respectively.

Vietnam-born French director Tran Anh Hung broke out internationally with debut film The Scent of Green Papaya. The drama was Vietnam’s entry to the then Foreign Language category of the 1994 Oscars and was nominated.

The Animal Kingdom, which is Cailley’s second feature after Love At First Fight, opened Cannes Un Certain Regard this year.

The fantasy drama is set in a world in which a wave of genetic mutations is transforming some humans into animals. The cast features Romain Duris, Paul Kircher, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Tom Mercier.

On The Wondering Paths stars The Artist Best Actor Oscar winner Jean Dujardin as a writer and adventurer who embarks on solitary trek around France’s Mercantour National Park as he recovers physically and mentally from a debilitating accident.

The film released theatrically in France in March, drawing more than one million spectators for a gross of just over $7m.

Cogitore’s drama Sons of Ramses world premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2022. Set against the backdrop of Paris’s multicultural Goutte d’Or neighborhood, it stars Karim Leklou as a young man who believes he had clairvoyant powers.

France last won the international film category with Régis Wargnier’s Indochine in 1993.

Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables was the last French film to make it through to the final nomination stage in 2020, while Alice Diop’s Saint Omer made it onto the long list of 95th awards.

The submission deadline for the Best International Feature Film category October 2.

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