My Paris Stories
My Concierge Told Me
My Paris Stories

Of Gods and Men and the French Film Family

I know an old lady who loves to go to celebrity's funerals. Listening to the speeches, seeing all these flowers is so touching, she says. It’s second-hand emotion, but it works.

Myself, I love watching the César awards. It’s like a huge family. Everybody knows everybody. They love and some hate each other. People cry. But these are tears of happiness – and it’s quite nice to join them on this occasion.

Cinema saved his life

Look at Xavier Beauvois yesterday: the director of the best film “Of Gods and Men”. He was so overwhelmed,  he could barely speak. He sounded like he was under the influence drugs. But it was pure emotion. Beauvois, who has a very modest background and is a self-made man, it is often said that cinema saved his life. And you can feel this seeing his films. More than 3 million spectators have seen "Of Gods and Men" just in France. But for Beauvois it’s not about making money, it’s about passion.


During his acceptance speech Mr. Beauvois appealed for openness towards Muslims in France and described his film as a "message of equality, liberty, and fraternity."

"I don't want people to say bad things about Muslims,” he said. “I want us to be together with them, that's the lesson of this film."

No César again?

This film, small by any means, is brought to life by its actors. The touching Michael Lonsdale got a César for the best supporting role. But unfortunately Lambert Wilson, four times nominated, but never César awarded actor playing the main role, went home empty handed. If not this time, he might have ask himself, when will I ever get this damned César?

Director Roman Polanski, who also took home a César for “The Ghost Writer” as best director, was also very touched. He didn’t use many words, only said, that he had to finish this film “en taule” – meaning: in jail. He just thanked everybody supporting him during these hard times and quickly left the stage - to avoid tears, I guess.

The talisman panties

And the girls? Well, less control, more emotion, of course. Leila Bekhti for example. Don’t know her? She’s screening in the social dramedy "All That Glitters" and snatched up the newcomer prize, the César de l’espoir féminin. She had trouble to keep her two breasts inside her gown, looking terrified by surprise. You cried with her, with compassion.

The most French appearance among this French family of film goes to Sara Forestier who won the Best Actress award for Michel Leclerc's film "Le Nom des Gens" (The Names of Love). Sara admitted that she had no speech prepared but that she had put on her talisman panties. “The funny thing is, it’s true, I’m always lucky wearing them!”

A virgin prostitute

But that’s not all. Sara said that she was really, really acting. Why? Well, the film deals about politics and a young prostitute. And she? Not only no clue of politics, "also a virgin when I started starring". True or not true out of the mouth of a beautiful French girl aged 25? Never mind. She was just very touching.Photos:
French actress Leila Bekti - hiding her joy and her breasts - after winning the Best Newcomer award  Photo: Bertrand Guay, AFP