Court rules French film not French enough

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Nov 27 20:27:24 UTC 2004

Court Rules French Film Not French Enough

Sat Nov 27, 9:08 AM ET

By SOPHIE TETREL, Associated Press Writer

PARIS - Never mind that Jean-Pierre Jeunet's new film is a French story
filmed in the French language featuring one of France's biggest actresses.
A Paris court has ruled that "Un Long Dimanche de Fiancailles" (A Very
Long Engagement), which opened Friday in the United States, is too
American to compete in French film festivals  because of its Warner Bros.

Reuters Photo

Related Links
 A Very Long Engagement (Yahoo! Movies)

The movie, which opened at the end of October in France to much acclaim,
stars Audrey Tautou, the winsome young actress who went from virtual
unknown to international star with Jeunet's 2001 romance "Amelie."

The National Center for Cinematography, or CNC, made state funds available
for Jeunet's movie in October 2003. A producer's association immediately
questioned the film's nationality and filed a complaint.

On Thursday, the court canceled the CNC approval, saying that 2003
Productions, a French company acting as the delegated producer for the
movie, was created solely "to allow the company Warner Bros. France ... to
benefit from financial help even though (the fund) is reserved for the
European cinematographic industry."

Jeunet was traveling and not immediately available for comment on the
decision, Warner Independent Pictures said in Los Angeles.

The CNC said it was "carefully studying this judgment and its
consequences," but did not say whether it would appeal.

In an ironic twist, Jeunet's movie cannot even become a candidate for the
prestigious Cannes Film Festival (news - web sites) awards because, with
its U.S. debut, it will have been screened outside its country of origin,
France. Movies shown at Cannes must not have been screened outside the
country where they originate ahead of the festival.

The travails are not yet over for "A Very Long Engagement," which faces
legal action from Corsicans angered by what they consider to be the
movie's demeaning treatment of the population from the French
Mediterranean island.

Five associations that defend the interests of Corsicans said Friday that
the film, "spits" on them by showing a Corsican soldier "abject in his

Jeunet told the newspaper Corse Matin that he was "sincerely affected" by
the charges and that the soldier depicted in his film was not meant to be

Despite his legal troubles in France, Jeunet can still hope for honors in
the United States  but not this season's best foreign film Oscar, because
the film did not open in France in time to qualify. It is, however,
eligible for Oscar nominations for best picture, actress or director.


Copyright  2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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