"Saint Omer" by Alice Diop presented by the CNC to represent France at the Oscars

This feature film hailed by two awards at the Venice Film Festival may compete for the Oscars next January.

The film Saint Omertwice awarded in early September at the Venice Film Festival, by director Alice Diop has been chosen to represent France at the 2023 Oscars, the National Cinema Center (CNC) announced on Friday.

The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023 in Los Angeles. Previously, a shortlist of 15 foreign films selected by the Academy of Oscars will be unveiled on December 21, 2022, before the five finalist films on January 24, 2023. Saint-Omer will therefore have to convince the voters to compete during the American high mass of cinema. .

Inspired by a True Story

Inspired by a true story of an infanticide trial, Saint Omer seeks to explore the “universal question” of the “relationship to motherhood”, affirmed the director during the Mostra.

His film tells the story of Laurence Coly, played by Guslagie Malanda, a Senegalese immigrant accused of having killed her 15-month-old baby by abandoning her on a northern beach at rising tide. The film, centered on the trial, is directly inspired by a news item from 2013 and the trial that followed.

This is the first feature film by the 43-year-old director, until then specializing in documentaries whose We (2021), which took the viewer to meet a territory – that crossed by the RER B – and its inhabitants.

A film “emblematic of the renewal of French cinema”

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the First Film Prize in Venice, Saint Omer is “a powerful film, emblematic of the revival of French cinema that we are proud to have accompanied in particular by the advance on receipts”, welcomed the boss of the CNC, Dominique Boutonnat, quoted in the press release. It will be released in theaters on November 23.

At the end of July, the CNC reviewed the organization of its commission responsible for selecting the French film for the Oscars. From now on, the commission is made up of seven professionals appointed each year by the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul-Malak, on the proposal of the president of the CNC.

The last French film to win the Oscar for best international film was Indochina by RĂ©gis Wargnier, in 1993. Titanium by Julia Ducournau, tricolor representative in 2022, had not been shortlisted by the Academy of the Oscars.

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