Studio directors, celebrity directors and a slew of budding young talents gathered under the crystal chandeliers of the Palais Royal in Paris on Thursday, transforming themselves into “Benedetta” stars. Virginie Evira received the Unifrance Le Prix du Cinéma Français – an honorary award for those who carry the flag of Gaelic cinema around the world – in the presence of the university’s president, Serge Tubiana, and the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdelmalek.
Held as part of Rendez-vous universitaire A Paris, the gala drew a suitably international audience as filmmakers Emilie Atef, Juhu Kozmanin, Sergey Loznitsa and Albert Serra joined “Athena” star Dali Bensula and “Forever Young” with Nadia Tereskiewicz, “Mother” and Son “Annabelle Lingon” and “Everybody Loves Jane” by Céline Defoe during an intimate reception in a lavish setting.
Abdelmalek started the Evira salute with a narrow margin of victory, boasting of domestic venue attendance rates – which, with a loss of just 29% from 2019, represented the most successful post-pandemic recovery in the world – while hailing 27m international turnouts. To Films gaulois banked in 2022.
Unifrance president Serge Tubiana then presented Evira with an award, praising the star for her prestige, likening her abilities to those of a “Swiss army knife” for her agility in carrying drama, comedy and tragedy and padding with equal confidence. “The crowd will follow you wherever you take them,” Tubiana said. “You create an intimacy with your characters, while preserving their mysteries. It is undoubtedly your signature.”
As Evira climbed onto the podium, joining the ranks of previous winners Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, and “Intouchables” directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nacacé, the Belgian-born star reflected on her years growing up in a neighboring country. Through the films of Claude Saute, Leos Carax, Bertrand Tavernier, and many more. .
“These actions were necessary,” Evira said. They shaped my desire to act and make films. I wanted to foster this feeling to help fans of French cinema, and I hope that international audiences will also share the same sense of discovery and liberation.
Evira has been a staple on the festival circuit, bringing Serge Beauzon and Alice Winokour’s “Don Juan” and Alice Winokur’s “Memories of Paris” to Cannes last year, and garnering rave reviews for her leading performance in “Other People’s Children” by Rebecca Zlotowski, which was filmed from Venice. This year, this past September, it will premiere in the US at Sundance ahead of a theatrical release from Music Box Pictures later this spring.
While thanking each of her recent collaborators by name, Evira made a special mention of “Elle” and “Benedetta” director Paul Verhoeven, comparing their respective travels as residents of Belgium and the Netherlands found fame. Written by – French industry.
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