Young biz players get political

430 person committee draw party lines

PARIS — With six weeks to go before France’s presidential elections, disinterested French citizens are showing serious signs of campaign fatigue.

But not so film industry folk.

Last week, a batch of bright-eyed young cinema talents joined the traditional film biz supporters of France’s Socialist candidate, outgoing Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

Francois Ozon, hot helmer of the much-hyped “8 Women,” Virginie Ledoyen, one of the film’s stars, and Emmanuelle Devos, the surprise recipient last Saturday of a best actress Cesar for Jacques Audiard’s “Read My Lips” were just three newcomers in a 430-strong support committee from the worlds of arts, sports and science.

Also mentioned were Yvan Attal, actor and helmer of recent hit “My Wife’s an actress,” and Erick Zonka, who directed the prize-winning “The Dream Life of Angels.”

They join an older generation of Socialist-supporting film folk, from stars like Jeanne Moreau, Anouk Aimee and Sandrine Bonnaire to filmmakers Patrice Chereau, Constantin Costa Gavras and indie industryite Marin Karmitz. Powerful agent Dominic Besnehard is also cited.

“It is a fantastic young list with lots of upcoming actors and directors — much better than we had in 1995,” a delighted campaign activist told Variety.

Incumbent president, Gaullist Jacques Chirac, who was supported back then by the likes of Alain Delon and crooner Johnny Haliday, has yet to unveil his list. But it is unlikely to be quite as star-studded.

While members of Jospin’s own family have the right cultural credentials — his sister-in-law is an actress, and his sister a writer — this time ’round, the presidential hopeful can also thank the efforts of two politicians who are particularly well connected in the arts world, Culture Minister Catherine Tasca and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, for roping in so many celebs.

“There’ll be more names on the list in coming days,” the campaign activist boasted.

Not that Jospin values celebrity connections only.

“France is a country of reflection and culture,” the activist pointed out archly, “and it’s just as important for the support committee to include people like the scientist who was responsible for France’s first test tube baby.”

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