'Trilogie,' 'Sentiments' named film of the year

PARIS — Multihyphenate Lucas Belvaux’s three interlocking features known collectively as “La Trilogie” and helmer Noemie Lvovsky’s hit “Les Sentiments” tied Tuesday for the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc for French film of the year.

Victor in the first-film category was thesp-turned-helmer Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s bittersweet, semi-autobiographical “Il est plus facile pour un chameau…” (It’s Easier for a Camel…).

Belvaux’s “La Trilogie” comprises thriller “Cavale” (On the Run), about an obsessed psychopath; character-driven comedy “Un couple epatant” (An Amazing Couple), about a husband and wife who each wrongly believe the other is having an affair; and “Apres la vie” (After Life), a dramatic tale about the moral dilemmas of a not-too-honest cop played out against a manhunt.

The project was hailed as an exceptional achievement for Belvaux, a little-known Belgian director-writer who also starred in the trilogy.

“Les Sentiments” is a tale of marital ennui and middle-class adultery using a Greek-chorus device to move the action along. Lvovsky also co-wrote the script.

In “Camel,” Tedeschi stars as an already rich Parisian, who will become obscenely wealthy upon the death of her father, trying to make sense of her life. Tedeschi co-wrote the script with Lvovsky and Agnes de Sacy.

The coveted honor informally kicks off Gaul’s cinema awards season.

The awards were announced by jury president Gilles Jacob at Fouquet’s, the upscale eatery on the Champs-Elysees that is the traditional home for deliberations concerning the prize.

Kudo was established by film critics in 1937 to commemorate Gaul’s unofficial father of film criticism, Louis Delluc, who died at age 33 in 1924.

He was among the first wave of crix to become directors — an example later emulated in the sound era by the French New Wave crowd.

While other festival and cinema juries come and go, a slot on the Delluc panel is a lifetime gig, during which one’s predecessors’ judgments continue to resonate.

The jury stands at 15 plus prez Jacob, with historian and “History of Eroticism” author Lo Duca voting since 1945.

Former winners range from Jean Renoir and Jean Cocteau to Albert Lamorisse for the 1956 children’s classic “The Red Balloon.” Louis Malle won it twice and Alain Resnais has won it four times.

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