Gallic kudos leave ‘Engagement’ off list

Jury denies non-French status disqualified pic

PARIS — Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “A Very Long Engagement” is out of the running for France’s prestigious Prix Louis Delluc for best French film.

Initially cited as a contender, pic failed to make the shortlist along with a handful of other also-rans including Agnes Jaoui’s “Look at Me,” which nabbed screenplay honors at the Cannes Film Festival, and Eric Rohmer’s “Triple Agent.”

“The selection reflects the tastes of the jury and no other criterion,” jury prexy Gilles Jacob said Tuesday. This counters the notion that “Engagement” was disqualified because a Gallic court stripped its production company, Warner-backed 2003 Prods., of its “French” status, denying it access to local funding.

The five pics competing for the Prix Louis Delluc are Olivier Assayas’ “Clean,” Abdellatif Kechiche’s “L’esquive,” Arnaud Desplechin’s ‘Kings and Queen,” Andre Techine’s “Changing Times” and Rithy Panh’s docu “S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine.”

Five titles are vying for first-film kudos: Eleonore Fauchet’s “A Common Thread,” Isild Le Besco’s “Half-Price,” Yolande Moreau and Gilles Porte’s “When the Tide Comes In,” Emmanuel Carrere’s “Return to Kotelnitch” and Jean-Marc Moutout’s “Work Hard, Play Hard.”

Winners will be announced Dec. 17.

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