Collardey's 'L'Apprenti' nabs first film prize

Helmer Raymond Depardon was awarded the Prix Louis Delluc, one of France’s most prestigious film honors, for docu feature “La Vie moderne” at a ceremony in Paris on Friday.

The film is the third in his “Profils paysans” series about the lives of dairy farmers in rural France.

The prize for first feature was awarded to “L’Apprenti” (The Apprentice), helmed by Samuel Collardey, also chronicling the farming community.

While many in Gaul have predicted the end of the neorealistic French art film, Delluc jury prexy Gilles Jacob — who is also the Cannes Film Festival topper — said he wanted to “go back to the roots of French artistic patrimony and celebrate intimate stories, like ‘La Vie moderne,’ that emanate a rare depth and sincerity.”

“Entre les murs” (The Class) was a favorite to win the Delluc since it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. But, as Jacob put it, the pic “has already had a great deal of attention and publicity.”

While “La Vie moderne” preemed in Cannes to a standing ovation, it did not achieve commercial success, selling only 200,000 tickets since its bow in October.

The Delluc prize is often awarded to films that go on to win the Cesar, France’s top national film kudo. Last year, helmer Abdellatif Kechiche’s “The Secret of the Grain” won both honors.

A symbol of the high esteem in which the French hold their cinema, the prize was named after Louis Delluc, credited as Gaul’s first film critic. Delluc, who introduced the concept of filmmaking as an art in itself, launched the first cine-clubs — discussion forums about films — in France.

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