Audiard prison thriller chosen as Gallic entry

PARIS — Prison thriller “A Prophet” has been selected to represent France in the foreign-language film category at the Academy Awards.

Directed by Jacques Audiard, a master of French genre films — notably “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” — “A Prophet” won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes and is screening at the Toronto Film Festival in the Masters category.

The pic stars Tahar Rahim as a troubled, aimless French-Arab man who’s sent to jail where he toughens up and learns how to become a respected mob leader.

Pic was produced by Why Not Films’ prexy Pascal Caucheteux and co-produced by Celluloid Dreams, which also handles international sales.

The pic has been picked up in most territories, including in the U.S., Canada, Japan and the U.K.

In the U.S., Sony Pictures Classics plans a one-week limited run in December, followed by a wider release early next year.

Since its Gallic bow on Aug. 26, the film has attracted 769,126 admissions. UGC Distribution handled the release.

Pic was tapped to rep France at the Oscars by a committee that included Cannes fest topper Thierry Fremaux, prexy of the Cesar Academy Alain Terzian, thesp Jeanne Moreau, and helmers Jean-Jacques Annaud, Costa-Gavras and Regis Wargnier.

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