First film kudo goes to Rebecca Zlotowski's 'Belle Epine'

Franco-Chilean helmer Raoul Ruiz’s “Mysteries of Lisbon” nabbed the 68th Louis Delluc prize at a ceremony in Paris on Friday.

Produced by Paulo Branco, the 4½ hour period drama is based on Camilo Castelo Branco’s novel. It follows an orphan whose search for identity leads him to cross paths with a vengeful countess and a wealthy businessman, among others, as he travels across Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil.

Pic world preemed at Toronto and earned Ruiz a Silver Shell for director at San Sebastian. It was released in France on Oct. 20 by Branco’s Alfama Films.

“Mysteries of Lisbon” has also been turned into a six-hour miniseries.

The pic beat Xavier Beauvois’ Cannes Jury Prize winner, “Of Gods and Men” (which reps France in the contest for the foreign-language film Oscar), Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos,” Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s “Young Girls in Black,” Bertrand Tavernier’s “The Princess of Montpensier,” Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” Mathieu Amalric’s “On Tour” and Claire Denis’ “White Material.”

The Louis Delluc prize for first film went to Rebecca Zlotowski’s coming-of-age drama “Belle epine,” starring Lea Seydoux, who also stars in “The Mysteries of Lisbon.”

Produced by Frederic Jouve and repped by Pyramide Intl., “Belle epine” bowed in Cannes’ Critics Week and opened in Gaul on Nov. 10.

Other Louis Delluc debut film nominees were Patric Chiha’s “Domaine,” Joann Sfar’s “Gainsbourg,” Marc Dugain’s “An Ordinary Execution,” Katell Quillevere’s “A Violent Poison” and Sophie Letourneur’s “La Vie au Ranch.”

Headed by Cannes fest prexy Gilles Jacob, the Louis Delluc prizes honor French films released in 2010.

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