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Kechiche to pick up the award at San Sebastian

MADRID – Abdellatif Kechiche’s intimate study of a relationship, “Adele: Chapters 1 & 2,” has won the Intl. Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Grand Prix for film of the year.

Kechiche will pick up the prize in person at the opening gala of the 61st San Sebastian Festival on Sept. 20, accompanied by Wild Bunch’s Brahim Chioua, one of “Adele’s” producers.

Sundance Selects acquired U.S. rights to “Adele” at Cannes.

Hitting Cannes mid-fest this year, “Adele” revolutionized prize predictions at the festival, positioning itself as critics’ clear favorite right through to the prize announcements where a Steven Spielberg-presided jury awarded it both Cannes’ Palme d’Or and best actress for its two femme leads, Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos.

“Adele” drove buzz – and was condemned by a small rump of critics – for what Variety called “the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory” plus the leads’ no-holds-barred performances.

But many reviewers insisted “Adele” was much more than this: “a bildungroman and first-love story whose deep and abiding fascination with life’s great shared pleasures – food, sex, art, literature. Music, conversation – encourages the viewer to consider the commonality as well as the vast complexity of human experience,” Justin Chang wrote in his Variety review.

Olivier Thery-Lapiney and Laurence Clerc at France’s Alcatraz Films line-produced “Adele.” It was produced by Kechiche’s Quat’sous Films and Wild Bunch, who also sold “Adele” and distribute in France, “Adele” was co-produced by French pubcaster France 2 Cinema, Belgian pubcaster RBTF, France’s Scope Pictures and Spain’s Vertigo Films.

“Adele’s” Fipresci Grand Prix win marks the fifth time in seven years that Fipresci’s Grand Prix has gone to a Cannes Festival Palme d’Or winner, underscoring the French festival’s enduring access to the world premiere of many of the greatest films of any year.

The prime plaudit from the world’s leading film critics’ org is given to titles premiered in the last 12 months. “Adele” received 245 critics’ votes.

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