'A Few Hours of Spring' wins top prize from critics' jury
Lebanese-born helmer Ziad Doueiri’s “The Attack” nabbed three honors at the City of Lights, City of Angels Film Festival on Sunday, closing out the 17th annual showcase for Gallic cinema in Los Angeles.
An examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict centered around a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, “The Attack” won the COLCOA audience award, a special prize from the fest’s official critics’ jury, and the Coming Soon award, which is presented to a film with an attached U.S. distributor. Cohen Media Group will release the pic Stateside on June 21.
But the jury awarded its top prize to “A Few Hours of Spring,” the latest drama from writer-director Stephane Brize (“Mademoiselle Chambon”). World premiered at last year’s Locarno fest, the film examines the difficult relationship between an ex-con (Vincent Lindon) and his aging mother (Helene Vincent).
“We hope this recognition will help (‘A Few Hours of Spring’) find the audience it so richly deserves,” said jury president Lael Loewenstein, a critic for KPCC’s Film Week.
The jury also awarded a special mention to Francois Ozon’s teacher-student dramedy “In the House,” now in release through Cohen Media Group.
Other audience awards included a special prize to Christian Vincent’s “Haute Cuisine,” based on the true story of a personal chef to former French president Francois Mitterand, and a first-feature nod to “Populaire,” Regis Roinsard’s romantic comedy about a 1950s speed-typing competition. The Weinstein Co. will release both films in the U.S.
Alexandre de La Patelliere and Matthieu Delaporte’s comedy “What’s in a Name” received an audience special mention, while a documentary audience award went to “Becoming Traviata,” Philippe Beziat’s look into the creative process behind a French staging of Verdi’s opera.
Thirty-one features and documentaries and 19 shorts competed at the festival, which set an attendance record of 19,000.