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‘Engagement’ up for Delluc prize

Pic's status still under contention

PARIS — Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “A Very Long Engagement” is among eight films nominated for France’s prestigious Prix Louis Delluc film prize.

Films tend to be smaller auteur pics, making Jeunet’s big-budget “Engagement” a surprise choice.

Furthermore, the status of the film, produced by Warner Bros. subsid 2003 Prods., is still under contention after producers’ orgs sued to block the film from tapping French film subsidies, contending that the pic is not actually Gallic.

The jury, headed by Cannes Film Festival prexy Gilles Jacob, has also chosen helmer Olivier Assayas’ “Clean,” whose star Maggie Cheung won actress kudos at this year’s Cannes film fest; “Look at Me” by director-scribe Agnes Jaoui, which won screenplay at Cannes; Raymond Depardon’s “The 10th District Court: Moments of Trial”; “L’esquive” from Abdellatif Kechiche; Cedric Kahn’s “Red Lights”; “S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine” by helmer Rithy Panh; and Eric Rohmer’s “Triple Agent.”

Films competing for the first feature prize are “Common Thread” by Eleonore Faucher; “Half-Price” from helmer Isild Le Besco; Pascale Breton’s “Illumination”; “Quand la mer monte” by Yolande Moreau and Gilles Porte; novelist Emmanuel Carrere’s “Back to Kotelnich”; and “Work Hard, Play Hard” from Jean-Marc Moutout.

The annual awards ceremony, which will take place in mid-December at showbiz canteen Le Fouquet’s, is the curtain raiser for Gaul’s awards season leading up to the Cesars.

The Prix Louis Delluc, founded in 1937, is named after the film critic-cum-director credited with laying the groundwork for modern film criticism.

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