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‘Congorama’ sweeps Jutra Awards

Falardeau pic takes top honors at Quebec event

MONTREAL — In a major upset, the Canuck/Belgian co-production “Congorama” nabbed almost all of the top awards at Quebec film kudofest the Jutra Awards, held Sunday night in Montreal.

“Bon Cop, Bad Cop,” the bilingual action comedy that holds the record as the top-grossing local film ever in Canada, and “A Sunday in Kigali,” a drama set during the Rwandan genocide, topped the nominations with 12 each, but both were completely shut out of the major Jutra categories.

“Congorama” drew the picture nod; writer-helmer Philippe Falardeau took the trophies for direction and screenplay; Gabriel Arcand won supporting actor; and the pic’s stars, Paul Ahmarani and Belgian thesp Olivier Gourmet, together won for actor, having received a joint nom in that category. “Congorama” won in five of the six categories in which it was nominated.

“Congorama” was not a big hit at the box office in Quebec when it was released in the fall, and it managed to win only one trophy at the Canadian Genie Awards, where Falardeau won for screenplay.

But the Jutra voters sided with the Quebec critics who had given the French-language film mostly ecstatic reviews. Pic, which had its world preem at the Directors Fortnight in Cannes last year, is a sly comic-drama about a Belgian inventor (Gourmet) who discovers that he was adopted and heads to Quebec to try to find out more about his family roots. In a rural area, he meets an unbalanced inventor (Ahmarani), and they are both in for some big surprises after they’re involved in a car accident.

“A Sunday in Kigali” actually won the most awards Sunday, with six, but they were all in secondary categories, including cinematography (Pierre Mignot, who won this Jutra for the third consecutive year), music (Jorane) and art direction (Andre-Line Beauparlant). “Bon Cop” was snubbed by Jutra winners, taking the honors in only one voted category, editing (Jean-Francois Bergeron). It also, as expected, took the Billet d’Or Jutra for top-grossing film.

“Bon Cop” won for film at the Genie Awards.

Celine Bonnier prevailed in the actress category for her perf as an ex-con in “Delivrez-moi,” and Fanny Malette took supporting actress for her turn in “Cheech.”

The glam-rock-fueled pic “C.R.A.Z.Y.,” which swept both the Genies and the Jutras last year, won one more Jutra on Sunday, taking the trophy for the Quebec film with the most international success. Pic has been sold in more than 40 countries and has had some box office success in several European countries.

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