You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CANNES: ‘Love At First Fight’ Scores Historic Directors’ Fortnight Triple

Thomas Cailley’s romcom sweeps all the sections’ three prizes

First-time director Thomas Cailley’s Gallic romcom “Les Combattants” (Love At First Fight) scored a historic triple at Cannes Friday, sweeping all three of Cannes’ 46th Directors’ Fortnight prizes, the first time that has ever happened.

Starring Kevin Azais (“Playing Dead”) and Adele Haenel – who already made a large impression in Celine Sciamma’s “Water Lilies” and Katel Guillevere’s more recent “Suzanne,” – “Fight” scooped Directors’ Fortnight’s Art Cinema Award and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers’ SACD Prize. As just announced, it also won the section’s Europa Cinemas Label.

Added to that, and also on Friday, “Fight” snagged the FIPRESCI nod for best film in a Cannes parallel section.

Four awards on the same day is a rare feat for any film non-Cannes competition title. The trophy trawl will do nothing to staunch buzz among pundits, especially in Cailley’s native France, that he is the Next Big Thing in the biggest movie production industry in continental Europe.

True to say, the SACD prize is limited to French-language films, the Europa Cinemas Label logically enough to European titles, limiting the candidates who can sweep Directors’ Fortnight trio of unofficial kudos. The trophy trawl is sure to goose more sales for Bac Films that handles international rights and boost its box office in France, where “Fight” will be released by Haut et Court.

Popular on Variety

Gallic actor-director Guillaume Gallienne’s comic confessional “Me Myself and Mum,” which topped the 45th Directors’ Fortnight, winning its Art Cinema Award and SACD Prize went on to become one of France’s highest-grossing releases of 2013.

An acid but upbeat romantic comedy, “Fight” has Azais plays macho young carpenter Arnaud who is (literally) knocked off his feet by the wild-at-heart military fanatic Madeleine (Haenel). He decides, rashly, to join her at an army training fortnight.

Produced by veteran production house Nord-Ouest, and lensed by Cailley’s brother, DP David Cailley, “Fight” won an upbeat reception from critics at Cannes. Variety’s Peter Debruge praised its blend of “slick Hollywood-style technique with that restrained sense of storytelling so heartily encouraged among Euro auteurs.” The only question now is how good the film really is.

For Debruge, in a comment that might now stir healthy debate, “the same film wouldn’t necessarily stand out if unveiled at Sundance, despite a pair of punchy lead performances from young hotshots Adele Haenel and Kevin Azais.”

After ‘Me’s’ win last year, “Fight’s” trippletrophy trawl also vindicatesthe move by Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Edouard Waintrop to program more comedies in the section.

More Film

  • The Island

    ‘The Island,’ ‘Calamity,’ 'Piano Player' Highlight Cartoon Movie 2020 Lineup (EXCLUSIVE)

    BARCELONA – Rémi Chayé’s “Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” Anca Damian’s “The Island,” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal’s “They Shot the Piano Player,” and Enrique Gato’s “Tad the Lost Explorer and the Curse of the Mummy” are among the sixty-six projects from twenty countries to be pitched at the 22nd Cartoon Movie, Europe’s [...]

  • Kirby Dick Amy Ziering

    'On The Record,' Russell Simmons #MeToo Doc, Charts Course to Sundance After Oprah Exit

    Update: A spokesperson for Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering says the filmmaking team will participate in print and broadcast interviews at the Sundance film festival. The accusers featured in the film are weighing press options at this time. Earlier, a spokesperson for the film “On The Record” confirmed to Variety that only photo calls would [...]

  • Ariel Winograd'TOD@S CAEN' film premiere, Los

    Viacom International Studios Signs First Look Deal with Ariel Winograd (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  — Adding to a powerful and still growing talent roster, Viacom International Studios (VIS) has clinched a first-look deal with Argentine writer-director Ariel Winograd whose latest movie, “The Heist of the Century,” has just become one of the biggest Argentine openers in history. The multi-year pact takes in the development and production of not [...]

  • William Bogert Dead: 'Small Wonder' Actor

    William Bogert, Who Appeared in 'War Games,' 'Small Wonder,' Dies at 83

    TV, film and theater actor William Bogert, who appeared in a recurring role on 1980s sitcom “Small Wonder” and in films such as “War Games,” died Jan. 12 in New York. He was 83. On “Small Wonder,” which ran from 1985 to 1989, Bogert played Brandon Brindle, the Lawsons’ neighbor and Harriet’s father who became [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    Why '1917' Is the Last Film That Should Be Winning the Oscar (Column)

    There’s a feeling I always get at the end of a long Oscar night when the movie that won isn’t a terrible choice, but it’s the safe, blah, MOR predictable choice, the one that conforms to the dullest conventional wisdom about the kinds of movies Oscar voters prefer, because in the core of their being [...]

  • Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock'

    Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock' in the Works as Feature Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Enderby Entertainment is developing a feature film based on Melissa Fay Greene’s civil rights drama “Praying for Sheetrock,” Variety has learned exclusively. The non-fiction book, published in 1991, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Georgia Historical Society Bell Award and the ACLU National Civil [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content