PARIS– Isabelle Huppert, who just won a Golden Globe for a critically-aclaimed performance in Elle Verhoeven’s “Elle,” received today UniFrance’s French Cinema Award during a star-studded ceremony held at France’s Culture Ministry.
Hosted by Audrey Azoulay, the culture and communication minister, Jean-Paul Salomé, the president of UniFrance, and Isabelle Giordano, the ceremony brought together more than 12 filmmakers who came on stage to celebrate the iconic actress.
Among the attendees were Anne Fontaine, Mia Hansen-Løve, Éva Ionesco, Guillaume Nicloux, Marc Fitoussi, Serge Bozon, Benoit Jacquot, Diane Kurys, François Ozon, as well as “Elle” producers Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt, and another well-known producer, Sylvie Pialat.
“Diversity is at the core of France’s DNA. You said it yourself a few years ago during an interview you gave to (the radio station) France Culture: “There is often this idea of American dream. I don’t have a more American dream than a Korean one or a Taiwanese one, where these wonderful films are being made,” said Azoulay. “This is your view of diversity, which is opposed to uniformity, conformism and standardisation. It’s the diversity that French cinema is made of.”
Upon receiving the award, Huppert spoke about the powerful role of films in conveying progressive values and have an impact on political and social issues.
“What amazes me with films or even plays is how they can stem from a very private moment, and the way in which they can find an echo and evolve from being infinitely small to becoming infinitely universal,” said Huppert, who dedicated to her award to French cinema.
“I realized through my trips how much people abroad love French cinema. Through all the recognitions that I have been receiving over the last few months, it’s French cinema which was being celebrated for its audacity, transgression, subversion and ultimately its freedom,” said Huppert.
The French Cinema Award, which previously went to “The Little Prince” producers, Dimitri Rassam and Aton Soumache, and the president of Italian distribution outfit Lucky Red, Andrea Occhipinti, honors people who have contributed to turning the spotlight on French films throughout the world.
Salome praised Huppert for her unwavering dedication to promoting the film in every part of the world — a committment which often lacks in French talent, noted the president of UniFrance.
The actress joked that she was particularly deserving of the award because she is phobic of planes.
Giordano, meanwhile, hailed Huppert as not just an actress but an icon who embodies French cinema if all its virtues.
A Sony Pictures Classics release, “Elle” recently won a Golden Globe for best foreign-language film in addition the best actress award for Huppert.
Oscar nominations will be unveiled on Jan. 24.