×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ladj Ly’s Cannes Prize-Winner ‘Les Miserables’ Is France’s Oscar Submission

Ladj Ly’s politically charged drama “Les Miserables,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, has been chosen by France’s Oscar committee to enter the international feature film race.

In one of the most competitive years for French movies, “Les Miserables” beat out Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance which won best screenplay at Cannes. Also falling short was Alice Winocour’s “Proxima,” which opened at Toronto in the competitive Platform section and received an honorable mention. The film stars Eva Green as an astronaut preparing for a mission that will separate her from her young daughter.

“Les Miserables,” which was bought by Amazon for the U.S., earned stellar reviews at Cannes, including in Variety, whose review said the film “simmers with urgent anger over police brutality” and compared Ly’s work to that of Spike Lee.

The movie just had its North American premiere at Toronto and will next play on the opening night of Colcoa, the French film festival in Los Angeles, on Sept. 23.

“Les Miserables” is inspired by the 2005 French riots, a three-week period of civil unrest characterized by violence, looting and car burnings. The film examines the tensions between neighborhood residents and police that helped inflame the rioting. It centers on Stéphane (Damien Bonnard), who has recently joined the anti-crime brigade in Montfermeil, and his two partners (Alexis Manenti and Djibril Zonga). The men find themselves overrun during the course of an arrest.

Sold around the world by Wild Bunch, “Les Miserables” is Ly’s feature debut and is based on his 2017 award-winning short film by the same name. The helmer, has a background in documentary filmmaking, is a native of Montfermeil, a suburb of France best known as the location of Thénardiers’ inn in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “Les Misérables.”

Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti co-wrote the film alongside Ly, with Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral of SRAB films producing.

France’s Oscar committee this year comprised producers Rosalie Varda and Jean Bréhat, sales agents Agathe Valentin and Muriel Sauzay, directors Danièle Thompson and Pierre Salvadori, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux, Unifrance president Serge Toubiana, and Cesar Awards president Alain Terzian.

Winner of Berlin’s Silver Bear Award, Francois Ozon’s timely sex abuse drama “By The Grace of God” was surprisingly left out by France’s Oscar committee which opted to shortlist “Proxima” instead. “By The Grace of God” earned near-unanimous stellar reviews in Berlin and was acquired by Music Box which will do a limited release in the U.S. starting in Oct. 18.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Gina Rodriguez'Someone Great' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Gina Rodriguez Apologizes After Rapping N-Word in Deleted Instagram Video

    “Jane The Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez has released an apology video shortly after she used the N-word while rapping along to a Fugees song in a video posted to her Instagram story. In the original video, which has since been deleted, Rodriguez raps along to “Ready or Not” while having her hair and makeup done. [...]

  • After a Revolution

    Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund Winners Announced

    The Tribeca Film Institute and Gucci announced on Tuesday this year’s recipients for the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. Now in its 12th year, TFI and Gucci have awarded $140,000 in grant funding, covered by Gucci, to support nine documentaries highlighting domestic and international matters, with a focus on female-led stories and filmmakers. The funding will [...]

  • countdown

    Apple Takes Down Viral 'Countdown' Horror App, STX Brings It to Android Instead

    An app that can predict the date and time of your death may have been too much for Apple to stomach: The iPhone maker removed a viral app inspired by the upcoming horror movie “Countdown” a few days ago, putting an end to its meteoric rise. Before its removal, “Countdown” had surpassed TikTok, YouTube and [...]

  • Babyteeth Eliza Scanlen

    Eliza Scanlen Drama 'Babyteeth' Lands at IFC for North America (EXCLUSIVE)

    IFC Films has acquired North American rights to the drama “Babyteeth,” starring Eliza Scanlen, Essie Davis, Ben Mendelsohn, and Toby Wallace, Variety has learned exclusively. The film had its world premiere in competition at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival, where Wallace won the Marcello Mastroianni award for best new young performer. It will be [...]

  • Neil Patrick Harris arrives at night

    'Matrix 4': Neil Patrick Harris Lands Role in Latest Installment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Neil Patrick Harris is the latest addition to the ensemble cast for the upcoming fourth installment of the “Matrix” franchise. He joins Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, who will be reprising their roles in the film, as well as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who was tapped as one of the leads last week. Plot details are [...]

  • Amanda Seyfried attends a special screening

    Amanda Seyfried Joins Gary Oldman in David Fincher's 'Mank'

    Amanda Seyfried is set to join Netflix’s “Mank,” David Fincher’s latest biopic revolving around “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, with Gary Oldman tapped to play the titular role. Lily Collins, Charles Dance, Tuppence Middleton, Arliss Howard, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jamie McShane, Joseph Cross, Sam Troughton, Toby Leonard Moore, Tom Burke, and Tom Pelphrey will also appear [...]

  • Cuba Gooding Jr

    Cuba Gooding Jr. Accused of Groping 14 Women at Bars and Clubs

    Prosecutors on Tuesday accused Cuba Gooding, Jr., of a long-standing pattern of approaching unfamiliar women in bars and kissing, pinching, biting or groping them. Gooding appeared in court in Manhattan for an arraignment on four misdemeanor counts of forcible touching and third degree sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty, and is due back in court [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content