Justine Triet’s Anatomy Of A Fall was named best film of the year at France’s Lumiere Awards on Monday evening.
Triet and co-writer Arthur Harari also took home the best screenplay award and lead Sandra Hüller earned the prize for best actress at the 29th edition of the awards, considered to be France’s version of the Golden Globes and voted on by international correspondents from 36 countries.
The courtroom drama about a woman on trial for her husband’s death in the French Alps was nominated in six categories, but Lumiere voters spread their votes across the board as 10 other French films each took home one of the remaining prizes in what was a balanced division of accolades.
Arieh Worthalter was named best actor for Cedric Kahn’s The Goldman Case, another arthouse courtroom drama that got its start in Cannes.
Thomas Cailley was named best director for his genre-blending sci-fi thriller-meets-father-son drama The Animal Kingdom which also premiered on the Croisette and has been a box office success at home with more than one million admissions.
Other Cannes premieres to earn prizes include Iris Kalenbäck’s The Rapture named best first film, Kaouther Ben Hania’s Four Daughters which won best documentary, and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s About Dry Grasses named best international co-production.
Jonathan Ricquebourg scooped the best cinematography prize for France’s best international feature Oscar entry The Taste Of Things and Ella Rumpf was named most promising female newcomer for her role in Anna Novion’s mathematics-centred drama Marguerite’s Theorem.
Raphael Quenard took home the most promising male newcomer award for his breakout role in Jean-Baptiste Durand’s friendship drama Junkyard Dogs, Vitalic earned the prize for best musical score for Giacomo Abbruzzese’s Berlin competition title Disco Boy, and Chiara Malta and Sébastien Laudenbach won best animated film for Linda Wants Chicken!
The ceremony remained subdued other than a few speeches which touched upon the current conflict in the Middle East. Four Daughters director Ben Hania said, “I’m taking advantage of this speech to ask for a ceasefire in Gaza.”
An Israeli journalist presenting an award sent her thoughts to the 136 hostages still captive in Gaza and The Goldman Case’s Arieh Worthalter also used his speech to say, “October 7th is being used by the government to have the freedom to destroy rather than construct.”
Screenwriting duo and real-life couple Triet and Harari accepted the award together to add some lightness in contrast the more politicised speeches.
“We had a lot of disagreements about this film,” Triet said, adding: “I’m not sure he’ll accept working with me again, but this one time was great.”
Harari enthused: “I was recently in front of a window and wondering if it was a good idea. Fiction can have a strange effect on reality.”
Accepting the prize for best film at the end of the ceremony, Triet said that film critics represent “the most important symbol of our freedom of expression and proof our democratic process, the freedom we have to not agree and to be able to say it”.
She added, “Let’s try to preserve the independent media that contributes to the freedom of our work.”
Following what has been an awards season sweep with two Golden Globe awards for best screenplay and best non-English language film and seven BAFTA nominations, Anatomy Of A Fall is a favourite for Oscar nominations in several categories when they are announced on Tuesday.
The full list of winners follows:
Anatomy Of A Fall dir. Justine Triet
Last Summer dir. Catherine Breillat
Sons Of Ramses dir. Clément Cogitore
The Goldman Case dir. Cédric Kahn
The Animal Kingdom dir. Thomas Cailley
Catherine Breillat for Last Summer
Thomas Cailley for The Animal Kingdom
Clément Cogitore for Sons Of Ramses
Cédric Kahn for The Goldman Case
Justine Triet for Anatomy Of A Fall
Thomas Cailley for The Animal Kingdom
Quentin Dupieux for Yannick
Cédric Kahn, Nathalie Hertzberg for The Goldman Case
Iris Kaltenbäck for The Rapture
Justine Triet, Arthur Harari for Anatomy Of A Fall
Four Daughters dir. Kaouther Ben Hania
Little Girl Blue dir. Mona Achache
Our Body dir. Claire Simon
La Rivière dir. Dominique Marchais
On The Adamant dir. Nicolas Philibert
Catherine Deneuve for Bernadette
Léa Drucker for Last Summer
Virginie Efira for All To Play For
Hafsia Herzi for The Rapture
Sandra Hüller for Anatomy Of A Fall
Vincent Lacoste for Along Came Love
Karim Leklou for Vincent Must Die
Melvil Poupaud for Just The Two Of Us
Franz Rogowski for Disco Boy
Arieh Worthalter for The Goldman Case
Most promising actress
Suzanne Jouannet for La Voie Royale
Louise Mauroy-Panzani for Ama Gloria
Park Ji-Min for Return To Seoul
Claire Pommet for Spirit Of Ecstasy
Ella Rumpf for Marguerite’s Theorem
Most promising actor
Arthur Harari for The Goldman Case
Samuel Kircher for Last Summer
Milo Machado Graner for Anatomy Of A Fall
Raphaël Quenard for Junkyard Dogs
Abdulah Sissoko for The Young Imam
Best first film
Bernadette dir. Léa Domenach
Junkyard Dogs dir. Jean-Baptiste Durand
Disco Boy dir. Giacomo Abbruzzese
The Rapture dir. Iris Kaltenbäck
Vincent Must Die dir. Stéphan Castang
Best international co-production
The Blue Caftan dir. Maryam Touzani
About Dry Grasses dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Lost Country dir. Vladimir Perišić
Hounds dir. Kamal Lazraq
The Old Oak de Ken Loach
Simon Beaufils for Anatomy Of A Fall
David Cailley for The Animal Kingdom
Hélène Louvart for Disco Boy
Jonathan Ricquebourg for The Taste of Things
Sylvain Verdet for Sons of Ramses
Amine Bouhafa for Four Daughters
Clément Ducol for Chicken For Linda!
Andrea Laszlo de Simone for Animal Kingdom
Chloé Thévenin for The Mountain
Vitalic for Disco Boy
Best animated film
No Dogs or Italians Allowed dir. Alain Ughetto
Chicken for Linda! dir. Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach
Mars Express dir. Jérémie Périn
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman dir. Pierre Földes
The Siren dir. Sepideh Farsi.