Neo noir snags top award from COL•COA French film fest

The City of Lights City of Angels (COL•COA) 16th annual French film festival on Monday announced its winners. Nearly 19,000 attended the week-long fest at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood.

I was pleased to see that one of the noir titles, “Early One Morning” (De bon matin) garnered the Critics Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; Christy Lemire of the Associated Press served as president of the jury. Starring Jean-Pierre Darroussin, “Early One Morning” was directed by Jean-Marc Moutout.

“Paris by Night” (Une nuit) and “A Gang Story” (“Les Lyonnais”) completed the film-noir series on Friday night. There were many terrific films shown at the fest; other movies with noir elements included: “38 Witnesses,” “Guilty,” “Americano,” “Polisse” and “The Minister.” And it was a treat to see Marcel Carné’s “Hotel Du Nord” – a masterpiece of Poetic Realism and an important precursor of film noir.

The rest of the award winners (for feature films) were:

The Critics Special Prize and the COL•COA Audience Award went to “The Intouchables,” written and directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy, this buddy-movie comedy will be released in the U.S. on May 25.

Critics Special Mention for “Polisse,” written by Maïwenn and Emmanuelle Bercot; directed by Maïwenn. This opens in the U.S. on May 18.

Daniel Auteuil's breakthrough role was in “Jean de Florette” and its sequel “Manon des Sources,” both from 1986.

The First Feature Award went to “The Adopted,” written by Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Perez and Chris Deslandes; directed by Mélanie Laurent.

The Audience Special Prize went to the documentary “Leadersheep,” written and directed by Christian Rouaud.

“The Well Digger’s Daughter,” written and directed by Daniel Auteuil based on Marcel Pagnol’s original work, won the Audience Special Mention. This film opens in the U.S. on July 20.

Stay tuned for reviews of COL•COA films!

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COL•COA French film fest in Los Angeles announces lineup

François Truffart announces the COL•COA program.

With five Oscar wins by “The Artist” still fresh in people’s minds, Los Angeles is gearing up to welcome more French film talent to the city. The City of Lights, City of Angels (COL•COA) festival, a week of French film premieres in Hollywood, runs April 16-23.

Last night, at the French Consulate in Beverly Hills, the Franco-American Cultural Fund announced the program for the fest, now in its 16th year.

“The historic triumph of ‘The Artist’ reflects a remarkable year for French cinema and we are glad to introduce a broad spectrum of new films to Hollywood that reveal both the quality and diversity of recent French productions,” said François Truffart, COL•COA executive director and artistic director.

COL•COA will feature 34 features and 21 shorts. It opens on Monday, April 16, with the North American premiere of “My Way” (“CloClo”), a biopic about French pop star Claude François, directed and co-written by Florent-Emilio Siri. The film, already a critical and commercial success in France, stars Jérémie Renier (“The Kid with a Bike”).

Closing the fest on Sunday, April 22, is a hit comedy called “The Intouchables” by writing/directing team Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. François Cluzet and Omar Sy star.

Of course I am most looking forward to the film noir series on Friday, April 20, which will include “Paris By Night” (“Une nuit”) by Philippe Lefebvre; Olivier Marchal’s “A Gang Story” (“Les Lyonnais”) and “Early One Morning” (“De bon matin”) from Jean-Marc Moutout.

More on the fest later; meanwhile be sure to check the COL•COA site and snag your tickets – they will sell quickly!

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