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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 February, 2005, 06:48 GMT
Low-budget French film wins Cesar
Abdellatif Kechiche (centre), with star Sara Forestier (left) and screenwriter Ghalya Lacroix
The L'Esquive team scooped several awards at the Cesars
A film that follows a group of alienated youth in a Paris suburb as they prepare to perform an 18th Century play has won France's top cinema award.

L'Esquive earned a Cesar prize for its director, Tunisian-born Abdellatif Kechiche, and its young star, the 18-year-old actress Sara Forestier.

It saw off competition from big-budget French epic, A Very Long Engagement, and the box-office hit, The Chorus.

US film Lost in Translation won the award for best foreign feature.

The wistful romantic comedy directed by Sofia Coppola has already won several awards, including an Oscar for best screenplay in 2004.

Its late release in France made it a contender for this year's Cesars.

Amateur cast

The low-budget L'Esquive depicts the travails of a group of youth getting ready to perform a school play by the 18th-Century dramatist, Marivaux.

The actors are mostly amateurs and the action is set in the impoverished suburbs of Paris, home to thousands of immigrants from North Africa and their children.

Kechiche said he made the film because he "wanted to show people we don't normally see at the cinema".

A Very Long Engagement, a World War I drama featuring Audrey Tautou, won five Cesar awards.

The Chorus, a film about a schoolteacher who introduces an unruly classroom to the pleasures of classical singing, won two awards - for best music and best sound.

US actor Will Smith, who won an honorary award at the ceremony, thanked his family and his "hero", Nelson Mandela, in his speech.


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