Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Prison drama A Prophet sweeps French Oscars

A Prophet star Tahar Rahim
Tahar Rahim was named best actor at Saturday's ceremony

Hard-hitting prison drama A Prophet has won nine awards at the Cesar awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars.

Jacques Audiard's film was named best movie at the ceremony, with additional prizes going to lead actor Tahar Rahim and the director himself.

A Prophet - about an illiterate inmate who becomes embroiled in crime during a six-year jail term - is up for the best foreign film award at the 2010 Oscars.

Actor Harrison Ford received a lifetime achievement prize at the Paris event.

Isabelle Adjani was named best actress for school drama The Day of the Skirt, while Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino won best foreign film.

Sigourney Weaver, Gerard Depardieu and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard were among the stars in attendance.

A Prophet's success follows earlier triumphs at the London Film Festival's inaugural awards last year and at the London Film Critics' Circle awards last month.

Harrison Ford with Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver presented Ford with his lifetime achievement honour

Also recognised on Saturday was cast member Niels Arestrup, named best supporting actor for his role as a Corsican gang boss.

Audiard thanked the numerous ex-prisoners who appeared as extras in the film and helped to create its realistic atmosphere.

"We had a really exceptional cast of extras," he said. "They forced us to do something exceptional."

Eric Rohmer, the pioneering New Wave director who died last month, was remembered at the ceremony.

First presented in 1975, the Cesars are given annually by the Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema.

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