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France has selected Emmanuel Finkiel’s World War II drama Memoir of War, starring Melanie Thierry and Benjamin Biolay, as its submission for the best foreign-language film category at the Oscars.
The movie was a selected from a diverse shortlist of five thematically different titles, from Shoah director Claude Lanzmann’s final film, Holocaust testimony documentary The Four Sisters, to Gaspar Noe’s pulsating disco fever dream-turned-nightmare Climax.
Xavier Legrand’s hard-hitting family divorce drama Custody, which won best director and best debut in Venice last year, and Emmanuel Mouret’s Mademoiselle de Joncquieres, the 18th century historical drama starring Edouard Baer and Cecile de France that screened in Toronto in September, were also in the running.
The final selection was a seemingly difficult decision for the committee, which added a third day of deliberations after failing to come to a decision earlier in the week.
The group was made up of four film body executives, including Cannes Film Festival head Thierry Fremaux, French Academy president Alain Terzian, UniFrance president Serge Toubiana and National Cinema Center (CNC) executive Teresa Cremisci.
They were joined by director Claire Denis, actor-director Nicole Garcia, and producer Isabelle Madelaine to make this year’s selection.
Films had to have a theatrical release in France between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30 of this year to be eligible for consideration.
Last year, France selected Robin Campillo’s Cannes grand prix winner 120 BPM, which was selected for the shortlist but surprisingly did not make the final cut.
In 2016, France selected Elle, which failed to make the foreign-language shortlist but earned star Isabelle Huppert her first Oscar nomination.
The last French film to win the foreign-language Oscar was Indochine, starring Catherine Deneuve, in 1993.
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