Cannes: 'Alice and the Mayor' Wins Europa Cinema Labels Prize

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
'Alice and the Mayor'

The political and philosophical drama, starring Paul Théraneau and Anais Demoustier, centers on a French mayor in an existential crisis who turns to a young philosopher for help.

Alice and the Mayor, a French drama from director Nicolas Pariser that explores deep questions of politics and philosophy, has won the best European film award at the Cannes Film Festival from the Europa Cinemas group, an association of European art house cinemas.

Fabrice Luchini stars as Paul Théraneau, the mayor of the French city of Lyon, who is suffering from an existential crisis. After 30 years in politics, he feels totally empty and devoid of ideas. He brings in the brilliant, if dry, young philosopher, Alice Heimann (Anais Demoustier) to help him fix things. What results is an intense debate between Alice and the mayor that leads both of them to question their certainties. Antoine Reinartz, Léonie Simaga and Nora Hamzawi co-star.

Alice and the Mayor premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section at Cannes. It is being sold internationally by Bac Films.

“Our selection of Alice and the Mayor was a unanimous one,” the Europa Cinemas jury said in an statement. “This is a very well-made film — beautifully written, clear, concise and intellectually stimulating without being at all pretentious. It is a timely and very relevant look at the direction of European policies and politics — but never dry or didactic. ... We believe strongly that this film will have wide appeal across the Europa Cinemas Network, and can spark lively debate among our cinemagoers.”

The Europa Cinemas Network, which represents nearly 3,000 screens across 43 countries, will provide additional promotion and distribution incentives to exhibitors to help the theatrical release of Alice and the Mayor.

This is the seventeenth time the Europa Cinemas award has been presented in Cannes. Previous winners include: Deniz Gamze Erguven's Oscar-nominated Mustang (2015), Corneliu Porumboiu's 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006) and, from last year, Lucia's Grace from Italian director Gianni Zanasi.

The Europa Cinemas label also awards the honor every year at the Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary and Locarno film festivals.