'Secret' is out with French top film prize


PARIS -- It was a big day in Gaul for Abdellatif Kechiche's "The Secret of the Grain" as the awards season favorite walked away with the Louis-Delluc prize for best French film of the year on the day of its release in the territory.

President Gilles Jacob and his jury of film critics and personalities announced the award at a small ceremony at Fouquet's restaurant Wednesday. "It's a great honor for me to receive this prize. It's very touching. Especially on the day of the film's release in theaters," Kechiche said, accepting his award.

The film is produced by Claude Berri's Pathe Renne Prods. and Hirsch in co-production with France 2 Cinema and distributed in France by Pathe.

"Secret," which revolves around an immigrant Arab family in France, also won both the jury's runner-up prize and the International Critics Award at this year's Venice Film Festival.

The film is poised to continue its success as the Louis-Delluc prize, given since 1937 and named for one of France's original filmmakers/critics, is typically an early indicator of more accolades to come. Last year's winner, "Lady Chatterley," went on to win the Cesar for best film.

Other nominees for the 2007 prize included Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi's "Actress," Eric Rohmer's "The Romance of Astree and Celadon," Jacques Nolot's "Before I Forget," Manoel de Oliveira's "Belle Toujours," Christophe Honore's "Love Songs," Claude Chabrol's "The Girl Cut in Two" and Andre Techine's "The Witnesses."

The Louis-Delluc prize for best first film of the year went to both Celine Sciamma's adolescent angst film "Waterlilies" and Mia Hansen-Love's father-daughter drama "All is Forgiven."