'Welcome' sticks for France's Lumieres

Jacques Audiard, Tahar Rahim take trophies for 'A Prophet'

PARIS -- Philippe Lioret's immigrant drama "Welcome" was named best French film of the year Friday night at the Lumiere Awards.

Director Regis Wargnier presided over the ceremony, held in Paris' City Hall, the Hotel de Ville.

"Welcome" stars Vincent Lindon and Firat Ayverdi in a story about a Kurdish boy from Iraq and the middle-age swimming teacher who tries to help him despite harsh French immigration laws.

Jacques Audiard was named best director for "A Prophet," and the film's leading man, Tahar Rahim, was named best actor for his role in the prison drama.

Both winners are on the Golden Globe Awards circuit stateside, and weren't in town to accept their prizes.

Veteran actress Isabelle Adjani took home the best actress prize for her performance in "Skirt Day," and newcomer Pauline Etienne was named most aspiring actress for her role in Lea Fehner's "Qu'Un Seul Tienne et les Autres Suivront."

Young comic duo Vincent Lacoste and Antony Sonigo shared the most promising actor prize for their roles in Riad Sattouf's "Les Beaux Gosses."

Mia Hansen-Love won the best screenplay award for "The Father of My Children."

Xavier Dolan's Quebecois title "I Killed My Mother" was named best French-language film hailing from a country other than France, and international francophone TV channel TV5Monde's public prize for best film of the year went to Stephane and Guillaume Malandrin's "Ou est la main de l'homme sans tete."

Members of the foreign press residing in Paris vote for the awards nicknamed "the French Golden Globes."

The Lumieres are usually an indication of what titles and talents can be expected at the country's most prestigious event, the Cesar Awards, whose nominees will be announced next Friday.

The Lumieres sparkled thanks to the support of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, state film body the CNC, film promotion organization Unifrance, TV5Monde and French film biz syndicates the SFCC, SODEC and CST.

Gallic celeb presenters included actor Charles Berling, actress Mathilda May, director Yasmina Benguigui, American actress Dolores Chaplin, TV journalist Patrick Poivre-d'Arvor and writer and TV personality Frederic Beigbeder.

The upbeat ceremony paused for a moment of sadness to pay homage to actor Jocelyn Quivrin, who died in a tragic car accident in November. Quivrin was named most aspiring actor at the Lumiere Awards in 2007.

The ceremony was followed by a cocktail in the Hotel de Ville's grand salons as the 2010 film awards season in France officially kicked off in the capital.
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