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César Awards 2017: Elle and It's Only The End of The World emerge as big winners


Story by Jack Foley

PAUL Verhoeven’s provocative rape-revenge drama Elle and Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End of The World have emerged as the big winners at this year’s César Film Awards in France.

Elle claimed the night’s top prize of best film, as well as best actress for leading lady Isabelle Huppert.

The film, which had its world premiere in Cannes this year to rave reviews, follows a businesswoman, Michèle Leblanc (played by Huppert), who is raped in her home by an unknown assailant and plots revenge.

It has already won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Foreign Language Film, with Huppert also winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, the National Society of Film Critics’ Award for Best Actress, the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress and the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association Award for Best Actress.

It’s Only The End of the World, meanwhile, saw its filmmaker Dolan crowned best director and leading man Gaspard Ulliel named best actor. Dolan took a second award – and the film’s third – for best editing.

The film, which also features Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel, follows a young playwright who reunites with his family after a 12-year absence to inform them he is going to die.

Animated entry My Life As a Courgette was also a multiple winner, picking up two prizes for best animated film and best writing – adapted.

While Deborah Lukumuena was named best supporting actress for Divines and James Thiérrée took best supporting actor for Chocolat.

The César Awards are France’s equivalent to the Oscars.

The awards ceremony was also notable for bestowing George Clooney an honorary award in recognition of his work in film.

And the actor used the occasion to speak out against the perceived “hate” and “fear” being promoted by US President Donald Trump, warning the audience “not to confuse dissent with disloyalty” before asserting that “we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home”.

He also stated that “as citizens of the world, we’re going to have to work harder and harder not to let hate win”.

On a more personal note, he told his pregnant wife Amal how proud he was to be her husband and that he was “excited about the years, and especially the months, to come”, alluding to the twins they are expecting in June.