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Quebec's Monia Chokri wins Cesar for best foreign film, apologizes to Oppenheimer's Christopher Nolan

Monia Chokri holds the Best Foreign Film Cesar Award for the movie "Simple comme Sylvain," during the 49th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Michel Euler) Monia Chokri holds the Best Foreign Film Cesar Award for the movie "Simple comme Sylvain," during the 49th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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Quebec's Monia Chokri, director of Simple comme Sylvain, won a César Award for Best Foreign Film on Friday, beating Christoper Nolan's Oppenheimer.

Picking up her trophy on stage at the 48th César Awards ceremony for French cinema, Chokri said, "I'm so sorry Mr. Nolan."

"Thank you to the Academy, thank you to the members for voting for this little Quebec film made with so much love. Thank you to the French public who went to see the film, you're the reason we make films. Thank you to the Cannes Film Festival for putting the spotlight on the film," the Quebec filmmaker said in her acceptance speech.

The film had been selected for the prestigious Cannes festival in the "Un Certain Regard" section.

Thanking her Quebec producers, her actors -- Magalie Lépine-Blondeau and Pierre-Yves Cardinal, also in the audience for the ceremony -- she said, "I can say today that the life I have is greater than the one I dreamed of."

In addition to Nolan's Oppenheimer, the Quebec film was up against Marco Bellocchio's L'enlèvement, Aki Kaurismaki's Les feuilles mortes, and Wim Wenders' Perfect Days in the Best Foreign Film category.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 23, 2024.   

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