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The locations of the César-nominated movies

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Venues for the selection of the 2020 Caesars

The 45th César ceremony is a great vintage not only in terms of films, but also in terms of locations. From Portrait of the Young Girl on Fire to Grace to God through Les Misérables, from Lyon to Roubaix, discover the places ready to be caesarized.

Thanks be to God (François Ozon – 2018)

Café Bellecour, 33 Place Bellecour, 69002 Lyon

Inspired by the Bernard Preynat affair, Grâce à dieu was filmed in Paris, Belgium (Saint Hubert Basilica), Luxembourg, Marseillan (Hérault), La Clusaz (Haute-Savoie), Issy-les-Moulineaux (Saint-Sulpice Seminary) but above all in Lyon. François Ozon’s film exposes the judicial struggle between the victims of sexual abuse by the priest, the Catholic Church, Cardinal Barbarin and the religious.

Café Bellecour was the setting for the meeting between François Debord (Denis Ménochet) and the journalist who wanted to reveal the affair to the public. The establishment is located west of the famous Place Bellecour, the largest in the city of Lyon. Trapezoidal in shape, it is 300 m long and 220 and 190 m wide.

Shortly before his release, François Ozon was summoned twice in summary proceedings. The complainants (Bernard Preynat and Régine Maire) wanted the film postponed or their names removed from the feature film. They were dismissed and Grace to God came out on time. It should be pointed out that the film collided with the trial of Bernard Preynat and that of Barbarin.

Portrait of the young girl on fire (Céline Sciamma – 2019)

Château de la Chapelle-Gauthier, rue du Château, 77720 La Chapelle-Gauthier

The filming of Portrait of the Girl on Fire begins on September 15, 2018 in Saint-Pierre de Quiberon. Many scenes were filmed in Brittany, especially those on the beach of this small town.

In addition to the Ecomusée de Saint-Dégan in Morbihan, the place where Sophie (Luana Golino) had her abortion, the Château de la Chapelle-Gauthier served as the setting for exchanges between Marianne (Noémie Merlant) and Heloise (Adèle Haenel). The exteriors and interiors of this 12th century building were used. Today, it is partly occupied by the town hall of the small town. It was classified as a historic monument in April 1990.

For the purposes of the film, Céline Sciamma invented the character of Marianne. This painter doesn’t actually exist. So the technicians imagined his work. For this, she called upon Hélène Delmaire, a 30-year-old contemporary artist, to paint the canvases of the character played by Noémie Merlant.

La belle époque (Nicolas Bedos – 2019)

La scène du baiser, 76 rue du garde chasse, 93260 Les Lilas

While his couple with Marianne (Fanny Ardant) is going through great difficulties, Victor (Daniel Auteuil) agrees to relive a key moment in their life together thanks to a specialized company. He chose the week they met in May 1974. The role of the man is attributed to Antoine (Guillaume Canet), while his wife is played by Margot (Dora Tillier). The spectators thus discover the scene of their kiss in this street of the Lilacs of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Nicolas Bedos’ teams shot from September 25 to November 28, 2018 in Asnières-sur-Seine, La Défense, at the Transpastudio studio in Saint-Ouen or in the Château de Champlâtreux in the Val-d’Oise.

The feature film was screened out of competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and received 11 nominations for these Césars. The director chose not to appear in his film unlike his previous Mr. and Mrs. Adelman.

Roubaix, a light (Arnaud Desplechin – 2019)

Police Station, 21 rue du Grand chemin, 59100 Roubaix

For the scenes taking place in the police station, the film’s technical teams chose this former primary health insurance company in Roubaix. Louis Cotterelle (Antoine Reinartz) is transferred to this town in the north of France. This police station is run by Yacoub Daoud (Roschdy Zem), a police officer with a very calm nature.

For the sequences on the roof of the establishment, Arnaud Desplechin used the roof of the Hotel Mercure (22 avenue Jean Lebas) in Roubaix. As the title indicates, almost the entire feature film was shot there. The director of Three Memories of My Youth was inspired by a dramatic incident for his film: a couple of drug-addicted young girls who killed an elderly person in 2002 in this town in northern France.

The film competes in 7 categories for these 2020 Césars, including Best Film, Best Actor for Roschdy Zem and Best Supporting Actress for Sarah Forestier. He has already received numerous awards, including the Jacques Deray Prize and the Bayard d’or for best film at the Namur International Francophone Festival.

Les Misérables (Ladjy Li – 2019)

La cité du Chêne pointu, 93390 Clichy-sous-Bois

A hard-hitting film, Les Misérables tells the story of the lives of Parisian suburban residents and their relationships with the police in their neighbourhoods. The spectators thus follow Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) who has joined Montfermeil’s anti-crime brigade. He discovered the difficulties of his job and his non-recognition alongside Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga), his new team-mates.

The film also looks back at the tensions between the bacqueux and the inhabitants of the city. LBD or drone fire, everything is subject to sparks. Nominated in the Best Foreign Film category of the Oscars – but not awarded – this feature was inspired by a 2008 misadventure in the Cité des bosquets in Montfermeil. Two policemen from Gagny had deliberately beaten 20-year-old student Abdoulay Fofana, but also by the 2005 riots that saw Zyed and Bouna, pursued by policemen, die.

In addition to the Cité des Bosquets (now renovated), the French director came to shoot at the Cité du chêne pointu in Clichy-sous-Bois. A few steps from the town hall, this popular district – two thirds of the inhabitants live below the poverty line – was built from the 1960s onwards. Jeanne Balibar, the film’s curator, will return to the city some time later to direct her first feature film, Merveilles à Montferrmeil. Ladji Ly’s film is nominated in ten categories for these Césars, including Best Film and Best Direction.

In the name of the earth (Edouard Bergeon – 2019)

La Touche, 53160 Saint-Pierre-sur-Orthe

Begun in June 2018, the filming of Au nom de la terre took place in two stages: in summer and in winter in one of the farms in the hamlet of La Touche in Saint-Pierre-sur-Orthe.

The film recounts the immense difficulties of Pierre Jarjeau (Guillaume Canet), owner of a farm in Mayenne. Together with Claire (Veerle Baetens), his wife, they acquired this land in 1979. Twenty years later, the farmer is exhausted.

The script of the film is based on the life of the director Edouard Bergeon. He himself lived on a family farm near Poitiers. From the age of 16, he had to redouble his efforts for farm work as he found himself alone with his mother and sister to manage the farm. He then became a journalist at France 3 Poitou-Charentes and then at the company department of France 2. In 2012, he directed Les fils de la terre, a documentary for the program Infrarouge on the second channel. Then come Farm for Sale, Freedom, Equality, Improvise, Honey and Men and Marseille: they killed my son, documentaries noted for their high quality.

It was while watching Les fils de la terre that Guillaume Canet had the idea of adapting the documentary into a film himself. He learns that this project is already underway and gets closer to the director. Au nom de la terre is nominated in three categories at the César Awards: Best Debut Film, Best Male Newcomer (Anthony Bajon) and the Audience Award.

The small town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Orthe has only 463 inhabitants. Situated on the border of the Sarthe and Mayenne rivers, it sits to the south of the Coëvrons Massif, in a bocage region.

I accuse (Roman Polanski – 2019)

Air Base 217, 91220 Le Plessis-Pâté

Described at its release because of its director’s past and ongoing court cases, J’accuse was a major event when it was released in 2019. Based on D., Robert Harris’ novel, it tells the story of Alfred Dreyfus’ slow descent into hell, wrongly sentenced to deportation for life for having provided the Germans with documents classified as secret defense. Of Jewish faith, the captain (Louis Garrel) was the ideal scapegoat in this France of the end of the 19th century. The country is then cut in two, between the pro-deyfusers and the anti, with anti-Semitic overtones.

This historical fresco was shot between November 26, 2018 and March 7, 2019. Thus the scenes taking place on Devil’s Island in French Guiana were filmed at the Pointe de Primel in Plougasnou in Finistère, Avenue Frochot in Paris when Picquart (Jean Dujardin) meets Zola (André Marcon) and Clémenceau (Gérard Chaillou) or Rue Bouchut in Paris when books were burning and Jewish shop windows collapsed.

The most important historical moment – the degradation of Alfred Dreyfus – was filmed on Base 217 in Le Plessis-Pâté. Since 2018, this former military base, 30 km from Paris, has been the location for film, music videos and advertising shoots. Thus, PNL and Maître Gims succeeded each other, as well as Valérie Lemercier’s teams for the biopic on Céline Dion or those of L’empereur de Paris on Vidocq. Soon studios from 1000 to 3000 m2 will be built there.

J’accuse is nominated in 12 categories for these Césars, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Set Design or Best Original Music for Alexandre Desplats.

Chanson douce (Lucie Borleteau – 2019)

Chelles RER station – Gournay, place Gasnier-Guy, 77500 Chelles

Based on Leïla Slimani’s best-seller, winner of the Prix Goncourt in 2016, Chanson douce tells the dramatic story of the murder of two children by their nanny.

Myriam (Leïla Bekhti) decides to work again. Employed in a law firm, she has to find a nanny to look after her two children. The couple is introduced to Louise (Karin Viard, nominated in the Best Actress category). Soon, it is appreciated by everyone and takes more and more place in the family.

To reach Myriam and Paul’s home (Antoine Reinartz), Louise takes the RER in the Chelles-Gournay station. The spectators can see several scenes in this place, especially when the character of Karin Viard is lost in thought on the quay. Opened in 1849, this Seine-et-Marne station welcomes more than 10 million passengers a year.

Alice and the Mayor (Nicolas Parisier – 2019)

Parc de la Tête d’or, 69006 Lyon

After thirty years of political life, the mayor of Lyon Paul Théraneau (Fabrice Luchini) says he is worn out by thirty years of political life. His teams offer him the chance to work with Alice Heimann (Anaïs Demoustier, nominated in the Best Actress category), a young philosopher.

The whole of Alice and the mayor was filmed in the city of Gones. Nicolas Parisier chose several major locations in the city for the shots of his feature film. Thus, the Parc de la Tête d’Or served as a setting for the meeting between Alice and her friend. It is also in this urban green space that she sees her ex-boyfriend again. Created in 1857, this park in the Brottereaux district covers 117 hectares. It is a botanical garden coupled with a zoological park. With its 30,000 rosebushes and 8,800 trees, it is a popular place for the Lyonnais.

The technical teams also set up their cameras at the city’s opera house, a stage where Alice is there (1 place de la comédie), Le Cintra where the mayor dines (43 rue de la bourse), the Croix-Rousse theatre visited by Paul Théraneau (place Joannes Ambre) or the Sainte-Blandine church (1 place de l’hippodrome).

Proxima (Alice Winocour – 2019)

Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Proxima follows in the footsteps of Sarah (Eva Green), an astronaut, the only female astronaut in a European programme. Living alone with his daughter Stella (Zélie Boulant-Lemesle), his new mission Proxima will turn their lives upside down.

Thus, the feature film uses real places around the conquest of space. Spectators follow Sarah’s training at the European Space Agency in Cologne (Linder Hoehe, 51147 Köln, Germany), as well as at the City of Stars in Russia (Moscow Oblast) and at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian launch base created in 1956.

Alice Winocour had to wait sometimes for a long time for permission to shoot in these very strategic and closed places. The schedule was very precise, constraining for filming but mandatory in order to have access to all the equipment to train. Eva Green, nominated in the Best Actress category, thus undergoes the same charges as an astronaut in order to make her role more credible. The 50-strong crew had only seven days to shoot in Cologne, while the scene of the rocket’s take-off in Kazakhstan, the director gave the exact location of her cameras to the authorities several months before. After filming, an official from the Russian space agency checked everything to the nearest millimetre.

My unknown (Hugo Gélin – 2019)

Le théâtre de l’Odéon, place de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris

One evening, Raphaël (François Civil) hears a sweet melody in the attic of his high school. He watches Olivia (Joséphine Japy) play the piano. This is the beginning of a long love story. They’re getting married. A few years later, the couple flies off the handle until the night of a big fight. The next day, the young man wakes up in a world where he’s never met Olivia. At first disoriented, he tries to win her back with the help of his best friend Félix (Benjamin Laverhne, nominated in the category Best Actor in a Supporting Role).

Olivia was an internationally renowned pianist when she married Raphael. She performs in many prestigious venues including the Odeon theatre in Paris. To make her fall in love with him again, he does not hesitate to go to a concert in this hall and wait for her in front to talk to her. Inaugurated in 1782, this place of culture is one of the five national theatres. With a capacity of 800 seats, it is an Italian-style theatre with a neoclassical façade. It was also used as a set for the mythical films Les enfants du paradis by Marcel Carné (1946) and La nuit de Varennes by Ettore Scola (1982).

In order to best embody her role as a pianist, Joséphine Japy practiced between two and three hours a day. Nevertheless, the director used an understudy for the cutting shots.

Hugo Gélin was greatly inspired by romantic comedies for Mon inconnue, including Michel Gondry’s Eternal of the Spotless Mind, Il était temps by Richard Curtis, Her by Spike Jonze or La vie est belle by Frank Capra.

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By Anthony Thibault

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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