February 8, 2023


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Virginie Ephyra is honored in Paris

2 min read

Under the crystal chandelier at the Palais Royal in Paris on Thursday, a crop of studio executives, renowned directors and emerging young talent, “Benedetta” star Virginie Efira turned into a celebration as she received the Unifrance French Cinema Award – an award that honors those who carry the banner of Gaelic cinema around the world – the country’s culture minister. From Rima Abdul Malak.

Held as part of UniFrance Rendez-Vous in Paris, the event drew a fittingly international crowd, with filmmakers Emilie Atef, Juho Kuosmanen, Sergey Loznitsa and Albert Serra joined by “Athena” star Dali Bensalah, “Forever Young” lead Nadia Tereskiewicz, “Mother and Son” breakout Annabel Langrone and “Everybody Loves Jean” director Celine Devaux to an intimate reception.

Abdul Malak launched Efira Shraddha on a victory lap, boasting local theatrical attendance rates – which lost only 29% compared to 2019, marking the most successful rebound since the global pandemic – while 27 million international admissions are banked in Gallic 2022 films.

UniFrance president Serge Tubiana then toasted Efira, praising the star for her range, comparing her skills to a “Swiss-army knife” with her witty drama, comedy, tragedy and farce in equal measure. “Audiences will follow wherever you take them,” says Tubiana. “You build intimacy with your characters, keeping their mystery. This is undoubtedly your signature.”

As Efira took the podium — joining the ranks of previous winners Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche and “Untouchable” directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache — the Belgian-born star reflected on her own formative years growing up in a neighboring country and through French cinema, among others. Films by Claude Saut, Leos Carax and Bertrand Tavernier.

“These works were foundational,” Efira said. “They shaped my desire to act and make films; I wanted to value that feeling, to help French moviegoers, and hopefully international audiences too, to share the same feeling of discovery and liberation.

A fixture on the festival circuit, Efira brought ears in Serge Bozon’s “Don Juan” and Alice Winocore’s “Paris Memories” last year, and received rave reviews for her lead performance in Rebecca Zlotowski’s “Other People’s Children,” which opened in Venice. last September, and will have its US premiere at Sundance before a theatrical release from Music Box Pictures later this spring.

While thanking her recent collaborators by name, Efira singled out her “Elle” and “Benedetta” director Paul Verhoeven, comparing their respective paths as natives of Belgium and the Netherlands who both found recent glory — and as was the case Thursday night. , being celebrated by – French art.

Serge Tubiana and Virginie Ephira
Giancarlo Goracini

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