Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Debut Film Picks Up Top Cesar Award

PARIS -- A debut feature by Erick Zonca, "La Vie Revee des Anges, or "The Dream Life of Angels," picked up top honors at France's main movie awards, as the local film industry put a brave face on a disappointing 1998.

Zonca's stark tale of a friendship between two unemployed women won the best-film accolade at Saturday's 24th annual Cesar ceremony - France's equivalent of the Oscars.

The film's stars, Elodie Bouchez and Nathalie Regnier, won awards for best actress and most-promising young actress respectively. Best actor went to Jacques Villeret for his role in the comedy "Le Diner de Cons," or "The Dinner Game."

"Le Diner de Cons" was one of only three home-grown smash hits for French cinema last year, with local movies accounting for just 26 percent of total box-office earnings - the first time they had fallen below the 30 percent level.

Hollywood epic "Titanic," which drew a record 20.7 million moviegoers across France, was overlooked at the Cesar's, with Roberto Benigni's Holocaust comedy "Life Is Beautiful" winning the best foreign-film category. The Italian movie has been nominated for best film at the forthcoming Oscars.

American actor Johnny Depp and Spanish director Pedro Almodovar picked up special Cesar awards for their achievement in cinema.

The big loser at Saturday night's film jamboree was "Place Vendome," a story of sleaze in the seemingly glamorous world of the Paris jewelry trade, starring veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve. Despite failing at the box office, the film garnered 12 nominations at the Cesars - more than any other film - but ended up empty-handed.