CANNES -Gallic actor-director Guillaume Gallienne's comic confessional "Me Myself and Mum" topped the 45th Directors' Fortnight, scooping both its Art Cinema Award and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers' SACD Prize.
Announced Friday, the double win, plus a special mention by the SACD jury for Serge Bozon's "Tip Top," vindicates the move by Directors' Fortnight artistic director Eduardo Waintrop to program no less than five comedies in this year's edition.
Adapting Gallienne's own solo stage show, "Me Myself and Mum" turns on his recreation of a childhood overshadowed by his dear maman who assumes, like seemingly everybody else, that he's gay. Gallienne plays himself as a child and schoolboy as well as limning his mother. Diane Kruger co-stars as a strict health-spa nurse.
Weighing in after its Cannes world preem - where it was received with rapturous applause - as one of France's big upcoming comedy bows of 2013, "Me Myself and Mum" is produced by three heavyweights of contempo French cinema, Eduoard Weil, whose credits include Valerie Donzelli's "Declaration of War" and Xavier Giannoli's "Superstar," and Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean-Baptiste Dupont at LGM, which has already scored heavily with two recent comedies, "Billy and Buddy" and "Cloclo."
Years ago "Me Myself" might have seemed purely local fare. But with French comedies now sometimes breaking out to huge figures abroad, Gaumont, which also co-produced, has pre-sold "Me Myself" overseas, including to Germany's Concorde.
Serge Bozon's follow-up to "La France," a standout in 2007's Directors Fortnight, noirish comedy-thriller "Tip Top" adapts U.K. novelist Bill James, starring a manic Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Kiberlain as rival police inspectors investigating an informant's murder.
The third plaudit from a Directors' Fortnight sponsor, the Europa Cinemas Label for best European film in Directors' Fortnight, went to a movie far removed from comedy: "The Selfish Giant," the fiction feature debut of British director Clio Barnard, whose docu "The Arbor" dazzled at 2010's Tribeca Fest.
Set on a Bradford council estate and very loosely updating Oscar Wilde's fairy tale, the story of two teens' ultimately tragic friendship with a charismatic scrap merchant has elicited near universal comparisons with Ken Loach's cinema. Sundance Selects announced on Thursday it had acquired North American rights to "Giant."
The distance between "Me Myself" and "Giant" is symptomatic of a robustly eclectic 45th Directors' Fortnight which presented a wide-ranging mix of five first features and two second pics, two genre movies, three documentaries as well as, unusually for a big fest, five comedies.
Opening with Ari Folman's "The Congress," Directors' Fortnight closed Friday with actress-turned-director Yolande Moureau's "Henri."