France has been a major force in world cinema literally since the beginning of the medium, and 2007 has been a banner year for our cheese-eating brethren.

France's official selection for the foreign-language category at the Oscars is Persepolis, which won a jury prize at Cannes and is also a front-runner in Oscar's animation category. Meanwhile, La Vie en Rose and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly have earned raves everywhere they've played, with more Oscar talk surrounding La Vie's lead actress Marion Cotillard, and Diving Bell's director Julian Schnabel. Schnabel and his cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, both won prizes at Cannes.

Now the nominees for the Louis Delluc Prize -- one of the most prestigious in French cinema -- have been announced as the award celebrates its 70th anniversary. As Variety reports, the eight nominees are split between veteran directors and up-and-coming filmmakers. The films are: The Romance of Astree and Celadon (Eric Rohmer), The Girl Cut in Two (Claude Chabrol), Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira), The Witnesses (Andre Techine), Love Songs(Christopher Honore), The Secret of the Grain (Abdellatif Kechiche), Actresses (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), and Before I Forget (Jacques Nolot).

In 2000, the Louis Delluc committee launched a new award for best first film. This year's nominees are Water Lilies (Celine Sciamma), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud), Beyond Hatred (Olivier Meyrou), Just About Love? (Lola Doillon), and All Is Forgiven (Mia Hansen-Love).

But wait, there's more! According to France's state film organization the CNC, French films made 11.2% more in international sales in 2006 than they did in 2005. It seems more and more countries are distributing more and more French movies. (The exception is the Asian market, where homegrown films have seen a resurgence lately.) According to The Hollywood Reporter, sales to North America were up 62.6% in 2006.

You can even see a love for France in non-French films. Ratatouille, Rush Hour 3, Broken English, and Mr Bean's Holiday were all set there or had major sequences set there. Paris, Je T'aime featured 18 short films made by directors from all over the world, all demonstrating their affection for the City of Light.

In short, as far as the film world is concerned, is it a good year to be French? Mais oui.
categories Awards, Cinematical