France touts Cannes prizes as vindication for film subsidies

PARIS (AP) — France’s president says his country’s strong showing at this year’s Cannes film festival is no accident — suggesting it’s partly thanks to government subsidies.

France has had long dry spells without prizes at Cannes. This year, unusually, five French films were selected for competition. The jury, led by American directors Joel and Ethan Coen, handed three prizes to French winners, including the top prize for Jacques Audiard’s migrant drama “Dheepan.”

Hollande said the prizes demonstrate “the effectiveness and originality” of French film financing “which I absolutely want to preserve and defend on a European level.”

France argues that subsidies offer viewers more diversity than Hollywood blockbusters. French resistance to limits on film subsidies affected talks toward a major U.S.-EU trade deal.