Georges Cravenne, chief film promoter

Georges Cravenne used to say that the Cesar ceremony was born one day in August 1975 at La Colombe d’or, a famous family pension in Saint-Paul-de-Vence frequented by artists. The pioneer of public relations in the world of French cinema explained that he had met Marcel Jullian, who had just been inducted at the head of Antenne 2, and had sold him the idea of ​​​​an evening of the “French Oscars” broadcast on the public channel. . Georges Cravenne said he found himself, a few hours later, face to face with another regular, the sculptor César, and offered to create the trophy for the ceremony. It was not yet the famous compression that will reward the winners of the Césars from 1978 – and will do so again this February 24 on the stage of the Olympia – but a statuette inspired by that of the Oscars. “César” rhymed with “Oscar”, and Georges Cravenne added with a smile that it reminded Marcel Pagnol.

The story is too beautiful. In reality, as Colette Monnot and Anne Cappa, who were his assistants, tell today, the principle of the first evening of the Césars had been mentioned by Georges Cravenne not in the prestigious Provençal inn but in the Parisian office of Marcel Jullian. The date of the first ceremony is fixed for April 3, 1976, the technical details being settled: Georges Cravenne will bear all the expenses of the evening. A huge financial risk for his small public relations company. He wanted La Colombe d’or to be part of the history of the ceremony, with which he remained associated until his death on January 10, 2009, at the age of 94.

Because it is there, or rather in an annex of the pension, that Georges Cravenne, born Joseph Cohen in 1914 in Kairouan, a city of the French protectorate of Tunisia, in a family of the Jewish bourgeoisie, was hidden for a few weeks during the Second World War. From 1940, Georges Cravenne (a pseudonym chosen in reference to the famous brand of cigarettes) suffered the anti-Jewish laws of the Vichy government. At the Colombe d’or, which has become a refuge for many personalities from the world of arts and culture, he is, in his own words, “treated like a rooster” by Paul Roux and his wife, Baptistine.

Judge then accompany the films

From the 1930s, this film enthusiast became a critic at Cine-Magazine then to Paris-evening, before becoming a press officer. In 1936, at only 22 years old, he was the youngest of the first jury for the Louis-Delluc Prize, considered the “Goncourt of cinema”.. The Césars are the most famous part of an insane career, without any equivalent in France. A survivor’s life during which this resistance fighter, who escaped the Gestapo on several occasions, worked to push the limits of the possible. To impose the event, which he had dreamed of since 1929, the year of the creation of the Oscars in the United States, which each year reward the best directors, actors and technicians in Hollywood, he must first prove himself.

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