César Awards: The French-Moroccan Roschdy Zem Wins the Best Actor Award

Roschdy Zem, the French-Moroccan actor with a calm strength, whose career has been marked by more than 80 films, mixing amateur and popular cinema, has just won the prize for best actor, yesterday at the César Awards ceremony, for his role in “Roubaix, une lumière” by Arnaud Desplechin.

Nominated three times at the César Awards in the Best Supporting Actor category (for Ma petite entreprise, Le Petit lieutenant and La Fille de Monaco), once for Best Debut Film (Mauvaise foi) and once for Best Adaptation (Omar m’a tuer), he had never been rewarded, nevertheless.

In Arnaud Desplechin’s dark thriller, Roubaix, a light, the 54-year-old Franco-Moroccan actor plays a charismatic and sensitive police officer, full of humanity, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the classic police characters.

This role had already earned him the award of the Prix Lumière for best actor, awarded by the international press in France.

“It was the perfect role for him,” Desplechin told AFP at the Cannes Film Festival, where he sees in him “a lord” whom he has “seen grow from film to film”, a “very modest” man.

“Lino Ventura has a modesty that overwhelms me. I thought Roschdy had this modesty. As I was filming him, I said to myself that it wasn’t Ventura at all, it was Trintignant, because he has a surgical skill”.

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