38 Witnesses and the Belvaux - Sobelman connection
by Fabien Lemercier
- Patrick Sobelman, the French producer for Agat Films, speaks of his work with Belgian director Lucas Belvaux on the eve of 38 Witnesses’s release.
Cineuropa spoke to Patrick Sobelman, who has produced six feature films by Lucas Belvaux for Agat Films: the 2003 trilogy An Amazing Couple [+see also:
film profile], After the Life [+see also:
film profile] and On the Run, The Law of the Weakest [+see also:
film profile] (2006), Rapt [+see also:
interview: Lucas Belvaux, director of …
film profile] (2009), and most recently 38 Witnesses [+see also:
film profile] (read more), a film that opened the last Rotterdam International Film Festival and will be released tomorrow in French and Belgian cinemas.
The beginning of the Belvaux-Sobelman duo
"What brought us together was the trilogy, an exceptional adventure, both artistically and financially, because Agat took a great financial risk. This created a strong sense of trust that became the basis of our relationship. It’s much easier to work togetehr long term once this trust has been established. But we don’t have a life-long contract. With each new film, it’s up to Lucas to see if he wants to suggest it to us or not."
"Yvan Attal suggested the project to Lucas. The trio that was formed with me for Rapt was reproduced for 38 Winesses. Lucas’ films never waffle, they throw light onto an issue, yet never forget to make good cinema with a storyline, a state of theatrical tension, characters, and plans... In 38 Winesses, there are exceptional sequences that are great moments in cinema, because Lucas has this quality that not all directors have to make films that are not only marvellous from a scenographic point of view, but also have meaning and are worthy of reflexion."
"This was not very difficult as Lucas, through his previous films, had won the right to be financed correctly. He is a director that financiers like to follow, because the business is not bad and because his films make them want to participate. Canal +, Diaphana, Films Distribution, France 3 Cinéma are all trustworthy French partners who are loyal to Lucas, and it’s the same in Belgium with Cinéart and RTBF. Eurimages has also followed us on all of Lucas’ latest films. But nothing is ever won in advance, and we don’t know what will happen with the next film."
"We already have a new film lined up with Lucas, which is the adaptation of Philippe Vilain’s novel Pas son genre (lit. “Not his type”), the story of a Parisian philosophy professor, Parisian and bourgeois, who is sent to Arras [in the north of France], where he is very bored and falls in love with a local hairdresser.
More news from Patrick Sobelman
"Dark Touch by Marina De Van (article) is being filmed, Tu honoreras ta mère et ta mère (lit. “You will honour your father and your mother”) by Brigitte Rouän (news) and Queen of Montreuil by Solveig Anspach are in post-production, and I am preparing La vie domestique (lit. “Domestic life”) by Isabelle Czajka and Son épouse (lit. “His wife”) by Michel Spinosa, for which filming will kick off respectively in June and November."
(Translated from French)