Declaration of War creates stir on its release
by Fabien Lemercier
31/08/2011 - There has been phenomenal media frenzy and a highly enthusiastic critical response for Valérie Donzelli’s electrifying and moving Declaration of War [trailer] (see review), which is being launched today on a 129-print run by Wild Bunch Distribution.
Having created a stir at the Cannes Film Festival 2011 where it opened the Critics’ Week, the film (shot almost entirely using a Canon 5D) has won a string of awards (Jury Prize, Audience Award and Bloggers’ Award at Paris Cinéma, Grand Prize at the Cabourg Film Festival, Valois for Best Film last Sunday at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival). It has already been sold internationally by Wild Bunch, notably for the US, Italy, German-speaking European territories, Benelux, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, the CIS countries, Canada, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and the Middle East.
Donzelli commented: "the film is autobiographical in the sense that Jérémie (editor’s note: Elkaïm, who co-wrote the screenplay and stars alongside the director) and I had a child who fell seriously ill. The reality of events is very close to what we experienced, but the film is not necessarily our story (…) I don’t think it’s a comedy drama, nor a drama or melodrama. With hindsight, we can describe it just as a physical, intense and lively film, full of ideals and hope (…) What interested me was telling a love story, but one which passes through the filter of that ordeal. Roméo and Juliette are two young carefree lovers, who are not at all prepared for war, but are surprised by their capacity to wage war and become heroes despite themselves."
Donzelli, who attracted attention with her debut feature The Queen of Hearts [trailer], is currently preparing Main dans la Main (“Hand in Hand”, RectangleProductions), co-scripted with Gilles Marchand and Elkaïm (who will also be in the cast alongside Valérie Lemercier): a comedy revolving around dance, but without songs, centred on a Paris Opera director with whom a young man from the provinces falls in love.
Among this Wednesday’s eight other releases, there has also been strong critical acclaim for Peter Mullan’s UK/French/Italian feature Neds [trailer], which won the top prize at last year’s San Sebastian Film Festival (see news – Mars Distribution on 41 screens).
There have also been good reviews for Blackthorn [trailer] by Spanish director Mateo Gil (co-screenwriter on four of Amenabar’s films), starring Sam Shepard, Eduardo Noriega and Stephen Rea (distributed by Bac Films); for Franck Mancuso’s French thriller RIF (see news - StudioCanal); and for German helmer Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave Of Forgotten Dreams [trailer] (Metropolitan Filmexport). Finally, other noteworthy releases are John Landis’ UK title Burke and Hare (see review - La Fabrique 2 on 70 screens); and Olivier Torres’ La Ligne Blanche (“The White Line”, distributed by NiZ !).
(Translated from French)