War of the Buttons: round one
by Fabien Lemercier
14/09/2011 - A race in post-production to get onto screens the first, bitter exchanges between the two producers in the press, suspicions (and denials) about pressure being put on the actors and technical crew, and a promotional battle creating confusion among potential audiences: the contest between the two adaptations of Louis Pergaud’s novel (see news) has today reached the decisive stage of the release. This Wednesday, UGC is launching Yann Samuell’s War of the Buttons [trailer] in 675 theatres, while Christophe Barratier’s version, War of the Buttons [trailer] (the only one of the two films to be supported by Canal +), will hit screens next week on a more or less equivalent print-run through Mars Distribution.
As if echoing the subject of the book (the battles between gangs of children from two villages), this head-on competition unseen before in the history of French cinema is stirring the curiosity of observers as we wait to analyse the box-office results. But it is already clear that the situation will harm both parties in terms of the final number of admissions and that the other new releases will no doubt have difficulty holding their own in the shadow of these two rivals greedily occupying screens. Watch this space for further developments.
Two titles unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival are also hitting screens this Wednesday. Directorial trio Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy’s critically-acclaimed French/Belgian co-production The Fairy [trailer, film focus], which opened the latest Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, is being launched by MK2 on a 60-print run. Meanwhile, Pathé Films is releasing in 148 theatres Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? [trailer], which had its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard selection (see review).
Bellissima Films is releasing a 15-print run of Italian helmer Stefano Incerti’s Gorbaciof [trailer, film focus], discovered out of competition at the Venice Mostra 2010 and starring Toni Servillo (A Quiet Life [trailer, film focus]).
Finally, Albany Films/ Aramis Films is launching a 30-print run of Laurent Bouhnik’s Q [trailer] (a film centred on young people and sex). Two documentaries complete this week’s panorama of European releases: German duo Martin Baer and Claus Wischmann’s Kinshasa Symphony [trailer] (Hévadis Films) and French director Ludovic Virot’s Le Sens de l'Age (“The Meaning of Age”).
(Translated from French)