Saint-Jean-de-Luz crowns A Bottle in the Gaza Sea
by Fabien Lemercier
17/10/2011 - First love, first cigarette, first body piercing and first terrorist attack. After a suicide bombing at a café in her neighbourhood, a young 17-year-old French girl living in Jerusalem writes a letter to an imaginary Palestinian expressing her refusal of the hatred between the two peoples. She slips the letter into a bottle which she gives to her brother to throw into the sea, near Gaza, where he is doing his military service. A few weeks later, she receives a mysterious reply… This is the subject of Thierry Benisti’s A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, which won the Chistera for Best Film on Saturday at the 16th Saint-Jean-de-Luz Festival of Young Filmmakers.
Produced by Miléna Poylo and Gilles Sacuto for TS Productions, the film is adapted from Valérie Zenatti’s novel of the same name. Its cast includes Agathe Bonitzer, Mahmoud Shalaby, Hiam Abbass, Riff Cohen and Jean-Philippe Ecoffey.
Presided by actress Catherine Jacob and comprising, among others, film directors Christian Carion and Stéphane Brizé, the jury also awarded two gongs to hard-hitting Belgian film Bullhead [trailer, film focus] (to be released in France through Ad Vitam in February 2012) with the Chistera for Best Director going to Michaël R. Roskam and Best Actor to Matthias Schoenaerts.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Sandra Hüller won Best Actress for her performance in Jan Schomburg’s Above Us Only Sky [trailer], which won the Europa Cinemas Label at the latest Berlinale (see review) and will be launched in France next year by Sophie Dulac Distribution.
There was also double honours for French actress Mélanie Laurent’s debut directorial feature The Adopted (see news), which won the Audience Award and the Young Jury Prize. It will be released by StudioCanal on November 23.
The ten titles in competition also included Oslo, August 31st [trailer, film focus] by Norway’s Joachim Trier (in Memento Films’s 2012 line-up); directorial duo Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Chicken with Plums [trailer] (see review and interview - to be released by Le Pacte on October 26); Cyril Mennegun’s Louise Wimmer [trailer] (see review - Haut et Court on January 11, 2012); and Frank Henry’s De Force (see news - to be released by Rezo Films and Studio 37 on October 26).
Out of competition, the Basque festival screened Jonathan Zaccaï’s Play It Like Godard (see news - to be released by MK2 on February 8 of next year); directorial duo Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s Livid (see news - to be released by La Fabrique 2 on December 7); and Stéphane Ryojad’s Special Forces, which is set in Afghanistan and stars Diane Kruger et Benoit Magimel (to be launched by StudioCanal on November 2).
(Translated from French)