Headwinds in a favourable climate
by Fabien Lemercier
14/12/2011 - After a spectacularly busy period in November with 25.9m admissions (+34.4% compared to the same month in 2010) which brought the total for the first 11 months of the year to 191.3m viewers (a 2% improvement on the same period last year) according to estimates by the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC), French movie theatres will see the release of another 15 new titles this Wednesday.
This week, there has been a particularly good press reception for Jalil Lespert’s moving film Headwinds [trailer] (see news - released by Universal on about 200 screens), starring Benoît Magimel and Isabelle Carré in the lead roles (as well as Audrey Tautou as a haunting absent woman).
Critics have also been enthusiastic about Delphine and Muriel Coulin’s 17 Girls [trailer], which was unveiled in Cannes Critics’ Week (see review), is in the running for the Louis Delluc Prize for Best Debut Film of the Year, and is being released by Diaphana on 73 screens.
Also hitting screens are Finnish director Jalmari Helander’s larger-than-life Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale [trailer, film focus] (Chrysalis Films on a nine-print run) and Tania Wexler’s astonishing UK/US/Luxembourg co-production Hysteria [trailer], which won acclaim at the Rome Film Festival (see review in Italian) and is being released by Haut et Court in 80 theatres.
Other noteworthy releases include Pierre Rambaldi’s French/Belgian co-production Les Tribulations d'une Caissière [trailer] (“The Tribulations of a Checkout Girl”), starring Deborah François in the lead role (distribution: Rezo–Studio 37 on a 170-print run); and Nicolas Bénamou’s offbeat comedy De L’huile Sur le Feu [trailer] (“Fuel to the Flames”, UGC on 98 screens).
Unveiled at Cannes, the extraordinary restored version of Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon is being launched on a 11-print run by MK2 with Serge Bromberg’s documentary The Extraordinary Voyage.
Finally, this Wednesday’s line-up is completed by three other European documentaries: Flamenco Flamenco [trailer] by Spain’s Carlos Saura (Bodega Films on ten prints); Corto Fajal’s French/Swedish co-production Against the Wind, Jon the Sami (released on a ten-print run by Arwestud Films Distribution); and Illisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s US/UK feature Sweetgrass (Mandragora on three prints).
(Translated from French)