Viard shines in On Air
by Fabien Lemercier
11/01/2012 - After notching up roles in François Ozon’s Potiche [trailer], Dany Boon’s Nothing To Declare [trailer], Cédric Klapisch’s My Piece of the Pie [trailer] and Maïwenn’s Poliss [trailer, film focus], Karin Viard returns to screens today with a shining performance in On Air [trailer], the debut feature by Pierre Pinaud (winner of the Best Short Film César 2009). Launched by Diaphana on a 179-print run, the film also features Nicolas Duvauchelle (another star of Poliss) and Nadia Barentin (who died recently).
Playing a star radio presenter who has a talent for solving the emotional problems of her listeners and sets out incognito in search of a mother she has never known, Viard pulls off one more performance in an already full career. Winner of the Best Actress César in 2000 for Battle Cries (and nominated in 2005 for The Role of Her Life), winner of the Best Supporting Actress César in 2003 for Summer Things (and three nominations in the same category in 1998, 2009 and 2011), the actress has become a figurehead of French cinema since her nomination for the Best Female Newcomer César in 1994 for Sidestroke.
"I was looking for an actress who is credible in both an emotional and comic register. In France, there aren’t many examples of actresses who are as comfortable in both registers," explained Pinaud (who also wrote the film’s screenplay). This mix appealed to Viard: "I really liked this unconventional female character, who, behind the microphone, can express great empathy towards her listeners, but is also afraid of humanity as soon as she leaves the studio. We laugh about her neurosis, it’s uplifting, it’s a catalyst for humour; the film never plunges into gloom, into something too dark or depressed."
On Air was produced by Estrella Productions for €3.67m. Its budget included co-production support from Bonne pioche, pre-acquisitions from Canal +, Orange Cinéma Séries and Ciné+, a €303,000 grant from the Ile-de-France region and backing from Soficas Banque Postale Image, Soficinéma and Coficup-Backup Films. International sales are being handled by SND.
Other releases this Wednesday include Christophe Ruggia’s social thriller In Turmoil [trailer] (see news - starring Clovis Cornillac, Mathilde Seigner and Yvan Attal – Wild Bunch Distribution); Nicolas Brossette’s road movie 10 Days in Gold (Metropolitan filmexport); Jacques Richard’s The Orphan Girl Without An Arm (distributed by Aramis Films/Albany Films); and Raphaël Siboni’s There Is No Sexual Rapport (Capricci films).
Also hitting screens is Spanish helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s nail-biting Intruders [trailer, film focus], starring the UK’s Clive Owen, Holland’s Carice Van Houten, Germany’s Daniel Brühl and Spain’s Pilar López de Ayala (distribution: Universal Pictures).
Four documentaries complete the line-up: the fascinating Project Nim, which earned British director James Marsh the Best Director Award at Sundance (Le Pacte); directorial trio Gilles Balbastre, Yannick Kergoat and Serge Halimi incisive analysis of the work of the media, The New Watchdogs (Epicentre Films); Safinez Bousbia’s Irish production El Gusto (UGC Ph.); and Marianne Chaud’s Himalaya, Land of Women (ZED).
At the box office, which closed the year 2011 with 215.59m admissions (best score since 1966) with a 41.6% market share for French productions compared to 46% for US films, Untouchable [trailer] completes its tenth consecutive week at the top of the rankings and has amassed 17.42m admissions (4th best position of all time). It should also be noted that Cédric Kahn’s A Better Life [trailer, film focus] has got off to a good start (208,000 viewers in five days).
(Translated from French)