by Fabien Lemercier
11/04/2012 - With 73 first-ever feature films out of 207 recorded majority productions in 2011, France’s talents are constantly being renewed, a tendency now well-established in time, with at least 50 first films per year over the last decade. Today out in French cinemas, first films Nana [trailer] and Radiostars [trailer] show just how diverse these first films can be.
Distributed on 17 copies by Epicentre Films, Nana by Valérie Massadian last summer won the Golden Leopard for Best First Film at the Locarno Film Festival. Produced by Gaijin on a short-film budget, this poetic journey into the universe of a four-year-old girl (Kelyna Lecomte) on her own in an old house at the edge of the forest has bewitched most critics. With a minimalist plot, the film reveals its director’s great talent in capturing fleeting moments and has imposed her as one to definitely watch.
Released by Mars Distribution on 295 copies, Radiostars by Romain Levy rides the current wave of successful French comedies. Led by Les Productions du Trésor on a €5.4m budget, this "road movie" featuring Manu Payet, Clovis Cornillac, and Douglas Attal attemps to adapt Judd Apatow’s humour for France. This first feature tells of the misadventures of a mobile radio team. It has been generally well-received by the media, and has been marketed as a feel-good movie. But there will be competition at the box office with Sur la piste du marsupilami [trailer] by Alain Chabat having just become the second best release so far this year with 1.22 million admissions in its first five days.
Also among the other newcomers are another good film about childhood, Belgo-French co-production On the Sly [trailer] by Olivier Ringer (DistriB Films in 23 cinemas), but also the moving documentary Je suis by the nowadays too rare Emmanuel Finkiel (a director that we dream of seeing make fiction films again), in which he follows the rehabilitation of stroke patients (distribution Les Films du Poisson). Finally, also out in cinemas are the comedy Plan de table [trailer] by Christelle Raynal (starring Elsa Zylberstein - ARP Sélection in 184 cinemas), and the documentary Chez Léon Coiffure by François Lunel (Promenades Films).
According to National Centre for Cinema and the moving image (CNC) estimates, French cinemas recorded 50.25 million admissions in the first trimester (-5.5% compared to the first three months of 2011), with French films representing 49.6 % of the market compared to a 38.1% taken up by American productions.
(Translated from French)