Five French films in the running
by Fabien Lemercier
10/02/2006 - Among the 40 films in the Forum section of the 56th Berlin Film Festival , France, which enters the fray this weekend, has no less than five productions and four minority co-productions. Heading the list is Hotel Harabati [trailer] (De Particulier à Particulier) by Brice Cauvin, starring Hélène Fillières, Laurent Lucas, Anouk Aimée and Julie Gayet. Produced by Mille et une productions, with a pre-sale from TPS, and sold internationally by Films Distribution, this debut feature follows the misadventures of Marion and Philippe, an ordinary Parisian couple who are expecting their third child and want to go to Venice for a few days. But the trip will never happen for a bizarre reason that will turn their lives upside down. Distributed by Pierre Grise, Hotel Harabati will be released on April 19 in French theatres.
Another first film being screened in the Forum is Barakat! [trailer] by Djamila Sahraoui, a Les Films d'Ici production, with, notably, €300,000 in support from Arte France Cinéma, of the film’s total €1.8m budget. Starring Rachida Brakni (Shooting Star 2002), from a screenplay by Djamila Sahraoui and Cécile Vargaftig, the film follows the peregrinations of Amel, a young female doctor in search of her husband, a journalist who disappeared during the turbulent 1990s in Algeria. Accompanied by Khadidja, a former member of the Resistance, she sets out blindly on a quest that will bring her up against the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) and Security Forces.
Three documentaries made in France are also on the Forum’s menu. Beyond Hatred [trailer] (Au-delà de la haine) by Olivier Meyrou, produced by Hold Up Films and Miss Luna Films, co-produced by France 5 and France 2 and sold internationally by Films Distribution, deals with the death of François Chenu, 29, who was beaten to death on September 13 by three skinheads because he was homosexual. In Schuss!, Nicolas Rey investigates the mountain’s history, from the aluminium production to the development of winter sports. Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman develops, in the French/Belgian co-production Down There (Là-bas), an intimate journal of sorts shot in Tel Aviv, a point-of-view on Israel from a member of its diaspora.
Finally, there are also four minority French productions in the Berlin Forum: Congo River [trailer] by Belgium’s Thierry Michel, Tertium non datur by Rumania’s Lucian Pintilie, News from Home [trailer] by Amos Gitai and Wrestling Grounds (L’Appel des arènes) by Senegalese director Cheikh Ndiaye.
(Translated from French)