An unlikely French quintet
by Fabien Lemercier
20/04/2007 - Five majority French productions, along with one co-production, will screen in competition at the 60th Cannes Film Festival (May 16-27). The selection, which threw up some surprises, features four male and two female directors. Festival artistic director Thierry Frémaux said that the wealth of well-known international names allowed him to take risks with local films.
The green light has been given to up-and-coming helmer Christophe Honoré for his romantic musical comedy The Love Songs [trailer] (see article). This is the director’s fourth feature and stars Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Clothilde Hesme and Chiara Mastroianni.
Seasoned director Catherine Breillat will also be at Cannes, with An Old Mistress [trailer], an adaptation of Barbey D'Aurevilly’s French novel Une vieille maîtresse set in 1830s Paris. The cast features Italian actress Asia Argento, Fu'ad Ait Aattou and Roxane Mesquida.
Produced by Jean-François Lepetit for Flach Film and sold internationally by Pyramide, the €7.22m feature was funded by a 10% Italian co-production with Buskin Film, €900,000 in co-production and pre-sales from France 3 Cinéma and a StudioCanal co-production.
The third French title is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly [trailer] (see news), from the slate of French outfit Pathé (also the film’s sales agent). The €10.8m production by New York based filmmaker Julian Schnabel, whose first two features Build a Fort, Set It on Fire and Before Night Falls competed at the 1996 and 2000 Venice film festivals, with the latter winning the Special Jury Grand Prize.
Described as intensely moving and an almost experimental film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – backed by France 3 Cinéma and Canal + – features a star-studded cast, including Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-José Croze, Marina Hands and Max von Sydow.
Meanwhile, Tehilim [trailer] by Marseille-born director Raphaël Nadjari will contend for the Palme d’Or. The director was previously acclaimed at Cannes in the 1999 Un Certain Regard sidebar (The Shade) and the 2002 Directors’ Fortnight (Apartment #5C), and at the Berlinale in the 2001 Forum (I Am Josh Polonski's Brother) and the 2004 Panorama (Avanim)
(Translated from French)