Jacquet, Kechiche and Mouret form star trio
by Fabien Lemercier
12/12/2007 - A flurry of 13 new releases hit French screens today with two films battling it out for top spot, each released on 700 screens: the US production Bee Movie and The Fox and the Child [trailer], the eagerly awaited new film by Luc Jacquet, following his March of the Penguins [trailer], which won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2006 and became a worldwide success.
Screened in avant-premiere for two weeks at the Grand Rex cinema in Paris, the Walt Disney release was produced by Bonne Pioche on a budget of €11.16m, including a €1.6m investment by France 3 Cinéma, pre-sales from Canal + and international pre-sales from Wild Bunch.
Starring Bertille Noël-Bruneau and Isabelle Carré, the film, which explores the remarkable bond between a little girl and a fox, was shot over a six-month period in the Jura and the Abruzzo region in Italy.
After receiving double honours at the Venice Film Festival (Special Jury Prize and Best Emerging Actress for Hafsia Herzi), The Secret of the Grain by Abdellatif Kechiche (see interview) is being launched on a cautious 92 screens by Pathé. Acclaimed by critics, the third feature by the director of Blame It On Voltaire and Games of Love and Chance [trailer] (four Cesar awards in 2004, including Best Film) stars Habib Boufares.
Having almost made it to the official competition at Venice, where it was finally screened in the Venice Days sidebar, Emmanuel Mouret’s Shall We Kiss? [trailer] also hits screens today. Launched by TFM on 142 screens, the director of Change Of Address [trailer] finally enjoys a level of distribution that does justice to his original talent, thanks to a stellar cast that includes Virginie Ledoyen, Julie Gayet, Italian actor Stefano Accorsi and Michael Cohen.
Gaumont is making a bold move by releasing on 400 screens its production Big City by Djamel Bensalah, a western starring child actors. ARP Sélection are also releasing on 130 screens Anne-Marie Etienne’s Si c'était lui [trailer] (“If It Were Him”) starring Carole Bouquet; and Rezo Films are launching Marco Carmel’s debut feature Comme ton père (“Like Your Father”), starring Richard Berry, the hugely popular Gad Elmaleh and Yaël Abecassis.
The French contingent is rounded off with Virgil Vernier’s Chroniques de 2005 (“Chronicles of 2005”) and Florence Strauss’ documentary Le blues de l'Orient (“Oriental Blues”, released by Eurozoom on 7 screens).
European cinema will steal the show with the release of UK film Elizabeth: The Golden Age [trailer] by Shekhar Kapur starring Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen (StudioCanal, 172 screens) and the German feature Wolves in the Snow by Ann-Kristin Reyels (ASC Distribution, 5 screens) in a week where French exhibitors are hoping for a sharp increase in audience figures.
(Translated from French)