French films out in force
by Fabien Lemercier
The six majority French productions in official competition include works by directors who have competed at Cannes on previous occasions, such as Jean-Marie and Arnaud Larrieu (To Paint or Make Love [trailer, film focus], 2005), Bertrand Bonello (Tiresia, 2003) and Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski, who between 1972 and 1989 was in competition five times, winning the Grand Jury Prize in 1978 and in 1982 the Best Screenplay Award.
The Larrieu brothers’ fourth feature, Le voyage aux Pyrénées [trailer] (“Journey to the Pyrenees”) stars Sabine Azema and Jean-Pierre Darroussin. Produced by Soudaine Compagnie, the film is being sold internationally by Celluloid Dreams.
Selected last year in the Cannes Festival Workshop, Bonello’s fourth feature, On War [trailer], stars Mathieu Amalric, Asia Argento, Guillaume Depardieu, Clothilde Hesme and Michel Piccoli. Produced by Les Films du lendemain and My New Picture for €2.62m, the film received a €450,000 advance on receipts from the National Film Centre (CNC) and pre-sales from Canal + and TPS. The title will be sold internationally by Films Distribution.
Skolimowski’s majority French production Four Nights With Anna [trailer] (see news) was piloted by Alfama Films and made on a budget of €1.86m, including €150,000 from the CNC foreign-language film fund. International sales are being handled by new French company Elle Driver.
Claire Simon – a Directors’ Fortnight regular – will unveil her third feature: Les Bureaux de Dieu [trailer] (“God’s Offices”, see news). The title – produced by Les Films d’Ici in co-production with Ciné @ and La Parti Production (Belgium) – was made for €1.75m, including an advance on receipts from the CNC and pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma. Sales are being handled by the newly-founded German company Films Boutique.
After competing in the Un Certain Regard section in 2006 with Back Home, this year Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche (see interview) will present his third feature: Dernier Maquis [trailer] (“Last Maquis”) at Cannes. The film was produced by Sarrazink – the Algerian-born director’s own company – for a budget of €1.74m, without any television pre-sales. The title is being sold internationally by Umedia.
Finally, French production will be represented by Nicola Sornaga’s Monsieur Morimoto (Tricycle Production). This is the director’s second feature, following Le dernier des immobiles (“The Last of the Motionless”) which was unveiled at the Venice Film Festival in 2003.
French co-productions include Belgian titles Free Student [trailer, film focus] by Joachim Lafosse (Mact Productions) and Eldorado [trailer] by Bouli Lanners (co-produced by Lazennec with an advance on receipts from the CNC).
France also co-produced Our Beloved Month of August [trailer] by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes (Shellac-Sud); Liverpool by Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso (Slot Machine); Salamandra [trailer] by fellow Argentinean director Pablo Aguero (JBA Productions); the Iranian film Lonely Tune of Tehran (DreamLab Films); and the Philippine feature Now Showing (co-produced by Atopic/Third Home and FID Marseille).
(Translated from French)