Cazalé plays safe-breaker in Mensch
by Fabien Lemercier
This noir thriller stars up-and-coming actor Nicolas Cazalé (Shooting Star 2008 - see interview), who recently won acclaim for his performance in The Grocer’s Son [trailer]. The cast also includes Claude Brasseur, Pierre Bénichou, Anne Alvaro, Evelyne Bouix and Anthony Delon.
Co-written by the director and Stéphane Cabel (Brotherhood of the Wolf), the film centres on Sam Hazak (Cazalé), who belongs to a family of Jewish shopkeepers in the Faubourg Montmartre area of Paris. Refusing to work in the family business, Sam becomes a notorious safebreaker. But despite his talent, he finds life difficult.
He pretends to his family that he is a property developer, but nobody is fooled, least of all his grandfather, an old-school "mensch" ("good person" in Yiddish). Sam is asked by one of the area’s old bosses to take part in a robbery at a diamond merchant’s. The break-in could be very profitable and enable Sam to retire before his nine-year-old son starts asking too many questions about his father.
Mensch is produced by Laurent Pétin for ARP, who will also handle domestic distribution and international sales. The title will be made for around €3.8m, which includes pre-sales from Canal + and backing from the Ile-de-France region.
The six-week shoot will take place mainly in Paris and the surrounding area, with two days of filming in Nice.
(Translated from French)