Akerman shoots Almayer’s Folly
by Fabien Lemercier
The final leg of shooting is underway in Cambodia on Chantal Akerman’s French/Belgian co-production Almayer’s Folly, adapted from the Joseph Conrad novel. It is the director’s first narrative feature since Tomorrow We Move (Berlinale Panorama 2004).
The cast stars Stanislas Merhar (who won the Best Male Newcomer Cesar in 1998 for Dry Cleaning and previously worked with Akerman on The Captive), young actress Aurora Marion (born to a Greek father and Belgian/Rwandan mother) and Marc Barbé (Silent Voices [+see also:
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Penned by the director-screenwriter, the film traces the decline of Almayer, a young Dutchman who has gone to Malaysia in search of pirate treasure. Hired by the pirate king, he marries his daughter, but despite his luck, he doesn’t abandon his goal which soon turns into a destructive dream.
The film is set in a Malaysia under foreign occupation, where revolt is brewing as it is pretty much everywhere, in a small remote village, far from everything and seemingly removed from the great events of history. It is also set on a wide and turbulent river which will play an important role in a story that blends passion and dreams, racism and money, desire for independence and cowardice, but is above all about a father’s love for his daughter.
This mad and boundless love will lead Almayer to his definitive downfall. He will end up a king of tragedy, mad and almost blind beneath the unrelenting sun.
Produced by Patrick Quinet for Liaison Cinématographique and Belgian company Paradise Films (which has joined forces on the project with Artémis Productions), Almayer’s Folly has received a €350,000 advance on receipts from the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC), €465,000 in backing from the Belgian French Community Film and Audiovisual Centre, and pre-acquisitions from Canal + and CinéCinéma.
Having kicked off on November 10, shooting will wrap on December 24. French distribution will be managed by Shellac, while international sales are still under negotiation.
(Translated from French)