Téchiné’s Venice-set Unforgivable hits screens
by Fabien Lemercier
Launched in theatres today by UGC Distribution, André Téchiné’s French/Italian co-production Unforgivable [+see also:
film profile] was unveiled in this year’s Cannes Directors’ Fortnight (see review). It’s also an opportunity for the seasoned director to conjure up the city of Venice which serves as the setting for this commissioned film adapted from a novel by Philippe Djian and starring André Dussollier, Carole Bouquet, Mélanie Thierry and Adriana Asti.
"The power of this city is a drug. Moreover, I’d already made several attempts at writing screenplays whose plot was set in Venice. But it didn’t work. Venice was overused as a setting in them, a setting laden with the well-known mythology" explained Téchiné.
"This time, when reading the novel, it was very straightforward: since Judith was an estate agent and Francis a writer, she would have her agency in Venice (I’d noticed that the city is full of them) and he would settle there to write. The city thus belonged to the characters. It was connected to their work. It became a living environment and no longer a setting around which I had previously tried to construct a story." For the central characters, "Venice is considered at the outset as a city of refuge against all that is bad in the world, but we’ll see that this place of withdrawal is not immune to the world’s violence."
As a matter of interest, Téchiné also set up a statue of Poseidon straight out of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt: "It comes from there, but firstly from Naples, Pompeii and Cinecittà. It’s Journey to Italy and Contempt. The relationship between couples and the dialogue with Italy. But I think that this statue really has its place in Venice with relation to Greece and the maritime nature of the city. That’s the Venice I love. So I asked my set designer to go and look for that statue at Cinecittà and I planted it there."
But the major attraction among this Wednesday’s new releases is flamboyant Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s former Cannes competition contender The Skin I Live In [+see also:
interview: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile] (distributed by Pathé Films). Meanwhile, also fresh from the Croisette is Brit helmer Michael Radford’s French/German/Italian documentary Michel Petrucciani [+see also:
film profile] (Happiness Distribution).
(Translated from French)
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