In Vivo Films takes Abou Leila to Cannes
by Fabien Lemercier
- The young, French company based in La Rochelle is a minority co-producer of the work by Algerian director, Amin Sidi-Boumédiène, which is set to be showcased in Cannes’ Critics’ Week
Now that’s what you call a rapid ascent! After its first foray into full-length films with the coproduction Thirst Street [+see also:
interview: Nathan Silver
film profile] by Nathan Silver, young French firm In Vivo Films, based in La Rochelle and headed up by Louise Bellicaud and Claire Charles-Gervais, is set to attend the 58th edition of Critics’ Week (which will run from 15 to 23 May as part of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival) with Abou Leila [+see also:
film profile] tucked under its arm - the film by Algerian director, Amin Sidi-Boumédiène, which is set to premiere worldwide in competition.
"This is the first co-production between Algeria and France where the majority partner is Algerian, even if the stakes are pretty much equal", explains Claire Charles-Gervais. "We met with the director and his producers, Fayçal Hammoum and Yacine Bouaziz (Thala Films), four years ago in Locarno, in the Open Doors sidebar of the festival, then the project was selected in 2016 for the Cinéfondation Atelier at the Cannes Film Festival. On the French side, Abou Leila benefitted from support from the CNC’s Aide aux Cinémas du Monde fund, from the Nouvelle Aquitaine region and from the French department of Charente-Maritime. The six weeks of filming took place in November and December in Algiers and in southern Algeria, before wrapping in January following a two-day studio shoot in La Rochelle".
Featuring on the cast of this first full-length film by Amin Sidi-Boumédiène are Slimane Benouari, Lyes Salem, Azouz Abdelkader, Fouad Megiraga, Meryem Medjkane, Hocine Mokhtar and Samir El Hakim. Written by the director himself, the story plunges the viewer into Algeria as it was in 1994. Two childhood friends, S. and Lotfi, are crossing the desert looking for Abou Leila, a dangerous terrorist. Their mission seems absurd given that the Sahara region hadn’t yet been affected by the wave of attacks taking place at the time. But S., whose mental health is failing, is convinced they’ll find Abou Leila there. Lotfi, for his part, has only one thought in mind: to keep S. far away from the capital. The two friends move deeper into the desert…
Of particular interest here is the cinematography which comes courtesy of Japanese national, Kanamé Onoyama, and the fact that the director is also credited with the film’s editing. Abou Leila will be sold worldwide by the German firm, Films Boutique (a subsidiary of the French group, Playtime).
(Translated from French)
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