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VENICE 2005 Out of competition

Podalydes the magician

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Lightly perfumed but sophisticated, Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir drifted over the Lido leaving laughter (rare since the start of la Mostra) in its wake, and revealing to the international press the laid-back style of the French director Bruno Podalydes. Presented out of competition, the 4th feature from the director also pleased his regulars once more with a quality film that is even better than Mystère de la chambre jaune (2003), the previous adaptation of the work by Gaston Leroux and directed by the filmmaker. Gathering the same wild cast, notably Denis Podalydes (Bruno’s brother) , Sabine Azema, Belgian Olivier Gourmet, Michael Lonsdale, Pierre Arditi and featuring a Jean-Noël Brouté worthy in the company of the best actors, Le Parfum... this time introduces into its troupe Vincent Elbaz and an invigorating Zabou Breitman.

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Setting the story mostly in a fort (turned holiday home) perched above the Mediterranean where the 11 protagonists are staying, this new case for detective Rouletabille benefits from strong visuals possibilities (with DoP Christophe Beaucarne at the lever), in comings and goings and burlesque twists and turns. Among others we find magicians and hypnotists, a solar energy sub, dead people appearing and disappearing in bizarre fashion, a door ripped by cannonball and a scene with a cascading series of falling objects and reactions. As Sabine Azéma underlined, "Bruno Podalydes invents games, absurd ideas, funny and bizarre which demand that we take nothing seriously". Stuffed with gags, the film uses as pretext the popular paperback police story by Gaston Leroux, written in 1908, to make a joyous adventure story which plunges the spectator back into the playful pleasures of childhood.

Produced by Why Not, Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir had a budget of 8,06 million euros, including an investment of 760 000 euros from France 2 Cinéma, and support from the Paca région and pre-sales from Canal + and TPS. Sold internationally by Celluloïd Dreams, it will be released in France next Wednesday.

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(Translated from French)

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