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VENICE 2007 Competition / France

Zonca’s Julia to compete for Lion

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Zonca’s Julia to compete for Lion

News surrounding the potential entries at the 64th Venice Film Festival (August 29 – September 8) is firming up two weeks from the July 26 press conference.

According to information communicated to Cineuropa, Eric Rohmer’s Les Amours d'Astrée et de Céladon will take part in competition as expected (see news July 2, 2007), while Claude Chabrol’s La fille coupée en deux will screen out-of-competition on the Lido. Also among the French entries that will be competing for the Golden Lion statue is Erick Zonca’s Julia.

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After his sensational debut feature The Dreamlife of Angels (Best Actress at Cannes 1998, three wins at the 1999 Cesars for Best Actress, Best Film and Most Promising Actress and the Discovery of the Year Prize at the 1998 European Film Awards), Zonca has now made his comeback with Julia.

Filmed in English in California and Mexico, the film starring London actress Tilda Swinton (Best Actress at Venice 1991) is based on a story co-written by the director and Aude Py with the collaboration of Irish writer Michael Collins.

Julia is a 40 year-old seductress and loudmouth who is finding it increasingly difficult to hide her alcoholism. Out of her depth, she turns up at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. There she encounters a young Mexican woman who can no longer see her son. Eager to help out, Julia agrees to kidnap the woman’s eight year-old boy. Despite the sudden disappearance of the young woman, the 40 year-old succeeds in the kidnapping but gets caught up in an infernal spiral and frantically escapes to Mexico, with the child’s grandfather hot on their heels.

Produced by François Marquis for Les Productions Bagheera, the €6.51m Julia was backed by France 3 Cinéma (€1.1m), a French co-production by Le Bureau and Belgian funding from the Motion Investment Group (10.5%) and pre-sales from Canal+. StudioCanal, who is managing international sales, will handle the film’s French release on November 14.

A Venice regular with 2001’s Deep Breath (Special Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Prize in the Cinema of the Present section) and Morasseix (Special Event screening at Venice Days 2004), and acclaimed at Cannes (After We’re Gone at the 2004 Directors’ Fortnight), Damien Odoul will also participate at the Venice Festival with his fifth feature: L'Histoire de Richard O. (see article February 16, 2007) in a section yet to be named.

Starring Mathieu Amalric, the film explores an erotic summer quest in Paris. A small budget production by the director’s own outfit D.O.Films in association with Wild Bunch (who is also handling world sales), L'Histoire de Richard O. was scored by avant-garde hip-hop artist Buck 65.

Bac Films will release the title in French cinemas on September 19.

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(Translated from French)

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