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RELEASES Belgium

The battle of the comedies

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The battle of the comedies

It’s back to business as usual after the quiet Easter period.

The task will be an arduous one for Belga Film, who are releasing Les Randonneurs à Saint Tropez (“Walkers in Saint Tropez”). Lazennec Productions must have been pleased with the success of its predecessor in 2001, as they backed the sequel.

Directed by Philippe Harel, the film once again stars Benoît Poelvoorde, Karin Viard and Géraldine Pailhas, and the action picks up where it left off, or almost. The hiking tourists get together ten years later to sample the pleasures of the Var coast.

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This is a winning formula in itself, but the glut of French comedies that have been gracing Belgian screens for the past two months could disadvantage the Randonneurs sequel.

The highly publicised release of Asterix at the Olympic Games [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
threatened to overshadow other French comedies. However, it is the phenomenal success of Welcome to the Land of Shtis [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(the biggest French hit ever at the Belgian box office with over 825,000 admissions, thus outperforming Asterix) that begs the question: Is there room in Belgian theatres for four popular French comedies released almost simultaneously?

The box office results for Fabien Onteniente’s Disco are not as catastrophic as might have been feared, but are only just respectable. A lukewarm critical reception combined with unenthusiastic word-of-mouth have not helped the film’s fortunes.

As for arthouse films, Robert Guédiguian has directed his favourite actors in Lady Jane [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the Marseilles-born director’s first foray into the thriller genre.

Another noteworthy release is the latest creation from the Makhmalbaf family, Le Cahier [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(“The Exercise Book”), by the youngest daughter, 20-year-old Hana. The film, produced by Wild Bunch (who previously worked with the family co-producing Samira Makhmalbaf’s At Five in the Afternoon and Marziyeh Makhmalbaf’s Stray Dogs), won the Crystal Bear at the latest Berlinale and the Grand Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

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(Translated from French)

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