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VENICE 2008 Selection / France

Strong French contingent at Venice

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From Claire Denis to Agnès Varda, not to mention Philippe Grandrieux, Arnaud Des Pallieres, Fabrice Du Welz, Sylvie Verheyde and Samuel Collardey: French films are out in force in the different sections of the 65th Venice Film Festival, which opens today. The strong presence includes six productions and co-productions competing for the Golden Lion (see news). French sellers also boast an impressive number of titles in competition (see news).

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Out of competition, Marco Muller has selected Claire Denis35 Rhums [+see also:
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, co-produced by France (Soudaine Compagnie, Arte France Cinéma) and Germany (Pandora) and starring Mati Diop, Alex Descas and Grégoire Colin. The feature – which focuses on father-daughter relations – received backing from the Ile-de-France region and Eurimages and is being sold internationally by Elle Driver.

Also screening out of competition is Fabrice Du Welz’s Vinyan [+see also:
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(see news), starring Emmanuelle Béart and Rufus Sewell. The title is co-produced by France, Britain and Belgium (The Film, Film 4, K2, One Eyed in association with Backup Films) and sold by Wild Bunch. In the same section is Agnès Varda’s documentary Les Plages d’Agnès [+see also:
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(“Agnes’ Beaches”), produced by Cine Tamaris, co-produced by Arte France Cinéma and sold by Roissy Films.

The Horizons section will open with minority French co-production Pa-Ra-Da [+see also:
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by Italy’s Marco Pontecorvo and starring Jalil Lespert (co-produced by Yalla Films). Also on the line-up are Arnaud Des PallieresPark [+see also:
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, starring Sergi Lopez and Jean-Marc Barr (produced by Les Films d’Ici, co-produced by France 3 Cinéma and Rhône-Alpes Cinéma; sold by Films Distribution); and Philippe Grandrieux’s Un lac [+see also:
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(“A Lake”, co-produced by Mandrake Films, Arte France Cinéma and Rhône-Alpes Cinéma).

The programme also includes Puisque nous sommes nés [+see also:
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(“As We Are Born”) by directorial duo Jean-Pierre Duret and Andréa Santana (produced by Ex Nihilo, co-produced by Kissfilms and Mikros Image; sold by Umedia); and documentaries Z32 by Israel’s Avi Mograbi (produced by Les Films d'Ici and backed by the National Film Centre (CNC) with an advance on receipts) and the remarkable L’Exil et le royaume (“Exile and the Kingdom”) by young directors Andrei Schtakleff and Jonathan Le Fourn (produced by Château-Rouge and co-produced by Red Star Cinéma), which centres on illegal immigrants in Calais.

Venice Critics’ Week will unveil Samuel Collardey’s L’Apprenti [+see also:
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(“The Apprentice”, produced by Les Productions Lazennec); and Kabuli Kid by Afghan director Barmak Akram (who has lived in France since the age of 15), produced by Fidélité Films and sold internationally by Wild Bunch.

Finally, Sylvie Verheyde’s Stella [+see also:
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(produced by Les Films du Veyrier, co-produced by Arte France Cinéma and sold by Films Distribution) will screen in the Venice Days section, alongside minority French co-productions Country Teacher [+see also:
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interview: Bohdan Slama
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by Czech director Bohdan Sláma (co-produced by Why Not Productions and sold by Wild Bunch) and Hooked [+see also:
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interview: Adrian Sitaru
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by Romania’s Adrian Sitaru (co-produced by Arte and sold by Rezo).

The three other European titles on the Venice Days line-up are being sold by French sales companies. These include Finnish director Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää’s The Visitor [+see also:
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(Wild Bunch); Vinko Möderndorfer’s Slovenian/Serbian co-production Landscape No.2 [+see also:
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(Wide Management); and Patrice Toye’s Belgian/Dutch/Norwegian/Luxembourg feature Nowhere Man [+see also:
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(Funny Balloons).

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(Translated from French)

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