Comme une étoile dans la nuit shines among 16 new releases
A tidal wave of 16 new releases hits French theatres today, including ten French features that risk “cannibalising” each other. This situation may, in the long-term, lead disappointed distributors to reconsider the potential of the summer period, which remains relatively low on film releases.
In the shadow of US blockbuster Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (launched by Paramount on 931 screens), Etienne Chatiliez’s French comedy Agathe Cléry [+see also:
film profile] is being released by Pathé Distribution on a generous print-run of 500. Hopes are being pinned on the popularity of the film’s star, Valérie Lemercier, as a way to attract audiences, given the half-hearted press backing for a director who would like to recover his former box office success (Life Is a Long Quiet River, Happiness Is in the Field, Tanguy).
Won over by Fred Cavayé’s Anything for Her [+see also:
film profile] (Mars Distribution - 272 screens), critics have been particularly full of praise for René Féret’s Comme une étoile dans la nuit [+see also:
film profile] (“Like A Star In the Night”). Based on the real-life experiences of the director’s niece, the film – starring Salomé Stévenin and Nicolas Giraud – traces the drama of a couple who are expecting a baby when the husband discovers he has Hodgkin’s disease.
This work on the edge of life and death is produced and distributed (on 45 screens) by the director’s companies (Les Films Alyne and JML Distribution). Made for €1m, the feature – which was not pre-bought by any television network – received backing from the Ile-de-France region and a post-production advance on receipts from the National Film Centre (CNC).
There has also been an enthusiastic press response for Welcome Home [+see also:
film profile], the debut narrative feature by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, who won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2002. Released by Rezo on 13 screens, the film – starring Robinson Stévenin and Fanny Valette (Shooting star 2006) – looks at the difficult rehabilitation of a criminal who has served 13 years in prison.
Produced for €2.8m by Maha Productions and Ciné @, Welcome Home was co-produced by France 2 Cinéma and Rhône-Alpes Cinéma. The title also received pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma, an advance on receipts from the CNC and backing from the Ile-de-France region.
Two films that lie halfway between fiction and documentary also merit a trip to the cinema. These are Samuel Collardey’s L'apprenti [+see also:
film profile] (“The Apprentice”), which won an award at the 2008 Venice Critics’ Week (produced by Les Productions Lazennec for €820,000 with backing from Arte France Cinéma - TFM Distribution on 33 screens); and I Want to See [+see also:
film profile] by Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, which was lauded in the Un Certain Regard section at the latest Cannes Festival and stars Catherine Deneuve (Mille et Une Productions - distributed by Shellac on 22 screens).
Also hitting screens this Wednesday are Franck Llopis’ Paris Nord Sud (“Paris North South”, Les films à Fleur de Peau - six screens); the restored version of Max Ophuls’ Lola Montes (Sophie Dulac Distribution - 9 screens); Lasse Persson’s Swedish animated film Laban the Little Ghost: Spooky Time (Les Films du Préau - 39 screens); and three documentaries each released on five screens: Benjamin Marquet’s Lads and Jockeys (Les Films du Losange), Benoît Rossel’s The Operating Theatre (Jour2Fête) and Italian director Agostino Ferrente’s The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio (Eurozoom).
(Translated from French)
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