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BERLINALE Competition / UK

Frears’ dangerous liaisons in Chéri

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Frears’ dangerous liaisons in Chéri

Warm applause followed the official Competition screening at the Berlinale of the latest film by Stephen Frears, Chéri [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stephen Frears
film profile
]
, an adaptation of the Colette novel of 1920.

Twenty years after working together on Dangerous Liaisons, Frears teamed up once again with screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Atonement [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Michelle Pfeiffer, for a dramatic story that is nevertheless told with great verve. "It was all in the novel,” said the director, "There is great lightness, for example in the village secret, which is told as if it were a joke, although there is always an impending tragedy".

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In pre-WWI Paris, the famous and retired courtesan Lea (Pfeiffer) playfully begins a relationship with 19-year-old Fred, or Chéri, the son of a friend. The affair lasts six years, until the young man’s mother secretly arranges to marry him off to a young heiress. Only as their forced separation approaches do Lea and Chéri realize their true feelings for one another.

Following the international success of The Queen [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andy Harries
interview: Stephen Frears
film profile
]
, Frears placed his great storytelling talents to at the service of an emotional and human drama, reconstructed in abundant detail in the production design and beautiful costumes. And through precise sequences and an admirable sense of rhythm, he successfully transforms the painful drama of the passing of time and the end of a love affair into a brilliant ensemble piece.

Chéri, represented at Berlin by Pathé International, has already sold to over 30 territories, including Italy (01 Distribution), Scandinavia (Nordisk), Benelux (Lumière) and Australia (Icon). Pathé Distribution will release the film in the UK on March 27 and in France on April 8.

(Translated from Italian)

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