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PRODUCTION Germany / France

Élie Chouraqui wraps the shoot for L'Origine de la violence


- The French director shot most parts of his new movie in Germany

Élie Chouraqui wraps the shoot for L'Origine de la violence
Miriam Stein and Stanley Weber in a still from L'Origine de la violence

After 30 days of shooting, French writer/director Élie Chouraqui (Harrison’s Flower, Les menteurs, Man on Fire) has wrapped the production of his new drama, L'Origine de la violence [+see also:
film profile
, which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by French author Fabrice Humbert. The story kicks off with a French teacher (Stanley Weber) taking his students to the German cultural hotspot of Weimar, where he falls in love with a young woman (Miriam Stein). When they visit the former concentration camp at Buchenwald, he spots a man in a photo who looks an awful lot like his father (Richard Berry). Back in Paris, he starts to do some research and uncovers an old family secret: his real grandfather (Michel Galabru) was betrayed by his family and deported by the Nazis.

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“This is a story of hope,” says the German producer, Alfred Hürmer. “The protagonist discovers his real identity and falls in love with a young woman.” The movie stars French actors such as Michel Bouquet and Catherine Samie, who agreed to work for a small fee because they wanted to be in Chouraqui’s new picture. “They really liked the script,” stresses the German producer, who managed to get support from the MDM, the German Federal Film Fund and the Mini-Treaty. The €3.3 million German-French co-production received further cash from the CNC and a private investor in France, as well as via crowdfunding.

Most of the movie was shot in and around the German city of Weimar, where the team found the perfect locations and landscapes – which also served as the settings for some of the scenes that take place in Normandy, France. “We discovered a manor that our production designer, Albrecht Konrad, used for the protagonist’s apartment, the flat of the father, as well as a country house in Normandy,” explains Hürmer. In terms of the look of the film, one of the major challenges was that the story takes place during three different time periods. Due to the short production schedule, DoP Dominique Gérard shot most of the movie with two cameras. Instead of long dolly shots, the crew used a lot of Steadicam, which was operated by Stéphane Chollet. “This method required Chouraqui to plan the scenes far in advance.”

The producer expects the picture lock to be completed by mid-December. In Germany, L'Origine de la violence will be released by Arsenal, but the producers have not yet closed any world sales deals. The film is expected to be presented at an international festival in 2015.

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