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PRODUCTION France

Jeanne Balibar filming Merveilles à Montfermeil

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- The actress-director is sharing the billing with Ramzy Bédia, Emmanuelle Béart and Mathieu Amalric in this feature that will be sold by Les Films du Losange

Jeanne Balibar filming Merveilles à Montfermeil
Actress-director Jeanne Balibar

Monday 28 May saw the start of the shoot for Merveilles à Montfermeil (lit. “Wonders in Montfermeil”), a madcap comedy that will be the second directorial feature by Jeanne Balibar (César Award and Lumières Award for Best Actress in 2018 for Barbara [+see also:
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]
, crowned Best Actress at San Sebastián in 1998; seen recently at Cannes in Cold War [+see also:
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Q&A: Pawel Pawlikowski
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]
), following Par exemple, Electre (which she co-directed with Pierre Léon). 

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The director is also appearing in front of the camera, flanked by Ramzy Bédia (giving a strong performance recently in CoeXister [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Emmanuelle Béart (nominated five times for the César Award for Best Actress between 1990 and 2001), Mathieu Amalric (César Award for Best Actor in 2005 and 2008, nominated in 2014; popular at Cannes last year in Barbara and Ismael’s Ghosts [+see also:
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Q&A: Arnaud Desplechin
film profile
]
, and in Sink or Swim [+see also:
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]
this year) and Bulle Ogier (whose long and meandering career has crossed paths with such names as Alain Tanner, Luis Buñuel, Jacques Rivette, Werner Schroeter, Barbet Schroeder and Marguerite Duras; nominated for the César Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2000 and 2008).

Also among the cast are Florence Loiret-Caille (nominated for the César Award for Most Promising Actress in 2010, giving an excellent performance in The Together Project [+see also:
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]
 and in the series Le Bureau des Légendes), Marlène Saldana (glimpsed in Sorry Angel [+see also:
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Q&A: Christophe Honoré
film profile
]
 and Sophie’s Misfortunes [+see also:
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]
), Philippe Katerine (very popular at Cannes in Sink or Swim and set to grace screens in September in Le Poulain), Switzerland’s Jean-Quentin Châtelain (The Red Collar [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Mounir Margoum (Par accident [+see also:
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]
), Denis Mpunga (Marguerite [+see also:
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interview: Xavier Giannoli
film profile
]
), Valérie Dréville (Suite Armoricaine [+see also:
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film profile
]
), François Chattot (The Starry Sky Above Me [+see also:
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trailer
film profile
]
) and Anthony Bajon (Best Actor at Berlin this year for The Prayer [+see also:
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interview: Cédric Kahn
film profile
]
).

The story, written by the director, revolves around Joëlle (Balibar) and Kamel Mrabti (Bédia), key members of staff for Montfermeil's new mayor, Emmanuelle Joly (Béart) - but the couple is also in the process of divorcing. The whole staff is working together on the implementation of a wacky new policy that features the creation of the Montfermeil Intensive School of Languages, where seven of the 62 languages spoken in this town on the outskirts of Paris will be taught. Other measures include how to slow down the pace of city life, the art of the siesta, the development of population movement, sexual satisfaction support, restructuring the local trade in marijuana/vegetable baskets, teaching Mathematics in Arabic in kindergarten, and fruit-tree grafting in Bondy forest. The policy is a great success and effectively revitalises the town, but life is no less complicated for the mayor's staff. Joëlle and Kamel are at war with each other and are each in love with mysterious blind dates. The mayor is headed for a nervous breakdown; her secretary tires herself out learning Malian Mandinka out of love. What's more, shadowy traitors in the administration are seeking to sabotage Ms Joly's good work. Suspicions fall on Kamel...

Produced by Mathieu Amalric for Film(s) and by Marine Marignac (Pastorale Productions), Merveilles à Montfermeil has secured an advance on receipts from the CNC. The shoot will take place from 28 May-7 July, with Jeanne Lapoirie in charge of the cinematography. The feature will be distributed in France and sold overseas by Les Films du Losange.

(Translated from French)

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