Claire Simon enters Les bureaux de Dieu
by Fabien Lemercier
05/11/2007 - The seven-week filming schedule for Claire Simon’s third feature, Les bureaux de Dieu (“The Offices of God”), began on October 22 and is currently underway in Paris.
Having alternated between documentaries and highly realistic narrative films since the beginning of her career, the director has this time chosen to focus on a family planning centre where young girls and women come to inform themselves about a choice they have or want to make, rather than it being imposed upon them: about their sexual freedom and the decision whether or not to have children.
The film stars Nathalie Baye, Isabelle Carré, Nicole Garcia, Béatrice Dalle, Lolita Chammah, Rachida Brakni, Michel Boujenah and Emmanuel Mouret, as well as non-professional actors.
Co-written by the director, Natalia Rodriguez and Nadège Tréba, the screenplay describes the day-to-day functioning of the centre and the way in which, following consultations and discussions, each woman’s decision unfolds.
The story revolves around the meetings with the relationship counsellors, who listen and inform with conviction, even militantism. These roles are played by the well-known actresses while the girls and women seeking advice are portrayed by non-professionals making their acting debuts.
Born in Britain and a former ethnology student specialised in Arab and Berber communities, Simon attracted attention in 1995 with the documentary Coûte que coûte (“No Matter What”) before making her first feature, A Foreign Body, inspired by the true story of a woman who dreamt up her own pregnancy, which screened at Cannes 1997 in the French Cinema section.
Produced by Richard Copans for Les Films d'Ici and co-produced by Philippe Carcassonne for Ciné @, along with Belgian company La Parti Production, Les bureaux has an advance on receipts of €450,000 from the National Centre for Cinematography (CNC) and pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma.
Shellac will distribute the film in France in the second half of 2008 after an appearance on the Croisette perhaps, and international sales are still under negotiation.
(Translated from French)