Frot-Dupontel form dynamic duo in The Villain
by Fabien Lemercier
25/11/2009 - Six European productions figure among the 13 new releases hitting French theatres today.
These include Italian director Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere [trailer, film focus] (Ad Vitam, 72 screens) and Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch [trailer] (see news), which have met with an enthusiastic response from critics.
But this week’s quirky offering is Albert Dupontel’s fourth feature, The Villain [trailer], which is full of his farcical, jarring humour. It stars the director and the outstanding, highly popular actress Catherine Frot (five nominations for the Best Actress Cesar over the last ten years, including three in a row since 2007 for The Page Turner [trailer, film focus], Odette Toulemonde [trailer] and Crime Is Our Business [trailer]), who was aged 40 years for the role.
Continuing his unusual career as an actor-director, which began in 1997 with two Cesar nominations for Best Supporting Actor (for Jacques Audiard’s A Self-Made Hero) and Best Debut Feature (Bernie), Dupontel (twice nominated since for the Best Actor Cesar for Sachs’ Disease in 2002 and Love Me No More [trailer] in 2009) plays a bank robber who takes refuge at his elderly mother’s house in The Villain.
But his mother (Frot) does everything to get him back on the straight and narrow in a mother-son confrontation that escalates into violence, with savage humour and dynamism very much inspired by cartoons and silent cinema. The cast also includes Belgian actor Bouli Lanners and Nicolas Marié.
The Villain (written by Dupontel) was produced by ADCB Films. The €7m budget included co-production support from France 2 Cinéma and StudioCanal. The latter is releasing the film domestically on 335 screens, as well as handling international sales.
Also hitting theatres today are Eric Valette’s compelling French thriller State Affairs [trailer], starring Rachida Brakni, André Dussollier and Thierry Frémont (see news - Mars Distribution, 138 screens); and two documentaries: Masculine Domination by Belgium’s Patric Jean (produced by Elzévir - UGC Distribution, 41 screens); and Himalaya: Path to the Sky by Marianne Chaud (ZED - one screen).
(Translated from French)