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René Féret fires up Anton Tchekhov (L’île de Sakhaline)

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- Shooting is under way for the title starring Nicolas Giraud, Lolita Chammah, Sabrina Seyvecou, Jacques Bonnaffé, Robinson Stévenin and Frédéric Pierrot

René Féret fires up Anton Tchekhov (L’île de Sakhaline)
René Féret

Having kicked off on 26 February with two days at the theatre of the French National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Paris, shooting for Anton Tchekhov (L’île de Sakhaline) by René Féret is set to continue from 24 March onwards in the Limousin, Alsace and Noirmoutier regions, according to our sources. For his 18th feature film, the talented independent (self-producing and self-distributing) filmmaker, who was recently praised for Comme une étoile dans la nuit [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2008), Nannerl [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2010), Madame Solario [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2012) and The Film to Come [+see also:
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
(2013), has assembled a cast including Nicolas Giraud (recently popular for his role in See the Sea [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
),
Lolita Chammah (Farewell My Queen [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Benoît Jacquot
film profile
]
and soon to be appearing in Gaby Baby Doll [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Sabrina Seyvecou (Family Tree [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Jacques Bonnaffé (appearing on screens from 23 April in Je m'appelle Hmmm... [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
), Robinson Stévenin, Xavier Martel and Frédéric Pierrot (who was nominated for the César for Best Supporting Actor in 2012 for Poliss [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Maïwenn
film profile
]
, and who will play Leo Tolstoy in Féret’s film).

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Written by the director himself, the screenplay covers a period of two years and revisits an episode in the life of Anton Chekhov. The reputed 29-year-old short-story writer is faced with a dilemma: should he continue writing or be a doctor (his actual occupation)? And how can he become a great author like Tolstoy, whom he meets and greatly admires? His friends, the wealthy publisher Aleksei Suvorin and the painter Isaac Levitan, also feature in the story. However, the untimely death of one of his brothers unleashes an extraordinary crisis of conscience in Chekhov. Remembering a discussion he had with his late brother about the conditions in Russian prisons, Anton decides to go to Sakhalin, an island situated just north of Japan that is populated by 10,000 prisoners. In this way, he hopes to pay his dues to the medical profession, but his decision is also a way of escaping problems of the heart. After an incredible, all-weather journey – by car, on horseback and by boat – lasting 92 days, he reaches Sakhalin and begins to quiz the prisoners, gradually uncovering the true hell that exists there, fed by moral and physical suffering, prostitution, abuse and executions...

Produced by Les Films Alyne, Anton Tchekhov (L’île de Sakhaline) is benefitting from an advance on receipts from the CNC and from the support of the Limousin region, among other backing. Shooting is set to continue until 10 May. Distribution in France will be handled by JML and international sales reportedly by Wide.

(Translated from French)

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