Female-led stories take centre stage on the cinema line-ups
by Fabien Lemercier
- The Kindergarten Teacher, Gemma Bovery and Miss Julie hit screens in the wake of a bumper August for theatres
The summer has been very kind to attendance levels in French movie theatres, according to estimates by the CNC. With 19.83 million admissions taken, August recorded a rise of 33.3% over the same period in 2013. This new record (these are actually the best figures for August since 1980, when monthly statistics began to be measured) has enabled the total admissions for the first eight months of 2014 to reach 142.11 million (+14,4% compared to the period January-August 2013), achieving a market share of 46.2% for French films, as against 45.9% for US productions.
This Wednesday, ten new releases will be attempting to ride this hugely successful wave at a box office that is still being dominated by Luc Besson’s Lucy [+see also:
film profile] (4.48 million admissions in France over 33 days - EuropaCorp Distribution) and that has recorded a decent first week for Hippocrates [+see also:
interview: Thomas Lilti
film profile] by Thomas Lilti (read the interview – distributed by Le Pacte).
Today marks the release of several features whose plots revolve around female characters. For example, the critics have got very excited about The Kindergarten Teacher [+see also:
film profile] by Nadav Lapid, unveiled at a Special Screening at the Cannes Critics’ Week, and produced 50-50 by Israel and France (courtesy of Haut et Court, which is handling the French release across 51 screens, and Arte France Cinéma).
There have also been good reviews of the clever comedy Gemma Bovery [+see also:
film profile] by Anne Fontaine (read the review in French), which is a modern take on Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and is based on a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds. Played to perfection by British actress Gemma Arterton and French actor Fabrice Luchini, the film, which has just been screened as a Special Presentation at Toronto, is being distributed by Gaumont in 350 cinemas.
So, an adaptation of a literary classic, top-notch performances and a world premiere at Toronto: these characteristics also apply to Miss Julie [+see also:
interview: Liv Ullmann
film profile] by Liv Ullmann, released by Pretty Pictures in 80 theatres. Starring American actress Jessica Chastain, Irish actor Colin Farrell and English actress Samantha Morton, this successful adaptation of the novel of the same name by August Strindberg is a co-production between Norway, the UK, Ireland and France.
On a more iconoclastic note, Ad Vitam is distributing NDE (Near Death Experience) [+see also:
film profile] by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern across 50 screens. The film stars author Michel Houellebecq in the lead and was revealed recently in the Orizzonti selection of the Venice Film Festival (read the review).
Lastly of note are the releases of ADN, l'âme de la terre by Thierry Obadia (distributed by Spider World Cinema), So long by Bruno Mercier (Destiny), and the documentaries Les gens du Monde by Yves Jeuland (shown as an Official Selection Special Screening at Cannes – distributed by Rezo Films) and On a grevé by Denis Gheerbrandt (Zeugma Films).
(Translated from French)