Mars releases Wolf Totem in 383 theatres
by Fabien Lemercier
- The adventure film shot in China by Jean-Jacques Annaud is creating quite the buzz; Hungry Hearts and A 14 ans are also hitting screens
A world-cinema heavyweight is arriving on the cinema listings today in the form of Jean-Jacques Annaud, as his 12th feature film, the Chinese-French production Wolf Totem [+see also:
film profile], is being distributed by Mars Distribution across 383 screens. Seldom praised by the critics and having remained somewhat in the shadows for the last decade, the director of The Name of the Rose, Quest for Fire, The Lover and Seven Years in Tibet is making a daring and highly accomplished comeback within the animal kingdom, in which he already demonstrated his prowess with The Bear in 1988 (9.1 million admissions in France and 7.99 million in the USA) and the tigers that featured in Two Brothers (3.3 million viewers in France in 2004).
Involving a total of 480 crewmembers, 200 horses, almost 1,000 sheep, 25 wolves, and the 50 or so animal trainers needed to take care of them, Wolf Totem used all the means necessary to bring this splendid adventure film to fruition – a movie that also saw a French filmmaker immerse himself in the country of China, an El Dorado that has made him the envy of every film-industry professional around the world. “I see China more as a possible partner for France than a rival,” stresses Jean-Jacques Annaud. “The competition in China is American, and it’s not of the highest quality. The Hollywood movies that have access to what will go on to become the biggest film market in the world in years to come are those standardised blockbusters that are in line with predictable ideas and globalised visuals. The Chinese industry professionals are hungry for more varied exchanges. The film industry in modern-day China makes me think back to Italy in the 1960s, that great, epic era of the spaghetti western, when the machine of churning out low-quality productions simply to generate more admissions rubbed shoulders with a high-flying form of cinema pioneered by great creators.”
Also hitting screens today is a French feature debut that has made rather a big splash and delves very realistically to the heart of adolescence: A 14 ans [+see also:
film profile] by Hélène Zimmer (read the article – Ad Vitam in 27 cinemas).
Also of note are the 58 copies of Hungry Hearts [+see also:
interview: Saverio Costanzo
film profile] by Italy’s Saverio Costanzo (read the review and the interview with the director) being released by Bac Films; for the record, the movie allowed the director’s fellow countrywoman Alba Rohrwacher and US actor Adam Driver to bag the two acting awards at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.
Among the other new releases this Wednesday, we should highlight The Duchess of Warsaw [+see also:
film profile] by Joseph Morder (starring Alexandra Stewart and Andy Gillet – Epicentre Films in 20 theatres), the Israeli-French co-production That Lovely Girl by Karen Yedaya (revealed in Un Certain Regard at Cannes – Sophie Dulac Distribution across eight screens) and Inupiluk + Le film que nous tournerons au Groenland, two short films by Sébastien Betbeder, each lasting 32 minutes (UFO Distribution).
(Translated from French)