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En équilibre: Denis Dercourt makes the leap from melody to melodrama

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- Today, the unusual French filmmaker delivers a crowd-pleasing opus starring Cécile de France and Albert Dupontel, while Still Life is also getting a release

En équilibre: Denis Dercourt makes the leap from melody to melodrama
En équilibre by Denis Dercourt

With nine new releases and all eyes in the industry on tomorrow’s unveiling of the Official Selection of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, this week is far and away one of the least hectic of the year in terms of films hitting screens; furthermore, the critics have not exactly been expressing unanimous enthusiasm, apart from for the Golden Bear winner, the Iranian movie Taxi by Jafar Panahi (Memento Films Distribution).

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Nevertheless, curiosity has been piqued by a new chapter in the astonishing career of Denis Dercourt. Having graduated from Sciences Po in Paris and then juggled being a filmmaker and a viola teacher at the Conservatoire, the director started off making quirky “little films” that got him noticed, before being selected twice in Un Certain Regard at Cannes (The Page Turner [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Denis Dercourt
interview: Michel Saint-Jean
film profile
]
 in 2006 and Tomorrow at Dawn [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Denis Dercourt
film profile
]
 in 2009). He then settled in Berlin, where he directed a quasi-experimental feature (La chair de ma chair [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and a classic German-language production (Zum Geburtstag [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
). This highly unique career path is veering into more mainstream territory today with the melodrama En équilibre (read the news), released by StudioCanal in 220 theatres and starring two first-rate actors: Belgian actress Cécile de France and France’s Albert Dupontel.

“I don’t want the world of my films to start congealing, and I’m looking for as many things as I can to broaden the palette,” explains Denis Dercourt. “When the producers from Mandarin Cinéma made me read Sur mes quatre jambes (lit. “On My Four Legs”) by Bernard Sachsé, I immediately felt very close to the subject matter. Perhaps that was because, when he became a paraplegic at the age of 30, he was a stuntman who was living off his salary, just as I had done myself for a long time in the music world.” It’s all about passion and rebuilding: the encounter between the horse-riding stuntman whose dreams have been shattered and a woman sent by the insurance firm to assess his situation before awarding compensation plunges Denis Dercourt into a melodramatic and romantic opus that is relatively unusual for him, and while his skilled sense of understated moderation has won over the mainstream press, certain critics have not passed up the opportunity to accuse him of betrayal. Nonetheless, it’s a safe bet that the director will surprise us again in the future.

Also landing in theatres are the satirical comedy Robin Hood, the True Story [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Anthony Marciano (Mars Distribution in over 410 cinemas) and the buddy movie Buddy Guards [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Tristan Aurouet (produced by LGM Cinéma – EuropaCorp Distribution across around 310 screens), starring Joey Starr and Manu Payet as a pair of police officers in charge of protecting VIPs – in particular a star musician played by Alice Belaïdi.

Also of note are Still Life [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Uberto Pasolini
festival scope
film profile
]
 by Uberto Pasolini, winner of the Horizons Award for Best Director at Venice in 2013 (read the review and the interview with the director – distributed by Version Originale/Condor in 90 theatres) and the documentary My Name Is Annemarie Schwarzenbach [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Véronique Aubouy (revealed in the Panorama Dokumente section of the most recent Berlinale – distributed by ZED).

(Translated from French)

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