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VENICE 2016 France

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Which French films could be duking it out for the Golden Lion?

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- François Ozon is in pole position and Stéphane Brizé lies in ambush, while Arnaud des Pallières, Benoît Jacquot and Rebecca Zlotowski have also been thrown into the mix

Which French films could be duking it out for the Golden Lion?
Frantz by François Ozon

Around one month away from the unveiling of the official selection of the 73rd Venice Film Festival (31 August-10 September 2016), and as the Italian gathering’s artistic director, Alberto Barbera (who has been in the role since 2012 and whose term has just been renewed for 2017-2020), is about to jet off to the USA for a week, Paris is buzzing with rumours surrounding the identity of the French films hoping for a spot in competition on the Lido. According to a variety of sources, it would appear that all bets are off, as the glut of quality French titles jostling for a place this year are complicating matters to such an extent that it is not completely out of the question that four of them will end up in the running for the Golden Lion 2016. 

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The general trend seems to point towards just one single near-certainty: following 5x2 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 in 2004 and Potiche [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 in 2010, François Ozon is likely to be taking part in the Venice competition for the third time with his French-German co-production Frantz [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
 (read the article), a film starring Pierre Niney and Paula Beer, executive-produced by Mandarin Cinema, sold abroad by Films Distribution and set to be released in French theatres on 7 September by Mars Distribution

Heading up the list of outsiders is A Woman’s Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
by Stéphane Brizé (read the news), who, if the prediction proves to be correct, would be in competition for the Golden Lion for the first time, after making a successful debut in the Cannes competition last year with The Measure of a Man [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
. An adaptation of a Guy de Maupassant novel, A Woman’s Life stars Judith Chemla in the lead role. Produced by TS Productions and co-produced by Belgian outfit Versus, the movie will be distributed in France by Diaphana and is being sold abroad by MK2

Another title that is apparently also very well positioned in the list of hopefuls is Never Ever [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Victória Guerra
film profile
]
 by Benoît Jacquot (read the article), a director who is very well acquainted with Venice’s finest showcase, which he has already frequented four times (with Seventh Heaven in 1997, No Scandal in 1999, The Untouchable [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 in 2006 and 3 Hearts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Benoît Jacquot
film profile
]
 in 2014). A loose adaptation of the novel The Body Artist by famous US author Don DeLillo, his new feature is toplined by Mathieu Amalric. Co-produced by Portugal (Leopardo Filmes), the movie was produced by Alfama Films, which is also in charge of the international sales and will release the film in France on 23 November. 

Also in a strong position at the polls is Orphan [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Arnaud des Pallières
film profile
]
 (read the news) by Arnaud des Pallières. The new opus by the filmmaker, who was chosen in Orizzonti at Venice with Park [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 in 2008 and was selected in competition at Cannes in 2013 with Michael Kohlhaas [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Arnaud des Pallières
festival scope
film profile
]
, boasts a cast including Adèle HaenelJalil Lespert and Adèle Exarchopoulos. Produced by Les Films Hatari, the film will be distributed in France by Le Pacte, which is also managing the international sales.

Lastly, the list of the most serious candidates includes Planetarium [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rebecca Zlotowski
film profile
]
 by Rebecca Zlotowski (read the news – starring Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp – a Les Films Velvet production – released in France on 16 November via Ad Vitam – international sales by Kinology). 

There are some other highly popular and well-placed challengers that should be mentioned, such as The Heart [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Katell Quillévéré
film profile
]
by Katel Quillévéré (read the article – a Les Films Pelléas and Les Films du Bélier production together with Belgium – released in France on 2 November via Mars Distribution – sold by Films Distribution), and even the French-Italian-Belgian feature Brotherhood [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Renaud Fély and Arnaud Louvet (read the article – an Aeternam Films production – distributed in France by Haut et Court – sold by Films Distribution).

Nevertheless, a shock last-minute entry among the hopefuls should not be ignored: 150 Milligrams [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Emmanuelle Bercot (read the article), which apparently hasn’t been shown to selectors yet. Starring Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen, the film was produced by Haut et Court, which will distribute it in France, while the sales have been entrusted to Wild Bunch.

According to Cineuropa’s sources, Barbera will allegedly not make a final decision until he is back from the USA, which is really stirring up the microcosm of the global film industry, as the choices for the Venice competition have a bearing on the ongoing selection processes for the upcoming Locarno (3-13 August 2016), Toronto (8-18 September) and San Sebastián (16-24 September) Film Festivals.

(Translated from French)

DPC
WBImages Locarno
Swiss Locarno
 

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