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VENICE 2016 France

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François Ozon and Stéphane Brizé vying for the Golden Lion

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- The two filmmakers have their eyes on the prize with Frantz and A Woman’s Life; a majority French production by Wim Wenders and three minority French films are also in the running

François Ozon and Stéphane Brizé vying for the Golden Lion
Frantz by François Ozon

French film production has a strong presence in the competition of the 73rd Venice Film Festival (31 August-10 September 2016): of the 20 contenders for the Golden Lion, three are majority French productions, three are minority French ones, and two other films are being sold by France.

Following 5x2 [+see also:
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]
in 2004 and Potiche [+see also:
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]
in 2010, François Ozon will be taking part in the quest for the Golden Lion for the third time with Frantz [+see also:
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film focus
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
, which stars Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner, Marie Gruber, Johann von Bülow and Anton von Lucke. The screenplay, written by the director and loosely based on Broken Lullaby by Ernst Lubitsch, unfolds in a small village in Germany, just after World War One. Every day, Anna goes to visit the grave of her fiancé, Frantz, who was killed on the front line in France. But one day, a young Frenchman comes to pay his respects at the grave of his German friend. His presence will soon spark heated reactions in the town... Produced by Éric and Nicolas Altmayer for Mandarin Cinéma, Frantz had a budget of €9.47 million, including co-productions by France 2 Cinéma, Foz, Mars Films (which will bring the movie out in France on 7 September), Films Distribution (which is in charge of the international sales) and German outfit X Filme, pre-purchases by Canal+ and Ciné+, and backing from the French-German mini co-production treaty, among other sources. As a reminder, this is the 16th feature by 48-year-old Ozon, who has also been included in competition twice at Cannes (in 2003 with Swimming Pool [+see also:
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and 2013 with Young and Beautiful [+see also:
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interview: François Ozon
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]
) and four times at Berlin (in 2000 with Water Drops on Burning Rocks, 2002 with 8 Women [+see also:
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]
, 2007 with Angel [+see also:
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]
and 2009 with Ricky [+see also:
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]
). Ozon also took home the Golden Shell at San Sebastián in 2012 thanks to In the House [+see also:
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]
; he was also in competition at the Basque gathering in 2000 with Under the Sand [+see also:
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]
, in 2009 with The Refuge [+see also:
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]
, which won him a Special Jury Prize, and in 2014 with The New Girlfriend [+see also:
trailer
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interview: François Ozon
film profile
]
.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)Cine Iberoamericano Int

Forty-nine-year-old Stéphane Brizé will appear in competition at Venice for the first time with A Woman’s Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
, his seventh feature, following such titles as Hometown Blue (Directors’ Fortnight 1999), Not Here To Be Loved [+see also:
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]
(in competition at San Sebastián in 2005), Mademoiselle Chambon [+see also:
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]
(César Award for Best Screenplay in 2010), A Few Hours of Spring [+see also:
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]
(popular at Locarno in 2012) and The Measure of a Man [+see also:
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interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
(Best Actor Award at Cannes in 2015). Adapted by the filmmaker and Florence Vignon from a Guy de Maupassant short story, A Woman’s Life is toplined by Judith Chemla, Belgium’s Yolande Moreau and Jean-Pierre Darroussin. The film kicks off in Normandy in 1819. Jeanne Le Perthuis des Vauds, a young, overly cocooned woman still giddy with her childhood dreams, has just come out of the convent where she has been studying, and marries Julien de Lamare. But very soon, he proves to be a stingy, violent and unfaithful man, and Jeanne’s dreams then begin to gradually unravel... Produced by Milena Poylo and Gilles Sacuto for TS Productions, A Woman’s Life had a budget of €6.98 million, including co-productions by France 3 Cinéma, F Comme Film, CN5 Productions and Belgian outfit Versus Production, pre-purchases by Canal+ and Ciné+, and backing from Eurimages, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation’s Film and Audiovisual Centre and the Upper Normandy region. Diaphana will bring the movie out in France on 23 November, while the sales are being helmed by MK2.

A third majority French production will be duking it out: The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez [+see also:
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]
by German director Wim Wenders, which stars Reda Kateb, Sophie Semin and Nick Cave; the screenplay was written by the director and is based on the stage play of the same name by Peter Handke. Produced by Paolo Branco for Alfama Films (which will distribute the movie in France from 2 November and is managing the international sales), the feature had a budget of €1.5 million, including a co-production by German outfit Neue Road Movies and support from the French-German mini co-production treaty. 

France will also be in the running for the Golden Lion with three minority co-productions: Brimstone [+see also:
film review
trailer
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Q&A: Martin Koolhoven
film profile
]
by Dutch director Martin Koolhoven (co-produced by The Jokers Films together with the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, the UK and Sweden), The Blind Christ [+see also:
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]
by Christopher Murray (co-produced with Chile by Ciné-Sud Promotion) and The Untamed [+see also:
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]
by Amat Escalante (co-produced by Le Pacte with Mexico, Denmark, Germany and Norway).

Lastly of note among the other titles in competition are the German documentary Voyage of Time [+see also:
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]
by US director Terrence Malick and On the Milky Road [+see also:
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]
by Serbia’s Emir Kusturica, which are being sold by Wild Bunch; the firm also co-financed Jackie [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín (sold by IMR International, a company that partners Insiders – Wild Bunch’s US sales arm – and MadRiver Pictures).

(Translated from French)

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