European and domestic titles dominate French screens
by Fabien Lemercier
28/02/2007 - While the grand winners at the 2007 Cesars (see news) – Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley [trailer] and Guillaume Canet’s Tell No One [trailer] – are on re-release through Ad Vitam and EuropaCorp Distribution (96 and 115 screens respectively), this Wednesday sees 10 new releases arrive on French screens, five of which are European (Spain, Denmark, the UK and Italy) and only two of which are US titles.
Meanwhile, Acadra Distribution will give French audiences a chance to discover Italian director Alessandro D'Alatri’s The Fever [trailer] on 10 screens, almost two years after the title’s Italian release (see article).
Rounding off the European quintet are two British films: Phillip Noyce’s Catch a Fire, starring Tim Robbins (StudioCanal), and Richard Eyre’s Notes on a Scandal [trailer], starring Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench (20th Century Fox).
Two domestic productions – each produced in very different ways – hit French theatres this week. TFM Distribution is releasing 56 prints of Among Adults [trailer] by Stéphane Brizé, director of 2005 San Sebastian title (see article) and three-time 2006 Cesar nominee Not Here to Be Loved [trailer].
In fact, Brizé’s latest film was not destined for theatrical release at all. It was produced at a workshop organised by the cinema section of the Centre Val-de-Loire region with 12 professional actors who were filmed for the first time.
Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde, the project entailed six days of scriptwriting and rehearsals, a four-day shoot and four days editing in August 2004. This was enough to convince Claude Lelouch (Les Films 13) to produce the film (which received CNC advances on receipts after shooting was completed) as a feature about infidelity, in which six men and six women love, manipulate, cheat, trust and leave each other.
Featuring Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye and Mathieu Amalric and carrying a €12m plus budget, including funding of €2m from TF1 Films Production (€400,000 in co-production and €1.6m in pre-sales), Thomas Gilou’s Michou d’Auber [trailer], produced and distributed on 359 screens by EuropaCorp, is by far this week’s biggest release.
The film charts the misadventures of Messaoud, a nine year-old boy sent to live with a host family in a village in the Parisian outskirts in 1961 during the Algerian troubles. His adopted mother Gisèle decides to disguise Messaoud’s identity to avoid problems with the villagers and especially her husband, a former soldier. Thus, Messaoud becomes Michou, but his real identity does not remain secret for long.
(Translated from French)