Garrel and Desplechin vie for Palme d’Or
by Fabien Lemercier
24/04/2008 - Whilst we wait for a third title to be announced in the next few days, France already has two emblematic figures of auteur cinema in official competition at the 61st Cannes Film Festival (May 14-25): Philippe Garrel with La frontière de l’aube [trailer] and Arnaud Desplechin with Conte de Noël [trailer] (“A Christmas Tale”). Both have consistently demonstrated an uncompromising artistic vision.
Garrel – who has just turned 60 – will make his official competition debut at Cannes where in 1984 he won an award in the Perspectives on French Cinema section with Liberté, la nuit. The filmmaker has, however, been in competition four times at the Venice Film Festival, picking up two Silver Lions (in 1991 for I Don’t Hear the Guitar Anymore and in 2005 for Regular Lovers [trailer] – see interview).
La frontière de l’aube, his 28th feature, stars his son Louis Garrel and Laura Smet.
Co-written by the director, Arlette Langmann and Marc Cholodenko, the film centres on the strange misfortunes of a young photographer who is about to get married. On the morning of the wedding ceremony, a vision appears in his mirror: his former lover, an actress he spurned. She committed suicide and now comes back to haunt him, calling him into the other world.
Produced by Edouard Weil for Rectangle Productions, the film was made on a budget of €2.53m. This included a €400,000 advance on receipts from the National Centre for Cinematography (CNC), €400,000 from the Ile-de-France region, pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma, and €330,000 from the Eurimages fund.
For Desplechin, this will be his fourth time in competition at Cannes, after The Sentinel (1992), My Sex Life…or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) and Esther Kahn (2000).
Having first attracted attention in the Cannes Critics‘ Week in 1991 with his medium-length film La Vie des morts, the director’s feature Playing "In the Company of Men" also screened in the Un Certain Regard section in 2003. Desplechin’s work has only been presented twice at the Venice Film Festival; Kings and Queen [trailer] was in competition in 2004 and the documentary L’Aimée (“The Loved One”) screened last year in the Horizons Doc section.
Co-written by the 47-year-old director and Emmanuel Bourdieu, Un conte de Noël recounts the dramas of a family reunion and stars Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos, Chiara Mastroianni, Anne Consigny, Melvil Poupaud and Jean-Paul Roussillon.
Produced by Pascal Caucheteux for Why Not Productions, the €6.25m film was co-produced and pre-bought by France 2 Cinéma. The title also received an advance on receipts from the CNC with pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma.
International sales, which are already well underway, are being handled by Wild Bunch.
(Translated from French)