Envoyés très spéciaux and British junkies on line-up
by Fabien Lemercier
21/01/2009 - Nine European productions dominate the line-up of 13 new releases hitting French theatres today.
The largest print run belongs to a French comedy about journalism and the power to manipulate public opinion: Frédéric Auburtin’s Envoyés très spéciaux [trailer] (“Very Special Correspondents”), launched by EuropaCorp on 493 screens.
Starring Gérard Lanvin and Gérard Jugnot, Envoyés très spéciaux retraces the incredible misadventures of a leading radio journalist and his technician. Sent to Iraq where the conflict is intensifying, they lose their plane tickets and money for the trip. This leads them to pull off a major bluff: the duo hide in the Barbès area of Paris, where they pretend to report live from Baghdad.
The film was co-written by Simon Michaël (former member of an anti-terrorism squad) and Jacques Labib (former leading radio reporter). Production was handled by Les Films Manuel Munz for a budget of €12.8m. This included pre-sales from Canal+ and TPS Star, as well as co-production backing from M6 Films, Malec Productions and EuropaCorp.
Adapted from former policeman Hugues Pagan’s book L'étage des Morts, Gilles Béat’s French/Belgian/Luxembourg co-production Diamond 13 [trailer] (see news) is being launched by MK2 Diffusion on 297 screens. One of the film’s major assets is the cast headed by Gérard Depardieu on remarkable form, starring alongside Olivier Marchal (also co-screenwriter), Italian actress Asia Argento, Aïssa Maïga and Belgium’s Anne Coesens.
UK film is in the spotlight with up-and-coming director Duane Hopkins’ Better Things [trailer], which centres on a group of young junkies. The title was unveiled in Cannes Critics’ Week and is being released by Memento Films Distribution on ten screens.
Further UK releases include Neil Thompson’s The Club (Pretty Pictures - 45 screens) and Brit director Sam Mendes’ US co-production Revolutionary Road [trailer], starring fellow Brit Kate Winslet, who recently won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Paramount Pictures France - 300 screens).
Also hitting screens are Spanish director Albert Serra’s Birdsong, which was unveiled in the 2008 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight (Capricci Films - ten screens); and Amos Gitaï’s French/German/Israeli co-production Later [trailer], which had a special screening at the 2008 Berlinale (Pierre Grise Distribution - 15 screens).
Documentary releases include Raphaël Mathié’s Dernière saison (“Last Season”, Eurozoom - six screens) and Alain Fleischer’s Fragments of Conversations with Jean-Luc Godard (Les Editions Montparnasse).
(Translated from French)