Elbé’s socially-engaged thriller Tête de Turc hits screens
by Fabien Lemercier
The film stars Roschdy Zem, young actor Samir Makhlouf and the director, alongside Ronit Elkabetz and Simon Abkarian. It plunges viewers into a realistic social setting for a hard-hitting thriller centred on a teenager who blew up a car, then saved the person inside.
Elbé, who wrote the screenplay, said: "I thought the point of departure for this kid torn between his conscience and his future was an interesting dilemma for a thriller." The director drew inspiration from a real-life crime that took place in Marseille in 2006, when a female bus passenger was burned alive by youths.
"What shocked me most was that one year later, the youths didn’t speak up during the trial and never asked for forgiveness", explained the director. "As though their prison sentence had served no purpose. And as though our social pact had been shattered to pieces."
Concerned with realism, Elbé carried out in-depth research: "I met with social workers, emergency doctors and policemen (…) I also saw completely neglected housing estates, where there are no longer any police stations within a 2km radius (…) For me, it’s a socially-engaged film (...) I took inspiration from the films of Robert Altman, Paul Haggis and especially those of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. I told myself it was risky, but there was no reason not to try this in France."
Produced by Alicéleo for €5.5m, Tête de Turc was co-produced by France 2 Cinéma, pre-bought by Canal + and Ciné Cinéma, and received backing from the “Images of Diversity” fund of the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC). Other Angle Pictures is managing international sales.
The other French productions hitting screens are Jean-Christophe Klotz’s Lignes de Front [+see also:
film profile] (“Front Lines”, see news - Bac Films); Nicolas Philibert’s documentary Nénette [+see also:
film profile] (unveiled at the Berlinale - Les Films du Losange); Judith Godrèche’s Toutes Les Filles Pleurent [+see also:
film profile] (“All Girls Cry”, ARP Sélection); and Henry [+see also:
film profile] by Francis Kuntz and Pascal Rémy (Shellac).
European cinema is also represented in the line-up by Susanna White’s Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang [+see also:
film profile] (StudioCanal); and three Spanish co-productions: Antonio Hernandez’s The Borgia [+see also:
film profile] (see news - Artédis); Michel Franco’s Daniel & Ana [+see also:
film profile] (Chrysalis Films); and Menno Meyjes’s Manolete [+see also:
film profile] (Quinta Communication
(Translated from French)