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PRODUCTION France

Annaud’s epic fresco Black Thirst to start lensing

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On Monday, October 18, the 14-week shoot will start in Matmata in southern Tunisia on Jean-Jacques Annaud’s eleventh feature Black Thirst.

The director is unquestionably one of France’s most internationally renowned filmmakers (thanks to films like The Name of the Rose, The Bear, The Lover, Seven Years in Tibet and Two Brothers). For this English-language film, he has put together a first-rate, cosmopolitan cast including French actor Tahar Rahim (EFA 2009 and Best Actor Cesar 2010 for A Prophet [+see also:
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interview: Jacques Audiard
interview: Jacques Audiard and Tahar R…
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]
; set to grace screens next year in Ismaël Ferroukhi’s Free Men and Lou Ye’s Bitch), Spanish star Antonio Banderas (currently on screens in You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger [+see also:
trailer
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]
), Indian actress Freida Pinto (Miral [+see also:
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) and Brit thesp Mark Strong (Robin Hood [+see also:
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).

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series serie

Adapted by the director, in collaboration with Holland’s Menno Meyjes (Oscar nominee in 1986 for The Colour Purple) and Alain Godard (who has worked with Annaud on five previous occasions) from Swiss writer Hans Ruesch’s 1957 novel South of the Heart: A Novel of Modern Arabia, the film centres on the rivalry between two Arabian emirs and the rise of a young prince who will unite the tribes of the desert kingdom.

The story is set in the early 1930s, when oil was discovered, and explores the opposition between traditions and modernity through the characters of kings Amar (Strong) and Nesib (Banderas). Prince Auda (Rahim), who is Amar’s son and Nesib’s son-in-law since he married his daughter (Pinto) as a token of peace between the two border kingdoms, finds himself caught in the crossfire.

According to its producer Tarak Ben Ammar, Black Thirst will be "a great epic and romantic saga in the tradition of Lawrence of Arabia" and will explore "the relationship between oil and Islam in Arab countries, as well as the conflict between modernity and tradition which shaped the entire region over the following decades."

Black Thirst is produced by Quinta Communications for €40m. It will be distributed by Warner in France (scheduled release date: November 23, 2011), the United Kingdom, Latin America and the Middle East.

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(Translated from French)

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