A five-star line-up for Memento Films International
by Fabien Lemercier
- Divine Love is in competition at Sundance, and pre-sales are getting under way for Claus Drexel’s A Winter’s Tale and Martin Provost’s How to Be a Good Wife
The international sales division of French company Memento Films is kicking off 2019 at full pelt. The team managed by Émilie Georges and led by head of sales Tanja Meissner will spring into action at the 21st Rendez-vous With French Cinema in Paris (17-21 January) with two new titles on its slate, before jetting off to the Sundance Film Festival (24 January-3 February), where it will have high hopes for Divine Love [+see also:
film profile] by Gabriel Mascaro, which will have its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic competition. The new film by the Brazilian filmmaker, who garnered much acclaim with Neon Bull [+see also:
film profile] (Special Jury Prize in Orizzonti at the 2015 Venice Film Festival and a Special Mention in the Platform competition at Toronto) and August Winds (Special Mention at Locarno in 2014), also delves into Brazil in the year 2027 and tells the story of a devoutly religious woman who uses her job as a solicitor to stop couples from getting divorced, but who is also grappling with her own personal marital crisis… The feature was produced by Brazil’s Desvia, and co-produced by Denmark’s Snowglobe, Norway’s Mer Film, Uruguay’s Malbicho Cine, Brazil’s Globo Filmes and Canal Brasil, Sweden's Film i Väst and Chile’s Jirafa Cine, with France’s House on Fire on board as associate producer.
At the Paris-based market organised by UniFrance, Memento Films International will be kicking off pre-sales for two French titles currently in pre-production, based on their screenplays. The first of them, A Winter’s Tale, will be the second fiction feature by Claus Drexel, a German filmmaker currently working in France, where he helmed the gripping documentary Au bord du monde [+see also:
film profile] (nominated for the Louis-Delluc Prize in 2014). Toplined by Catherine Frot (César Award for Best Actress in 2016 for Marguerite [+see also:
interview: Xavier Giannoli
film profile] and nominated for the same trophy six other times between 2000 and 2013), the film will revolve around a woman called Christine, whose life has not been easy lately. Her lonely routine is divided between distributions at free food banks and wandering the streets. One cold winter’s night, she finds Suli, an eight-year-old Eritrean boy, sobbing in front of her shelter. Christine realises that he is lost and has been separated from his mother. Bound by their status as outcasts, together they embark upon an emotional journey to find Suli's mother in the underground world of Paris... Produced by Arches Films and Maneki Films, the feature, which will be distributed in France by Diaphana, made a strong impression on Tanja Meissner: “We were deeply touched by this young boy's friendship with a jaded, middle-aged woman, both cast out from our ruthless society. Claus Drexel tells this tale with an eye that seems to penetrate deep into all of the characters, and it will leave room for an outstanding performance by Catherine Frot. It's an urban odyssey about simple problems and emotional discoveries, which powerfully lays bare a sincere and unpatronising feel for the poetry of broken lives.”
The second title being launched by Memento in Paris is certainly not lacking in potential, either. Indeed, How to Be a Good Wife by Martin Provost (popular with Séraphine [+see also:
film profile] – which won seven César Awards, including Best Film, in 2009 – and taking part in Berlin, out of competition, in 2017 with The Midwife [+see also:
interview: Martin Provost
film profile]) will bring together Juliette Binoche, Belgium’s Yolande Moreau and Noémie Lvovsky in the cast. Produced by Les Films du Kiosque, the film will revolve around a couple who run a housekeeping school that trains teenage girls to become the perfect housewives. After the sudden death of her husband and the consequences of the May 1968 protests, everything changes, forcing the head of the school, those closest to her, and her lively students to overcome their suppressed status and become liberated women. “We are thrilled to bits to be working with Martin again. His new comedy is as funny, intelligent and up to date as can be,” remarks Messner.
In Paris, Memento will also be pinning its hopes on the market premiere of Curiosa by Lou Jeunet (see the article – starring Niels Schneider, Noémie Merlant and Camelia Jordana), which will be distributed in France on 3 April, and will also organise a screening of Claire Darling [+see also:
film profile] by Julie Bertuccelli.
Also featuring on the line-up are three tantalising titles now in post-production: the Australian-British production True Story of the Kelly Gang by Justin Kurzel (starring George Mackay, Russell Crowe, Charlie Hunnam, Nicholas Hoult, Essie Davis and Thomasin Mackenzie) and the US movie Against All Enemies by Benedict Andrews (starring Kristen Stewart, Jack O’Connell and Anthony Mackie), which will be pre-sold based on their promo-reels, plus The Wild Goose Lake, the new opus by China’s Diao Yinan, following Black Coal (Golden Bear and Best Actor Award at Berlin in 2014), which Memento will be attempting to sell based on its screenplay.
(Translated from French)
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