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BERLINALE 2020 EFM

Tantalizing announcements made in Berlin by French firms

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- Wild Bunch, Memento, Mk2, Charades, The Party Film Sales and Elle Driver get off to a flying start, jettisoning new titles into the European Film Market showcase

Tantalizing announcements made in Berlin by French firms
Director Claire Denis (© Veerem Ramsamy/Best Image/Unifrance), actor Robert Pattinson and actress Margaret Qualley

The European Film Market at the 70th Berlinale has only been in full swing since yesterday, yet several groups working within the French film industry (international sales or production companies) have already made some top tier announcements.

Wild Bunch has added The Stars at Noon to its already copious line-up (read our news). The next film by Claire Denis will see the director joining forces with English star Robert Pattinson for the second time, following on from High Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Claire Denis
film profile
]
. American rising star Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, My Salinger Year [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) will also grâce the film poster. Based upon American writer Denis Johnson’s eponymous novel, which the director adapted in league with Léa Mysius and Andrew Litvack, the feature film (produced by the Parisian group Curiosa Films with a view to starting filming this year) will plunge the viewer into the midst of the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1984 and will revolve around a passionate encounter between an English businessman and an American journalist who soon find themselves forced to try to escape the country, trapped in a labyrinth of lies and conspiracies. The project has already been pre-purchased by A24 for North America.

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Entering into the line-up of Memento Films International (article), meanwhile, is the female-dominated spy thriller Huda’s Salon by the Dutch-Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (in competition in Berlin 2005 with Paradise Now [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, awarded the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize in Cannes 2013 for Omar), on which filming will commence on 8 March in Palestine. Starring in the cast are Manal Awad (Dégradé [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and Maisa Abd Elhadi (Tel Aviv on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sameh Zoabi
film profile
]
, The Reports on Sarah and Saleem [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
). The former will play the owner of a hairdresser’s who heads up an underground network of informants and who sets about blackmailing the latter in order to glean information. Production is steered by H & H Productions and Film Clinic, in co-production with Mad Solutions, Lagoonie Film Production and Dutch group KeyFilm.

Mk2 Films (article) has also played out a trump card with the title in post-production The Ties by Italy’s Daniele Luchetti (in competition in Cannes 1991 with The Yes Man, in 2010 with Our Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
, and in Venice 1998 with Little Teachers), which stars Alba Rohrwacher and Luigi Lo Cascio at the head of the cast, supported by Laura Morante and Giovanna Mezzogiorno. An adaptation of Domenico Starnone’s novel of the same name, the film tells the tale of a broken marriage from the viewpoints of the woman, the husband and their children. Production comes courtesy of IBC Movie and Rai Cinema.

In terms of French producers on the move, Charles Gillibert (CG Cinéma) is all set to helm The Disappearance of Josef Mengele, the next film by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov (received to much acclaim in Cannes’ 2018 competition for Leto [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ilya Stewart
film profile
]
and for Le Disciple within the Un Certain Regard section in 2016). Adapted from Olivier Guez’s eponymous novel, The Disappearance of Josef Mengele retraces the underground years which the sinister Nazi and Auschwitz doctor spent in exile in South America. Russian group Hype Films and Mexican firm Piano will be credited for co-production.

Charades (whose Berlin line-up - news – includes none other than the new opus in post-production Petrov’s Flu by Serebrennikov,) has kick-started pre-sales on the Danish thriller Shorta (read our news) by Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Ølholm, a Toolbox Film production which made a particular impression back in December, in the Arcs Film Festival’s Work in Progress section.

The Party Film Sales (the new sales label bringing together the teams of Jour2Fête and Doc & Film International – read our news) has launched sales of Goodnight, Soldier by Hiner Saleem (well received in Cannes’ 2005 competition, to name just one event, by way of Kilomètre Zéro [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, and in the Un Certain Regard section in 2013 with My Sweet Pepper Land [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
). Currently in post-production, the feature film steered by Agat Films (read our interview with producer Marc Bordure) and HS Productions centres around a young couple who have managed to overcome the hate of their respective families, but who now find themselves facing a new challenge when the husband is left impotent after getting himself shot.

And last but not least, Elle Driver has officially kicked off pre-sales on Emmanuel Mouret’s Les choses qu’on dit, les choses qu’on fait (article).

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(Translated from French)

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