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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Switzerland

Bernard Campan and Alexandre Jollien wrap filming on Beautiful Minds


- The French actor-director and the Swiss philosopher are fine-tuning a film they’ve directed and acted in together, produced by Pan-Européenne and JMH

Bernard Campan and Alexandre Jollien wrap filming on Beautiful Minds
Actor-director Bernard Campan and philosopher Alexandre Jollien

Halted mid-March on account of the health crisis, filming on Beautiful Minds by France’s Bernard Campan and Switzerland’s Alexandre Jollien wrapped in June following a two-week film shoot in the French department of Hérault. This is the 4th feature film directed by actor Bernard Campan (the winner of 1996’s Best First Film César for Les trois frères and nominated for the Best Actor César in 2003 via Beautiful Memories [+see also:
film profile
) and the first cinematic foray of writer and philosopher Alexandre Jollien (who notably wrote In Praise of Weakness, Le Philosophe Nu and La Sagesse espiègle), who was born with a cerebral-motor disability, spent 17 years of his life in a specialised institution - all the while managing to keep up with his schooling - and went on to study philosophy at the University of Fribourg.

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The two co-directors play the film’s lead roles, flanked by Catherine Burkhadla (otherwise known as La Castou), Marilyne Canto, Julie-Anne Roth, Tiphaine Daviot and Marie Benati in the cast.

Penned by Bernard Campan, Alexandre Jollien and Hélène Grémillon with the collaboration of Manuel Poirier, the story kicks off in Lausanne where Louis directs a funeral home. A hardened bachelor, at 58 years of age he is wholly devoted to his job and can’t bring himself to retire. Igor, meanwhile, is 40 years old and a quick-witted soul in a disabled body: he lives with a cerebral-motor disability. Igor delivers organic vegetables on his tricycle to pay his rent and spends the rest of his time with his head in his books, far away from the world, with Socrates, Nietzsche and Spinoza as his companions. Through one of life’s coincidences, Louis and Igor’s paths cross. On the spur of the moment, Louis decides to take Igor along with him on a trip. They set off together in a hearse to drive the remains of an elderly lady, Madeleine, to the foot of the Cévennes mountains. Throughout this journey interspersed with encounters, Louis and Igor will lend support to one another as they slowly try to master an art of living and to win freedom from the gaze of others, offering up a valuable lesson in the process: to enjoy life as it comes and to step outside of our own selves.

Produced by Philippe Godeau for French firm Pan Européenne alongside Swiss group JMH (Jean-Marc Henchoz), Beautiful Minds benefits from presales courtesy of Canal+, OCS and RTS, and enjoys the support of Eurimages, the Occitanie region, Cinéforom and the SOFICA company Indéfilms. French distribution will be entrusted to Apollo Films.

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(Translated from French)

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