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CANNES 2005 Critic's Week

Frustrated loves in Little Jerusalem

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Intimate charm was on the menu yesterday at the International Critic's Week with the very well received Little Jerusalem by the French woman Karin Albou. The only female director in competition, the filmmaker has worked with great delicacy on the emotional lives of two sisters living in Sarcelles, in the French suburbs. Introduced into a practising Jewish community, Laura (Fanny Valette) and Mathilde (Elsa Zylberstein) go through an identity crisis, in which feelings and physical attraction battle against belief and the strict precepts of religious education. The former, an 18 year old Philosophy student, suffers the tribulations of an irresistible attraction to an Algerian while the latter has to learn to free herself from inhibition in order to hold onto her husband. Two destinies of women in search of stability while in the grip of love’s irrational somersaults and torments dismissed by their religion and education.

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Tracing the ritual life of a Hebrew family with the energy of a documentary, Little Jerusalem evolves within an emotional register centred on the exchange of ideas between the two women and their Tunisian mother (Sonia Tahar). Confined to roles as triggers, the principal male characters played byBruno Todeschini and Hédi Tillette de Clermont Tonnerre leave the foreground to the moral suffering of two sisters confronted with their contradictory amorous desires, balking at the notion of their bodies dominating their spirits. A central theme to which are added questions regarding the difference between religions and generations against the backdrop of an unappealing suburban life.

Produced by Gloria Films Production and co-produced by Film par Film, Little Jerusalem had a budget of 1,28 million euros, including Advance on Receipts from the CNC of 380 000 euros, 250 000 euros aid from the Ile-de-France region and a pre-sale from Canal Plus. Sold internationally by Pyramide, the film will be distributed in France by Océan Films.

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(Translated from French)

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