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CANNES 2006 Un Certain Regard / France

La Californie: Cannes in off-season

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The Un Certain Regard section of the 2006 Cannes Film Festival closed yesterday with the screening of La Californie [+see also:
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, the debut feature by experienced screenwriter Jacques Fieschi, who has worked with distinguished directors such as Claude Sautet, Maurice Pialat, Nicole Garcia and Olivier Assayas.

Audiences certainly did not feel out of their elements as the film – an adaptation of the 1938 Georges Simenon thriller Chemin sans issue – is set in Cannes during the off-season.

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In a luxurious villa in the Californie neighbourhood overlooking Cannes, Maguy, a rich and eccentric woman (played superbly by Nathalie Baye) lives with and financially supports two Serbs with difficult pasts (Roschdy Zem and Radivoje Bukvic), a young homosexual couple and a somewhat withered friend/admirer (Mylène Demongeot). In exchange, the five listen to her stories, accompany her shopping or to local bars, and serve as cooks, drivers, yacht caretakers, hairdressers, friends or lovers. However, this alcohol-fueled situation explodes with the arrival of Maguy’s daughter, played by Ludivine Sagnier.

Driven by a talented cast and a precise script, La Californie methodically explores the relationships between couples, proving how one exclusive relationship can disrupt a calm amoral atmosphere based on non-possessive relationships. The tragic spiral that ensues thus reveals built-up frustrations, deception and betrayal in the micro-community, where each person shares their solitude in a vain attempt to forget it.

Produced by Rectangle and Thelma Films, the €3.9m La Californie received funding from France 3 Cinéma (€650, 000) and a pre-sales agreement from Canal+ and CinéCinéma. StudioCanal is handling international sales.

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(Translated from French)

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