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LOCARNO 2006 Selection / France

From Dieutre to Bouchareb


Besides the two French films in competition (by Laurent Achard and Viviane Candas - see news), the programme of the 59th Locarno International Film Festival (August 2-12) features several French (co-)productions.

The 21 candidates for the Golden Leopard include Agua by Argentina’s Veronica Chen. The €953,000 budget film was co-produced by Paris-based outfit Archipel 35 and received €120,000 from the Fonds Sud Cinéma. Tadrart Films will release the film in France, while Celluloid Dreams will handle international sales.

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Also selected in official competition is the Italian feature The Dark Sea by Roberta Torre. The €2.4m title was co-produced by France’s Babe Productions (20%).

French films will also compete in the "Cinéastes du présent" section, with Fragments sur la grâce (lit. “Passages on Grace”) , a documentary written and directed by Vincent Dieutre. The director’s Bonne nouvelle (lit. "Good News") was awarded a Special Mention at Locarno in 2001 in the video category and his My Winter Journey was selected for Berlin’s Forum in 2003.

This time around Dieutre has plunged into the world of Jansenism and its spiritual centre Port-Royal (near Paris), and the film, which stars Mireille Perrier, Eva Truffaut, Mathieu Amalric and Dieutre, features baroque readings, eye-catching scenery and interesting encounters. The historical quest revolves around the dizzy heights of mystical turmoil and ends in a rhetorical question on grace.

Produced by France’s Celluloid Dreams (75%), who will also handle French distribution and international sales, the €540,000 budget film is a co-production with Belgium’s Simple Productions (25%) and received an advance on receipts of €150,000 from the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC) and funding from the Communauté française de Belgique et des Télédistributeurs wallons.

Also on the menu at the Piazza Grande are three films straight from Cannes: French productions Days of Glory [+see also:
film review
interview: Jean Bréhat
interview: Rachid Bouchareb
film profile
by Rachid Bouchareb (see May 25 news), The Weakest Is Always Right [+see also:
film profile
by Lucas Belvaux (see May 24 article and interview), and Lights In The Dusk [+see also:
film profile
by Aki Kaurismaki (see May 22 news).

The open-air programme will also feature a screening of Mon frère se marie (lit. "My Brother is Getting Married") by Switzerland’s Stéphane Bron, a co-production by France’s Films Pelléas (30%), which received an advance on receipts of €300,000 from the CNC.

A further section entitled Cinéastes du present will feature Gilles Blanchard’s Tête d'or (lit. "Head of Gold", 2004), an adaptation of the eponymous play by Paul Claudel set in the Ploemeur prison in Britanny. The film’s cast includes prisoners and Béatrice Dalle in the role of the Princess.

(Translated from French)

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