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PRODUCTION France

Schoendoerffer readies Lutétia

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While Truands [+see also:
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, his very noir third feature (see news), starring Benoît Magimel, Philippe Caubère, Béatrice Dalle and Olivier Marchal, will arrive in cinemas on January 17, director Frédéric Schoendoerffer (2000’s Crime Scenes, 2004’s Secret Agents) has already started work on his next opus, entitled Lutetia.

Currently in the scriptwriting phase, shooting is expected to get underway in the summer. The film will be an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Pierre Assouline about a large Parisian hotel, which was the headquarters of the Abwehr, the German information services, during WWII.

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Writer of several biographies (including on Georges Simenon, Gaston Gallimard, Henry Kahnweiler, Albert Londres and Hergé), Assouline – who is co-writing the script with Schoendoerffer and Isabelle Coudrier – published Lutétia in 2005. The novel’s central character is WWI war veteran Edouard Kiefer, a policeman-turned-detective who lives in the palace and knows all of its secrets.

A focal point of Parisian life of the inter-war period during the Liberation, the Lutétia welcomed artists and writers such as James Joyce, Matisse and Albert Cohen before the German occupation radically changed the decor. Despite the seemingly well-behaved manner of the Abwehr officers, tortures took place only a stonethrow away in the Cherche-Midi prison.

Kiefer, who regularly meets his childhood love Nathalie (now Countess Clary) at the Lutétia, continues working (seeing everything without being seen) by trying to retain his dignity until 1945, when the hotel is transformed into a community centre and housing for deportees.

Lutétia will be produced by Christine Gozlan for Thelma Films and Alain Terzian for Alter Films.

The two companies will also co-produce Danièle Thompson’s next feature Le code, which is also in the writing stage. Thompson’s last film, Orchestra Seats [+see also:
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, the French entrant for the 2007 Best Foreign Language Film nominations, was also produced by Thelma Films.

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(Translated from French)

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