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RELEASES France

Duris reinvents Molière

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A €16m film featuring a star cast that includes Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini, Laura Morante, Ludivine Sagnier, Edouard Baer and Fanny Valette and opening today on 450 screens through Wild Bunch Distribution, Laurent Tirard’s Molière [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
is by far the most intriguing release this week.

Co-scripted by the director – who released his first feature, Mensonges et trahisons et plus si affinités..., in 2004 – and Grégoire Vigneron, the film reinvents an episode in the life of the famous French playwright, in 1644, when Molière, 22, disappears for several weeks after a period spent behind bars.

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When he reappears, he no longer wants to write tragedies and instead goes on a tour with his theatre company that marks his rise to fame – a mysterious biographical void shrewdly exploited by Tirard to create an ironic comedy in which Duris meets the main characters who would later feature in Molière’s plays.

Produced by Fidélité Films, the feature – sold internationally by Wild Bunch – received pre-sales and co-production funding from France 2 Cinéma (€1.3m), as well as support from Canal +.

Another top release this Wednesday also delves into the roots of a classic. Alain Berbérian’s L'Ile aux trésors, a very loose adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, stars Gérard Jugnot, Jean-Paul Rouve and Alice Taglioni (see article) and is being marketed as comedy for wider audiences. The title opens on an impressive 588 screens through Bac Films.

Other French releases include Avant le jour by Judith Abitbol (Bicéphale Distribution -1 print) and the co-production My Brother is Getting Married [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jean-Stéphane Bron
interview: Thierry Spicher
film profile
]
by Jean-Stéphane Bron (16 screens – Haut et Court), which received €300,000 in advances in receipts from the CNC through the involvement of French outfit Les Films Pelléas and Swiss producers Box Productions (see Focus).

The French critics’ favourite from the 11 releases this week is German helmer Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others (see Focus), a debut feature that won Best European Film of 2006 (EFA) and opens today on 131 screens through Océan Films.

Finally, Rezo Films are releasing 64 prints of Picha’s Belgian animated title Snow White: The Sequel [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, while MK2 are launching the opening film of last year’s Berlinale on 44 screens, Snow Cake [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Marc Evans, a UK (Revolution Films)/Canadian co-production with backing from BBC Films and the UK Film Council.

(Translated from French)

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