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PRODUCTION France

Zem plays lawyer in Commis d’office

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Final preparations are underway before shooting begins on December 31 for the first part of Commis d’office (“Court Appointed Lawyer”), the debut feature by lawyer Hannelore Cayre, who has adapted her eponymous novel of 2004.

This cutting detective comedy stars Roschdy Zem (Best Actor at Cannes 2006 for Days Of Glory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jean Bréhat
interview: Rachid Bouchareb
film profile
]
) and veteran Swiss actor Jean-Philippe Ecoffey (who has appeared in films by Alain Tanner, Claude Miller, Patrice Chéreau and Olivier Assayas), recently acclaimed for his role in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and currently appearing in Marco Carmel’s Comme ton père (“Like Your Father”).

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Former financial director of France 3 Cinéma, Cayre, who went on to become a prosecutor, explores the daily workings of the legal system in her film: indefensible defendants, unbearable prisons, useless magistrates and corrupt police officers.

Christophe Leibowitz-Berthier, rechristened Antoine Lahoud (Zem) in the film, is a court appointed lawyer in charge of defending petty criminals from the troubled suburbs and Eastern European pimps. Never hired for high-profile cases, disillusioned, cynical and a proponent of unorthodox practices, he is tricked by a rich colleague who calls on him not for his professional skills (as Antoine believes) but because he is the exact likeness of a prisoner accused of a serious break-in. Finding himself behind bars, Lahoud in turn becomes very cunning.

Produced by Marc Irmer for Dolce Vita Films, Commis d’office, whose initial budget amounted to €4.2m, received co-production funding and pre-sales from Arte France Cinéma as well as co-production support from Rhône-Alpes Cinéma.

Shooting will take place in Paris, Lyons and Geneva and in two phases – from December 31 to January 5 and then again from April 21 until May 29. Bac Films, who are also co-producing, will distribute the film domestically and manage international sales.

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(Translated from French)

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