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CANNES 2008 Critics’ Week / France

The young girl and the Grown Ups

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Seventeen-year-old Jeanne is a good girl. It’s the summer holidays: a time for travels, discoveries and the first flutterings of the heart. But Jeanne wants to escape from her overly protective father.

This classic scenario is at the centre of Franco-Swedish director Anna Novion’s debut feature Grown Ups [+see also:
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– a coming-of-age comedy with subtle charm – which screened in competition today in Critics’ Week.

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This resolutely European film – an artistic and financial co-production between France and Sweden – is set in the Scandinavian country and has a cast of French actors who star alongside local talent.

Set on the photogenic island of Styrsö, in the Gothenburg Archipelago, Grown Ups centres on a couple of French tourists: single father Albert (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) and his only daughter Jeanne (Anaïs Dumoustier). A misunderstanding about rented accommodation means they have to stay with two women in their forties who are also single: the owner of the house (Lia Boysen) and her visiting French friend (Judith Henry).

This unexpected turn of events enables Jeanne – an introverted and serious girl – to get to know (perhaps in a romantic sense…) some young Swedish boys of her age. They go for bike rides, spend evenings on the beach playing guitar around a campfire, drinking beer and kissing.

The film – co-written by the director, Mathieu Robin and Béatrice Colombier – has a simple and universal plot which revolves around the father-daughter relationship. We see the daughter’s timid transition into womanhood, as the father more or less resigns himself to seeing his paternal authority challenged. But in the end, the adults – the “grown-ups” – turn out to be just as fragile as the youngsters.

Full of long takes, Novion’s film is a subtle portrait of a blossoming teenage girl. But Grown Ups is also pure comedy, with a wonderful performance by Darroussin. Playing the archetypal Frenchman abroad, the actor delights in the gentle ridicule of this narrow-minded librarian who flaunts his knowledge based on quotations and is never without his metal detector, as he cherishes an absurd dream of finding Viking treasure.

Produced by French company Moteur S'il Vous Plait Production (70% investment), Grown Ups was co-produced by Sweden’s DFM Fiktion (30%). The film’s overall budget of €1.77m included a €400,000 advance on receipts from the National Film Centre (CNC), €75,000 in backing from the Swedish Film Institute, €250,000 from Eurimages, financial support from Film i Väst and pre-sales from TPS Star and Cine Cinema.

The film will be released domestically in September by Memento Films, who are also handling international sales.

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(Translated from French)

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