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BERLINALE 2009 Competition / France

Bouchareb’s London River to screen in competition

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Bouchareb’s London River to screen in competition

A French initiative production is included in the initial list of six titles set to screen in competition at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival (February 5-15, 2009): Rachid Bouchareb’s London River [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

The director of Algerian origin will once again see his work showcased at the German event, eight years after Little Senegal (in competition at Berlin in 2001), and become a true regular at the major festivals after Days of Glory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jean Bréhat
interview: Rachid Bouchareb
film profile
]
scooped honours at Cannes (joint Best Actor 2006 on the Croisette, where the director won an award in 1991 for Cheb in the French Film Perspectives section).

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French/UK co-production London River stars UK actress Brenda Blethyn (winner of a Golden Globe and nominated for Best Actress Oscar in 1997 for Secrets and Lies) and Malian actor Sotigui Kouyate (Little Senegal). The cast also includes three actors from Days of Glory (Sami Bouajila Roschdy Zem and Bernard Blancan), Ireland’s Francis Magee, and Diveen Henry and Gurdepak Chaggar.

Co-written by the director, his regular collaborator Olivier Lorelle (the pair won the 2007 Cesar for Best Screenplay) and Zoé Galeron, London River is inspired by the London bombings of July 7, 2005.

The film tells the story of Ousmane, a 60-year-old Muslim forester who lives in France, and Mrs Sommers, a 55-year-old Christian, who lives in England. Both characters lead ordinary lives like anyone else, until the day when their children are reported missing after a terrorist attack in London.

Even though they are of different religions, together they share the hope of finding their children alive. During this encounter, barriers fall away: all that remains are two identical human beings dealing with the pain of their experience.

Produced for television by Tessalit Productions (Jean Bréhat and Bouchareb) for Arte, London River was made on a €2m budget. This included UK co-production support from The Bureau (Bertrand Faivre and Matthieu de Braconier) and €107,000 in backing from the Ile-de-France region.

The feature will be released in French theatres at the end of 2009 by Tadrart Films.

(Translated from French)

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