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RELEASES Belgium

Record number of releases

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Record number of releases

This is a busy week before Christmas, as 14 films hit Belgian screens, setting a record for 2008.

This avalanche of new releases includes ten European films that will compete for viewers’ attention. With the Christmas holidays approaching, distributors are in competitive mode.

After last week’s launch of the third instalment of Piet Piraat [+see also:
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(“Pete the Pirate”), Kinepolis are releasing three films covering all age groups. Niko and the Way to the Stars [+see also:
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by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen is aimed at very young audiences. This Finnish/German/Danish/Irish co-production was sold to over 100 countries (by sales agent The Weinstein Company) and enjoyed immense success in Finland.

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Kinepolis are also counting on local family comedy Blinker en de Blixvater to entertain young Flemish cinemagoers who are missing school.

Adult viewers have not been forgotten, for they will be able to see Gaston Berghmans (who turned 82 this spring) – a true living legend of Flemish comedy – in his first big-screen appearance in Christmas in Paris. Directed and produced by brothers Hans and Benjamin Poyaards, Christmas in Paris is a festive comedy drama in which three lonely characters cross paths: a young, 16-year-old orphan, a comedian at the end of his career, and a mysterious piano virtuoso.

Among the French-language releases, Cinéart are this week hoping for success with two films for different generations. Children will have the chance to discover Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins, an animal documentary produced by BBC Films.

Meanwhile, young and not-so-young adults will surely be tempted by the free film adaptation of the first four volumes of Largo Winch [+see also:
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, the cult comic book by Belgium’s Jean Van Hamme. Directed by Jérôme Salle, this work could be the first in a long series if Tomer Sisley’s performance as the nonchalant multimillionaire law upholder impresses audiences.

Kinepolis’ and Cinéart’s releases will compete for audiences alongside a selection of more or less ambitious films: Nicolas Bary’s debut film The Children of Timpelbach (co-produced by Belgium’s Scope Pictures); The Wedding Song [+see also:
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by Karin Albou (who first came to attention with Little Jerusalem); and Lasse Persson’s Swedish title Laban the Little Ghost: Spooky Time.

The line-up also includes Jean Van de Velde’s Dutch film Wit Licht, shot in Uganda and starring Dutch singer Marco Borsato; Philippe Haïm’s Secrets of State [+see also:
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, a rather accomplished French-style espionage thriller; and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, which will struggle against such stiff competition despite its record 73-print run.

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(Translated from French)

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