Vanity and frailty in The Actress' Ball
by Fabien Lemercier
"An actress is the ultimate woman, she’s a bit crazier than the rest and needs a little more love. She becomes an actress because it’s the best way to compensate for a lack of affection," says Maïwenn about why she chose to explore the hidden side of actresses in her second feature, The Actress’ Ball [+see also:
film profile], which is being launched domestically today by SND on 115 screens.
Using the same mockumentary format that won her acclaim for her debut feature Forgive Me [+see also:
film profile] (two César 2007 nominations), the director has once again won over critics with a sharp comedy combining truths and falsehoods. This freedom of tone is enhanced by a stellar cast that includes Maïwenn, Jeanne Balibar, Julie Depardieu, Romane Bohringer, Mélanie Doutey, Marina Foïs, Charlotte Rampling, Estelle Lefébure, Linh Dan Pham, Muriel Robin, Karin Viard and Karole Rocher, alongside Joey Starr and Nicolas Briançon.
The film traces the trials and tribulations of a female director who wants to make a documentary about actresses – who are popular, unknown, highbrow, comical, forgotten or botoxed. Filming everything with or without their consent, she gets caught up in their world and is eaten alive by these women who are as fragile as they are manipulative.
Among the eight French productions and co-productions hitting screens this week, critics have also praised Nicolas Saada’s Espion(s) (“Spies”). This Hitchcock-inspired debut feature by a former Cahiers du Cinéma critic stars Guillaume Canet, Géraldine Pailhas and UK actor Stephen Rea and is being released by Mars Distribution on 216 screens.
Other French releases this week include Pierre-François Martin-Laval’s comedy King Guillaume (Walt Disney - 332 screens); Benoît Cohen’s Les Violette (Pyramide - five screens); Jean-Louis Milesi’s Lino (Zelig Films); and Bojena Horackova’s A l'Est de moi (“East of Me”, Bac Films - five screens).
There has also been an enthusiastic press response for Arash T. Riahi’s majority Austrian production For a Moment, Freedom, which is being launched by its co-producer Les Films du Losange on a 26-print run.
The line-up also includes Mexican director Amat Escalante’s Los Bastardos [+see also:
film profile] (launched on 30 screens by its co-producer Le Pacte); Grant Gee’s UK documentary Joy division (Pretty Pictures - ten screens); and Steven Soderbergh’s Che: Part 2 [+see also:
film profile], which was financed by France’s Wild Bunch and Spain’s Telecinco (distributed by Warner).
At the box office, Dany Boon and Sophie Marceau’s double act has enabled Pascale Pouzadoux’s De l'autre côté du lit [+see also:
film profile] (“On the Other Side of the Bed”) to reach 1.2m admissions in three weeks. Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire [+see also:
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile] has got off to an excellent start with 373,000 admissions in 11 days.
(Translated from French)
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