Ashkal to spearhead The Party Film Sales’ Cannes campaign
- Selected for the Directors’ Fortnight, this film noir flirting with sci-fi by Tunisian director Youssef Chebbi shines bright in the French sales agent’s jam-packed line-up
"A crime film in a film noir vein which slowly edges towards sci-fi and has a Tunisian director is a very rare thing. In the first instance, there’s a little of the The Nile Hilton Incident [+see also:
interview: Tarik Saleh
film profile] about it, after which the filmmaker imposes his own highly personal style and signature, chiefly by way of an impressive directorial approach." Clémence Lavigne, who (alongside Samuel Blanc) heads up the international sales team of French agency The Party Film Sales (directed by Sarah Chazelle and Etienne Ollagnier), is making no secret of her enthusiasm for Youssef Chebbi’s Ashkal, which is scheduled to enjoy its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight and which is imposing itself as the lead act in the agent’s line-up for the Marché du Film (running 17 - 25 May), unspooling within the 75th Cannes Film Festival.
Written by Youssef Chebbi and François-Michel Allegrini, Ashkal thrusts us into one of the buildings within the Jardins de Carthage district in Tunis, which was created by the old regime but on which construction was abruptly halted at the beginning of the revolution. Two cops, Fatma (Fatma Oussaifi) and Batal (Mohamed Houcine Grayaa), discover a burnt body in one of the lots. As the building work slowly resumes, they start looking into this curious case. But their investigation takes a worrying turn when a similar event unfolds … This first fiction feature is produced by Parisian firm Supernova in co-production with fellow French outfit Poetik Film and Tunisia’s Blast Film.
Another eye-catching work in The Party Film Sales’ line-up for Cannes is the French-Greenlander feature film (the first ever movie produced by the latter to make it to Cannes) Polaris [+see also:
film profile] by Spain’s Ainara Vera, which is due to be unveiled in the ACID selection. Produced by Point du Jour - Les Films du Balibari together with Ánorâk Film, this fiction feature revolves around Hayat, a skilled seawoman in the Arctic who is navigating her way far away from men and her past.. But when her younger sister Leila gives birth to a little girl, their lives are turned upside down. Guided by the North Star, will they find a way to move past the difficult family fate which binds them together?
The Marché du Film will also see The Party Film Sales pinning their hopes on a flurry of promo reels for post-production titles, including Morrison by Thailand’s Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (who won Best Film within Venice’s 2018 Orizzonti section for his first feature Manta Ray), which is co-produced by French firm CG Cinéma, When it Melts, which is the first feature film directed by Belgian actress Veerle Baetens (read our article), And Yet We Were All Blind by France’s Béatrice Pollet (read our news - starring Maud Wyler and Géraldine Nakache), and The Last Queen [+see also:
interview: Damien Ounouri
film profile] by Damien Onouri and Adila Bendimerad.
Also worth a mention on the documentary side, and set for release very soon, is Tessa-Louise Salomé’s The Wild One (charting the unusual life of Jack Garfein, which took him from the Carpathian Mountains and on to Hollywood), which will enjoy its world premiere in competition in Tribeca; Paradise (working title) by Alexander Abaturov (well-received in the 2018 Berlinale Forum thanks to The Son [+see also:
film profile]), who shot his movie in the Sakha Republic alongside Director of Photography Paul Guilhaume, in an area where huge spontaneous fires break out; and The Lost Souls of Syria by Stéphane Malterre and Garance Le Caisne). And, since diversity is the name of the game when it comes to the agent’s line-up, pre-sales are also set to continue on two French comedies in post-production: Julien Guetta’s offbeat movie Top Dogs (starring Jean-Paul Rouve, Michel Blanc and Grégoire Ludig), and socially-minded offering The Takeover by Gilles Perret (article - starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Laetitia Dosch and Grégory Montel in lead roles).
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.