Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #2 - French Directors

Venezia71 has four French productions in the competition and a lot more co productions, making France the country with more films in the competition. These are the four French directors that are in competition.

Benoît Jacquot

Born in February 1947 Jacquot has a long career that began around the early 70's and spans from the small to the big screen. But perhaps his best known films are 2006 L'intouchable (The Untouchable) that was in competition at Venice and got the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Isild Le Besco and Les adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen) that won the Prix Louis Delluc and was in competition at 2012 Berlinale. But he has been in Cannes several times, not his first time in Venice nor in Berlin, so he is well-known in the festival circuit.

According to the fest archive, Jaquot has been 6 times in La Mostra and this year will be his seventh time. This time he is in competition with Trois Coeurs -aka 3 Coeurs- (Three Hearts) a drama with the most amazing female cast: Catherine Deneuve, Charlote Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroianni.

I'm curious about this film as the cast suggests film could be fantastic for great performances even when yes, I consider the original cast superior, sigh. The original Gainsbourg role choice was Marion Cotillard and the original Mastroianni role choice was Léa Seydoux.

Basic info about Trois Coeurs
Director: Benoît Jacquot
Scriptwriter: Benoît Jacquot and Julien Boivent
Original Language: French
Length: 1 hr 46 min
Production country: France
Production companies: Rectangle Productions, Wild Bunch, Pandora Film Produktion, Scope Pictures, Arte France Cinéma, WDR/ARTE, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Charlote Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni and Benoît Poelvoorde

One night in a French provincial city, Marc meets Sylvie after missing his train back to Paris. They wander through the streets until morning, talking about everything except themselves, in rare, almost choreographed, harmony. Marc takes the first train back, and sets a date with Sylvie in Paris, a few days later. They know nothing about each other, but this is much more than a game. It’s the way it has to be. Sylvie keeps the date. Misfortune befalls Marc, and he cannot. He searches for her and ends up finding someone else. Sophie. He does not know that she is Sylvie’s sister. Marc and Sylvie meet again. Their unparalleled harmony still exists… but it is too late…

Check trailer @MOC

Xavier Beauvois

Born in March 1967 he began his career as an actor with many interesting performances but soon enough he starts to direct and his first feature film Nord gets recognition for his performance and his debut. He has been in Cannes several times, worth mentioning the Jury Prize winner N'oublie pas que tu vas mourir and the Grand Prix winner Des hommes et des dieux.

Seems it is his third time at La Mostra as the first time was in 2000 with Selon Matthieu, followed by Le petit lieutenant in 2005 and with his sixth film, La rançon de la gloire in 2014.

I'm not a fan of French comedies but there are always exceptions and hope that this comedy is more a drama than a comedy or like I read somewhere, a black/dark "smart" comedy. Still I have to see everything that Nadine Labaki directs and acts plus who could resist a movie about Chaplin with some Chaplin family members in film? Not me. Sigh.

Basic info about La rançon de la gloire (The Price of Fame)
Director: Xavier Beauvois
Scriptwriter: Etienne Comar and Xavier Beauvois
Original Language: French
Production country: France, Belgium and Switzerland
Production companies: Why Not Productions, Rita Productions, Les Films du Fleuve
Starring: Benoît Poelvoorde, Nadine Labaki, Roschdy Zem, Peter Coyote, Chiara Mastroianni, and Dolores Chaplin.

On the shores of Lake Geneva lies the small Swiss town of Vevey. It's the end of the 70s. On his release from prison Eddy - a harddrinking 40-year-old Belgian - is greeted by his friend, Osman. They have made a deal: Osman will let Eddy stay in his shed and in exchange, Eddy will take care of his 7-year-old daughter Samira while her mother is in the hospital. It's the Christmas season, but their shared, grinding poverty has made Eddy quite bitter. Then Charlie Chaplin's death is announced on the television, as well as the true extent of his fabulous wealth. Eddy starts daydreaming... and comes up with a crazy idea: what if he stole the actor's corpse and demanded a ransom from the family?

Loosely based on true events, The Price of Fame spins a web around the audacious concept of a resuscitated Chaplin, a Chaplin whose soul gradually possesses the minds of these two misfits, until their journey becomes a tale worthy of the Little Tramp himself!

Film still, no trailer is available yet.

Alix Delaporte

The only female director in the competition comes for the second time to La Mostra with her second feature film, Le dernier coup de marteu as her debut film, Angèle et Tony opened in the 2010 Venice Critics Week. But she already has a Silver Lion as in 2006 she collected the award for her short film Comment on freine dans une descente.

She's a journalist by profession and worked in Canal + as a camera woman; but in 1998 goes to la FEMIS to study scriptwriting and she has several works as a writer for the small and big screen. It is in 2003 when she does her first short film Le piège. Her short career as a director has been very successful in the festival circuit and in Venice in particular.

Not really familiar with director and wonder if this film story will appeal to my taste but definitively will give film a try.

Basic info about Le dernier coup de marteau (The Last Hammer Blow)
Director: Alix Delaporte
Scriptwriter: Alix Delaporte and Alain Le Henry
Original Language: French
Production country: France
Production companies: Lionceau Films, France 2 Cinéma
Starring: Clotilde Hesme, Grégory Gadebois and Candela Peña

Victor, a 14 year old boy, lives with his mother on a beach in the South of France. He never knew his father and pretends that he doesn’t need him. But when he finds out his father, a symphony conductor, is nearby rehearsing with an orchestra, Victor is determined to meet him and create a relationship.

Film still, no trailer available yet.

David Oelhoffen

Born in 1968. After working in production in 1996 he writes and directs his first short film Le Mur and four short films follow, with Sous le Bleu premiering at 2004 Venice fest; is in 2006 when he does his first feature film, Nos retrouvailles which premieres at 2007 Cannes in the Critics' Week section. Her second feature film, Loins des Hommes premieres at 2014 Biennale but already is an award winner as in 2010 the screenplay won the Grand Prix for Best Screenplay at the most prestigious French Scriptwriting awards, Prix Sopadin.

Not familiar with director but believe that because of story, huge fan of Albert Camus, and because Viggo is in film , it has become must be seen for me.

Basic info about Loin des Hommes (Far From Men)
Director: David Oelhoffen
Scriptwriter: David Oelhoffen and Antoine Lacomblez. Inspired by the short story L'hôte from the compilation L'exil et le royaume by Albert Camus.
Original Language: French
Length: 1 hr 55 min
Production country: France
Production companies: One World Films, Agora Films, Kaleo Films, Pathé, Perceval Pictures, ouror Développement
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Reda Kateb

1954. While the rebellion grows in the valley, two men, divided in everything, will have to flee through the Algerian mountains. In the midst of a glacial winter, Daru, an isolated teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a boy accused of murder, to the French authorities. Nailed by riders claiming blood revenge, and by vengeful settlers, both men will have to raise together and fight to win back their freedom.

Film stills, trailer not available yet.

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