4 items from 2014
“There ain’t no sin, there ain’t no wrong, there’s just things people do,” opines a washed-up detective (Jason Isaacs) to an unemployed insurance adjuster (Wes Bentley) turned armed robber in what is, remarkably, one of the least heavy-handed moments from “Things People Do,” a wildly overwrought and frequently preposterous recession-era morality play that marks the feature directing debut of veteran film editor Saar Klein. Burdened with absurd plot twists and two-ton metaphors (including a Chekhovian gun and a swimming pool more symbolic than Gatsby’s), this depressive drama about the desperate measures called for by desperate times will need its own strongarm tactics to see any significant theatrical exposure following its Berlin and SXSW premieres. Midrange name cast portends brisker ancillary traffic.
Lest we harbor any doubt about what kind of movie this is going to be, “Things People Do” opens with Bentley’s Bill Scanlin poking »
- Scott Foundas
In Berlin to present Peter Weber’s “Fresh” at the Berlin Co-production Market, France’s Full House, run by Didar Domehri, Gael Nouaille and Laurent Baudens, has boarded the untitled second feature by Argentina’s Santiago Mitre.
Mitre’s debut “The Student” established him as one of the brightest and most assiduously courted of young directors in Latin America.
Argentina’s Union de los Rios produces with Full House, Argentine broadcast net Telefe, Ignacio Viale and Lita Stantic, whose credits include the first films of New Argentine Cinema icons: Pablo Trapero, Adrian Caetano and Lucrecia Martel.
Co-written with “Student’s” co-scribe Mariano Llinas, Mitre’s second feature shoots from June in Argentina’s Misiones province and Paraguay. It has Cnc World Cinema Support funding.
“Almost a flip-side to ‘The Student, »
- John Hopewell
Berlin – Funny Balloons, the Paris-based sales agent behind two big Berlin arthouse hits – 2012’s “No,” 2013’s “Gloria” – has set its largest sales slate ever with movies by Laurent Cantet, Sebastian Silva, Abel Ferrara, and Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delepine, and Arnold de Parscau.
A 2008 Palme d’Or winner (“The Class”), Cantet is in post on “Vuelta a Ithaca.” Written with Cuba’s Leonardo Padura, “Ithaca” takes in an old-friends reunion dinner on a Havana rooftop-terrace. Full House, Orange Studio, Haut et Court and Funny Balloons produce; Haut et Court distributes in France.
“A very universal story about friendship and relationships, in the unique context of Cuba,” per Funny Balloon’s founder Peter Danner, “Ithaca” has already struck pre-sales.
Penned by Delepine (“Mammuth”), 25-year-old Arnold de Parscau’s “Ablation,” – “a beautiful, original, moody film noir,” per Danner – boasts an unusually top-notch cast for a debut: Denis Menochet, the French farmer in “Inglourious Basterds, »
- John Hopewell
Paris — The downfall of U.S. specialty divisions in 2008 opened up a whole new range of opportunities for ambitious French producers and helmers to step up to the plate, gaining access to American talent, tapping into wider financing resources, with the hope of reaching worldwide audiences with smart, auteur-driven indie pics.
But five years or so later, while the American independent market has bounced back, driven by resourceful and deep-pocketed players like FilmNation, Exclusive, an amped-up Lionsgate, the Weinstein Co. and Voltage, a wave of disappointing French-helmed English-language feature debuts has left many French producers and filmmakers with a hangover.
Recent examples of cold showers inflicted in France include Guillaume Canet’s 1970s-set drama “Blood Ties,” with Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard and Mila Kunis (Wild Bunch, budget: $25 million, French B.O.: €1.5 million); Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s adventure tale “The Young and Prodigious Spivet” with Helena Bonham Carter (Gaumont, budget: $33 million, »
- Elsa Keslassy
4 items from 2014
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