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9 items from 2017

Rendez-vous With French Cinema New York Puts Focus on Female Filmmakers

1 March 2017 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A new generation of French women helmers is boldly mixing personal and genre cinema to create a fresh image of Gallic cinema abroad.

“Sometimes Americans are curious to see why we have so many women directors, with such strength of vision,” says Unifrance director Isabelle Giordano. “Women directors tackle pressing issues from new angles, with daring, sometimes provocative, approaches, often confronting hard truths in a frank and original manner.”

Almost half the filmmakers attending the Rendez-vous With French Cinema at Lincoln Center that runs March 1-12 ( are women, ranging from veteran Agnès Varda — who is scheduled for a talk at the event — to younger helmers such as Emmanuelle Bercot (“150 Milligrams”), Justine Triet (“In Bed With Victoria”), Julia Ducournau (“Raw,” and one of Variety’s 2017 10 Directors to Watch), Rebecca Zlotowski (“Planetarium”), Katell Quillévéré (“Heal the Living”), and Stéphanie Di Giusto (“The Dancer”).

Top female executives attending the »

- Martin Dale

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Roman Polanski pulls out of French Césars after outcry

24 January 2017 12:44 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

The decision to honour director still haunted by statutory rape charge sparked controversy.

Roman Polanski has turned down an offer to preside over the 42nd edition of the French Césars on Feb 24, his lawyer told French news agency Afp on Tuesday [24].

Last week’s announcement by organising body the Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences sparked controversy in light of the 1977 charge that the director sexually-assaulted a 13-year-old girl on the fringes of a Vogue photoshoot in Los Angeles.

Alongside calls for a boycott, a petition demanding his removal from the role drew some 60,000 signatures.

A number of women’s rights groups had called for a demonstration outside the ceremony, which is due to take place in the Salle Pleyel concert hall in central Paris this year.

Laurence Rossignol, France’s Minister for Families, Children and Women, declared she was “shocked” by the academy’s decision to Polanksi. The country’s Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay refused »

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Roman Polanski to preside over French Césars

18 January 2017 6:04 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Decision to fete director still haunted by 1977 statutory rape charge sparks controversy in some quarters in France. 

French-Polish director Roman Polanski will preside over the 42nd edition of the French Césars on Feb 24, France’s Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences has announced.

“Insatiable aesthete, Roman Polanski has reinvented his art and work over the years,” academy president Alain Terzian said in a statement. 

“Artist, cineaste, producer, screenwriter, actor, director, there are many words that define Roman Polanski but only one to express our admiration and enchantment: thank you.”

However, the decision to honour Polanski has sparked protest from some quarters in France due to the 1977 charge that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl, who was modelling for him on a Vogue magazine shoot in Los Angeles.

News of his César presidency prompted a wave of social media postings protesting that Polanski should be honoured in this way given the rape charge, regardless of the »

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‘Raid: Special Unit,’ ‘,’ ‘Paris Opera’ Fire Up UniFrance Rendez-Vous

16 January 2017 8:03 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris –“Raid: Special Unit,” “,” and “Opera” looked to be among favourite titles at the 19th UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the annual Gallic film market attended by France’s sales agents and around 500 foreign distributors.

Based out of the Place d’Opera, one of Paris’ great grand hotels, the biggest national film showcase in Europe also saw sales on Elle Driver’’s “If I Were a Boy,” and Other Angle’s “Don’t Tell Her” and good word on “You Choose!” sold, like “Raid,” by Pathé .

Most major sales companies will take days if not weeks not close sales on negotiations broached at the Rendez-Vous; the initial reaction, however, is that, with Omar Sy starrer “Two is Family”earning a first-week $1.6 million in Germany off a Jan. 7 bow, the 2017 Rendez-Vous served up a stronger batch of comedies, its main export staple, than in 2017, while its buzz titles prescribed a wider gamut than last year, »

- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy

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Dany Boon on ‘Raid: Special Unit,’ ‘Une Jolie Ch’tite Famille’ (Exclusive)

14 January 2017 8:04 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris — “Does anyone have any question?” Dany Boon asked on Friday introducing “Raid, Special Unit” at the UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris.

A woman put up her hand and said how much she had enjoyed the film, that she was back to see it a second time.

“Thank you very much,” said Boon, translating her comments into English, then joked : “And that by the way, that is my sister.”

Even when just uttering a few words by way of presentation of a film, Boon still has something of the air, passion and techniques of a stand-up comedian, which is how he began in the entertainment business.

Boon’s fifth feature as a director – he pronounced “fifth” in perfect English, showing the benefits of having established his base in Los Angeles with wife Yael Boon – “Raid, Special Unit” is perhaps inevitably a comedy. It currently rates as very »

- John Hopewell

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UniFrance Rendez-Vous: Thomas Kruithof on ‘The Eavesdropper,’ Surveillance, François Cluzet

11 January 2017 7:08 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Hailed by Variety as “a timely political thriller told with edgy flair,” “The Eavesdropper” (aka “Scribe”) begins with Duval (François Cluzet), an accountant, being told by his boss that he needs to present a report the following morning. Duval smiles meekly, says he will get the work done, stays up all night at the office, begins to drink, and has a nervous breakdown. Two years later, he’s out of work, spends his time doing jigsaw puzzles, attends AA.

In the early stretches of “The Eavesdropper,” Cluzet plays a mild-mannered bookkeeper who’s punctual, obsessive-compulsive, and just needs a job to give his life order, as he confesses at AA. Cluzet builds up so much empathy with the spectator that when he’s offered employment transcribing phone conversations for a covert surveillance organization and is trapped in its machinations and murders, the spectator is utterly caught up, too.

With a »

- John Hopewell

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WTFilms launches sales on lesbian rom-com 'Kiss Me!'

11 January 2017 3:20 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: French company also unveils first deals on Jean-Claude Brisseau’s erotic 3D drama Tempting Devils.

Paris-based genre specialist WTFilms has taken on international sales of mainstream, same-sex romantic comedy Kiss Me! (Embrasse Moi!) in which the protagonist falls for a woman with 76 ex-girlfriends and a crazy family.

The company will kick-off sales on the title, which is in post-production, at the Unifrance Rendez-vous with French Cinema this week.

French stand-up comedian Océanerosemarie – best known for her one woman show La Lesbienne Invisible – makes her directorial and big screen debut in the film.

She plays a happy-go-lucky osteopath who falls for the beautiful Cécile, an artist who has taken a personal vow of celibacy after a series of failed relationships.

Alice Pol plays Cécile. The actress’s other recent credits include Dany Boon’s latest comedy Raid Special Unit (Raid Dingue) in which she co-stars as a hopeless special police force recruit. That film is »

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UniFrance Rendez-Vous: Other Angle Pictures Boards ‘In and Out,’ ‘Grounded,’ ‘Just Divorced’ (Exclusive)

6 January 2017 2:56 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In a classic division of labor between a Hollywood studio and independent sales company, Paris-based Other Angle Pictures, France’s biggest comedy export specialist, has boarded three new French titles to be distributed in France by Universal Pictures International France: “In and Out,” “Grounded,” and “Just Divorced.”

Headed by Olivier Albou and Laurence Schonberg, Other Angle Pictures will take up the three comedies with buyers at next week’s UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris. It is also representing two titles from Philippe Rousselet’s Vendome Production, which is positioning itself as the Working Title of France, producing upscale mainstream comedies with higher-profile casts and significant production values. “The Belier Family,” Vendome’s biggest hit to date, grossed about $64 million in France; Omar Sy-starrer “Two Is a Family” has earned over $15 million so far since its Dec. 12 bow.

In and Out” is the first pickup made by Xavier Albert, »

- John Hopewell

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Isabelle Huppert, Dany Boon, Romain Duris, Omar Sy Take Center Stage at 19th UniFrance Paris Rendez-Vous

3 January 2017 9:10 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris — Dany Boon’s “R.A.I.D. Special Unit,” Romain Duris-starrer “The Confession,” and Omar Sy’s “Two Is a Family” will screen at the 19th UniFrance Rendez-Vous With French Cinema, the biggest national film market in the world.

The 2017 edition, which runs Jan. 12-16 at Paris’ Intercontinental Hotel, acts as a sales platform for France’s more commercial movies, many of which will hit theaters in the first part of 2017. The Paris Rendez-Vous also features some notable debuts and arthouse standouts, and highlights trends, talents and challenges in Europe’s biggest movie industry-cum-arthouse-crossover export hub.

Here are 10 things you should know about this year’s edition:

1. Boon, Sy, Reno, And Duris

Boon directs the Pathe-sold “R.A.I.D,” where he plays a misogynistic elite police operative paired with a klutzy female recruit (Alice Pol). 2014’s “Superchondriac,” Boon’s latest movie as a director, earned about $36 million in France, »

- John Hopewell

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