9 items from 2017
If you’re looking for something related to Sergio Corbucci or Quentin Tarantino, one will have to keep searching. Rather, Django tells the story of famous musician Django Reinhardt as he flees from a German-occupied Paris in 1943. Premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival as its opener, the first trailer has now landed for Etienne Comar‘s drama starring Reda Kateb (A Prophet, Zero Dark Thirty) ahead of a release in France this spring.
We said in our review, “this drama about an artist who – at first – ignores the rise of far-right fascism in Europe (“who I play to is of no concern” Reinhardt argues) proves, by its close, an effective warning of the troubles of collaborationists and appeasers to society’s malignant forces. While it’s narratively unadventurous and its characters are undeveloped, this debut by French director Étienne Comar does have the ring of prescience, and is all the better for it. »
- Jordan Raup
Sam Raimi is in no big rush to make his next movie, though he’s certainly been stacking up quite a few options. Perhaps the most high profile is a Hollywood redo of Jacques Audiard‘s intense “A Prophet,” while on the blockbuster front he’s taken a look at “World War 3” and the tornado heist movie “Stormfall.” Well, Raimi is putting another big project into the mix.
- Kevin Jagernauth
With four films likely premiering (or already set for a release) this year, Jake Gyllenhaal has now found his next role. The Enemy star is set to join Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly for The Sisters Brothers, according to Variety. The latest film from Palme d’Or-winner Jacques Audiard (Dheepan, A Prophet, Rust and Bone), the neo-noir western is an adaptation of the novel by the same name from Patrick DeWitt, which centers on two brothers (Riley and Phoenix) who are hired to kill a man. This will be Audiard’s first full English-language film and as for Gyllenhaal, following last fall’s Nocturnal Animals, he’ll have Life, Stronger, Wildlife, and Okja all arriving this year.
Meanwhile, another top Hollywood star, Oscar Isaac, has joined the cast of a new World War II thriller titled The Garbo Network. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the espionage tale penned by »
- Mike Mazzanti
“Farewell, My Queen” director Benoit Jacquot is preparing “Mr. Casanova,” a film about the life of Giacomo Casanova, the famed Italian libertine, adventurer and author, who will be played by French star Vincent Lindon.
Lindon, who won a prize in Cannes for his role in Stephane Brize’s “The Measure of a Man” and served on Cannes’ jury last year, last worked with Jacquot on “Diary of a Chambermaid,” which competed in Berlin in 2015.
Written by Jacquot, Chantal Thomas and Jerome Beaujour (“The Nun”), the film centers on Casanova’s life in exile in London at the age of 45 and will shed light on his unrequited passion for a 25 year-old woman, the first and only who ever resisted him, Larsen said.
Thomas, an expert on Casanova, wrote the novel “Casanova, Un voyage libertin” in the 1980s. »
- Elsa Keslassy
Jake Gyllenhaal is one of our finest working actors. A talent that commands the screen like few others right now, he’s arguably at the peak of his craft, and everything he does seems more exhilarating than the last performance. The same compliments can be extended to Joaquin Phoenix, too. That makes Gyllenhaal’s involvement in The Sisters Brothers, which stars Phoenix and John C. Reilly, all the more exciting. Here’s hoping they’re only stronger in each other’s company.
An adaptation of Patrick DeWitt’s 2011 novel of the same name, The Sisters Brothers is set in 1851 and follows Eli and Charlie Sisters, two brothers and notorious assassins, hired to kill a gold prospector named Hermann Kermit Warm (Reilly, presumably) who stole from their boss. It’s unclear who’ll play Charlie and Eli specifically, but Gyllenhaal and Phoenix fill the roles nevertheless. The forthcoming indie will be »
- Will Ashton
- Edward Davis
In Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown,” Sean Penn boasts, “I’m considered the best guitar player maybe that ever lived, certainly in this country. There’s this gypsy in France, and he’s the most beautiful thing I ever heard.” The only guitarist superior to Penn’s fictional Emmet Ray? Django Reinhardt, a Belgian-born hot-jazz strummer whose talent saved him during World War II.
As a historical-fiction account of this wartime chapter in the jazz legend’s life, “Django” delivers a showcase role for gifted actor Reda Kateb, who’s had small parts in “A Prophet” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” but is otherwise rarely seen outside of France. It also marks a rather poignant choice to open the 2017 Berlinale, since the film — while not an especially compelling or well-told biopic unto itself — shines much-needed attention on the plight of the Roma people at the hands of German (and French) officials. »
- Peter Debruge
Paris-based company Indie Sales has acquired Teddy Lussi-Modeste’s sophomore feature, “The Price of Success” (“Un vrai batard”), a drama starring a topnotch French cast headlined by Tahar Rahim (“The Past,””A Prophet”), Roschdy Zem (“Bodybuilder,””Days of Glory”) and Maiwenn (“Polisse,””Love is the Perfect Crime”).
Co-written by Lussi-Modeste and Rebecca Zlotowski (“Planetarium”), “The Price of Success” tells the tale of Brahim, a stand-up comedian from a working-class family whose success destroys his relationship with his family.
Lussi-Modeste previously teamed with Zlotowski to write the script of his directorial debut “Jimmy Riviera,” a critical success and won the Audience Award at Angers, among other prizes.
A personal project for Lussi-Modeste, “The Price of Success” describes the struggle of a man trying to break free of his family’s expectations.
“The Price of Success” is produced by Kazak Productions, an up-and-coming Paris-based outfit whose credits include “The Wakhan Front” and “Corporate, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Since scooping up the Camera d’Or in Cannes with her directorial debut “Divines,” Houda Benyamina, the ambitious 36-year-old French-Moroccan – one of France’s rare Arab female filmmakers of North African origin — has become one of the country’s hottest emerging directors.
“Divines,” which was picked up by Netflix off of Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, will vie for a foreign-language Golden Globe on Jan. 8, alongside Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle.” Benyamina has just signed up with Wme agent Jerome Duboz, whose wide-ranging client list includes South Korean film master Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden”), up-and-coming Indian helmer Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”), and multi-hyphenate film vet Wim Wenders (“Submergence”).
Benyamina, whose acceptance speech in Cannes gave a taste of her acerbic, bold personality and ruffled the feathers of some high-profile French industry figures, hasn’t been blinded by the spotlight.
“Since Cannes, I have been approached by many American agents, but I immediately clicked with Jerome Duboz, »
- Elsa Keslassy
9 items from 2017
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