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Paris– After purging Canal Plus from its key execs, Vincent Bollore’s Vivendi is shaking up the company’s thriving film banner, Studiocanal. Oliver Courson, the prexy of Studiocanal, is leaving the company and is getting replaced by Didier Lupfer, who was recently tapped president of Canal Plus’ film division.
Vivendi also announced its acquisition of a 30-percent stake in Stephane Celerier’s Mars Films, a Paris-based leading distributor known for handling the biggest American indies and French hits. Celerier joins Studiocanal as vice president of the studio.
Celerier will however remain boss of Mars Films as his contract with Vivendi allows him to keep distributing acquisitions made via Mars. He will also be free to hand out international rights of in-house productions to third-party sales agents. Snd, for instance, is handling worldwide sales on his new project “Two is a Family” with Omar Sy.
Over the years, Celerier, who »
- Elsa Keslassy
Peter Debruge: Well, I didn’t see that coming. In what feels like a twist ending — one that leaves me feeling a bit like Tim Roth at the end of “Chronic” — the Cannes jury has awarded the Palme d’Or to “Dheepan,” a movie that lags among my least favorites in the competition, and the weakest in Jacques Audiard’s filmography.
People have been throwing the word “weak” around a lot this week, grousing that the official selection doesn’t measure up to that of previous years. I defer to you, Scott and Justin, since you’ve each been attending Cannes for longer than I have (this is only my fifth time on the Croisette), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, it’s that Cannes critics always like to complain that the present year’s crop feels meager by comparison to past editions, »
- Peter Debruge, Scott Foundas and Justin Chang
Variety critics Scott Foundas, Justin Chang, Peter Debruge, Guy Lodge, Jay Weissberg and Maggie Lee weighed in with their choices for the 21 best films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (listed in alphabetical order):
1. “Amy.” British director Asif Kapadia followed up his 2010 “Senna” with this even more daring and revealing portrait of the brilliant but tragic jazz diva Amy Winehouse. Drawing on a wealth of professional and user-generated video, Kapadia again eschews the usual talking-heads interview format to keep WInehouse front and center for two harrowing hours, during which we come to understand how thoroughly the troubled singer lived her life under the camera’s relentless and unforgiving gaze. The result is an unforgettable portrait of the cult of celebrity in the iPhone era. (Scott Foundas)
- Variety Staff
Given the number of films in competition (19), the correspondingly infinite number of possible award/talent configurations, and the sheer impossibility of guessing at the individual and collective tastes of nine jurors, predicting the major award winners at the Cannes Film Festival is obviously a fool’s errand — and one that our critics on the Croisette have gladly undertaken.
Palme d’Or: “The Assassin.” Word on the street — and among British bookies — is that my own favorite film of the fest, Yorgos Lanthimos’ high-wire relationship fantasy “The Lobster,” is the one to beat, though whether that’s based on honest hearsay or a projection of the Coen brothers’ taste for dryer-than-dust comedy, I can’t say. As much as it would thrill me to see such a singular combination of concept-y formalism and perverse heart-tugging take the prize, I have a hard time seeing it as the unifying consensus »
- Guy Lodge and Justin Chang
Underscoring market appetite for high-profile arthouse movies, Euro film-tv group Studiocanal has sold most all of the world – save for the U.S. and Japan – on “Mon Roi,” with Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot.
They come as Studiocanal’s intl. sales head Anna Marsh confirmed momentum off Cannes on a U.S. sale for Stephen Frears’ “The Program,” starring Ben Foster, who, from the evidence of a promo, bears an uncanny resemblance to Lance Armstrong.
Variety reported last week that several distributors expressed interest in the project. A U.S. deal should go down in the next two weeks, Marsh said.
- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy
After her gritty third feature film Polisse, winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2011, Maïwenn tackles a passionate relationship in Mon Roi (My King) a classic, dramatic Gallic manner where emotions seesaw but never quite strike a balance. Maïwenn is skilled at transcribing real life in her films, never hesitating to push the limits, her protagonists often too honest for comfort. Yet we can’t quite believe in this bipolar love story, how someone can remain trapped in a relationship even when all the escape routes are wide open. Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot), a lawyer, hadn’t chosen the easy way out. After damaging her knee in a skiing accident, she finds herself in a convalescence center. In between rehabilitation exercises and her free time where she hangs out with a group of young suburban working-class guys, she reflects in flashbacks on her turbulent 10-year relationship with ex-husband Georgio (Vincent Cassel »
- Talia Soghomonian
First invited to Cannes in 1997, when her student short “Les vacances” won the jury prize, Emmanuelle Bercot has been back several times — unveiling her graduate thesis in Cinefondation the following year; premiering her first feature, “Clement,” in Un Certain Regard; as actress and co-writer on Maiwenn’s “Polisse.” This year, her film “Standing Tall” opened the fest.
How do you feel about being selected for such a high-profile spot at Cannes?
What’s unique this time is that Thierry Fremaux chose (“Standing Tall”) as the opening film, which was very surprising. Normally, the films chosen for opening night are very glamorous with huge international stars, and though it stars Catherine Deneuve, my film is more of a social drama. It touched me enormously not only that he selected a film like this one.
Why did Fremaux describe the film as being politically engaged?
He was referring to the events that »
- Peter Debruge
It was with her multi-angled, social dramedy where the actress, slowly turning into filmmaker (2006’s Pardonnez-moi and 2009’s Le bal des actrices) made her presence known by lassoing the Jury Prize for her third film and first In Competition trip. While Polisse utilized more of a multiple dossier approach for social ills and it’s no “accident” that she made a back-to-back Cannes presence and we’re sure it has nothing to do with filling a female filmmaker quota. Maiwenn’s Mon Roi (My King), which was co-written with Of Gods and Men‘s Etienne Comar covers a subject that is all too familiar in French cinema: marriage breakdown from the bourgeois Parisian told with a rear-view window approach. Featuring Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Bercot, Louis Garrel and her sister Isild Le Besco, this a modern Paris where the men are a more or less chauvinistic appears to have been the »
- Eric Lavallee
If you had maybe cherished hopes of being able to go into the first (of 2) Cannes 2015 Competition titles to be directed by a woman, and not immediately viewing the story through the prism of gender, the themes of Maïwenn's "Mon Roi" would quickly shatter those illusions. After a short prologue, the the "Polisse" director places us firmly in battle of the sexes-type territory, where we witness the first meeting of the couple whose tempestuous and and passionate relationship the film will spend the rest of its considerable runtime (130 minutes) exploring. In fact "battle" may be misleading — Tony and Georgio's whirlwind courtship and subsequent rocky marriage is more like a long, drawn-out campaign of small victories, stunning defeats, ceasefires, and long stretches of stalemate. But that martial imagery belies Maïwenn's light touch with the material, which bubbles along engagingly, and with just enough humility and »
- Jessica Kiang
Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to recognize that a relationship has run its course — or more difficult still, that the match may not have been healthy in the first place. In her fourth film as director, French actress-turned-helmer Maiwenn is concerned first and foremost with her characters, who rank among the most vividly realized of any to have graced the screen in recent memory, but behind that is the pain and heartache of fighting for a love that’s ultimately damaging to both parties. Despite a well-deserved track record in Cannes (where her previous feature, “Polisse,” won the Jury Prize), Maiwenn remains under-appreciated by the critical community, but that will change after the world experiences “Mon roi,” a movie that may sound anti-romantic, but is just the opposite: boldly ultra-romantic, of the sort that has turned French pics (like “Jules and Jim” or “A Man and a Woman”) into worldwide hits before. »
- Peter Debruge
Read More: The 2015 Indiewire Cannes Bible French actress-turned-director Maïwenn's Cannes-acclaimed 2011 ensemble comedy "Polisse" was an energetic portrait of officers in France's juvenile division that, if anything, strained from too many moving parts. Her follow-up, "Mon Roi" ("My King"), suffers from too few. Despite committed turns by Vincent Cassel and Emmanuelle Bercot as an unlikely couple who meet cute, have a kid and wind up squabbling over whether they should separate, "Mon Roi" never moves beyond the basic trappings of its formula. Worse, it repeats the same tropes over and over again for two hours, as if the filmmaker ran out of steam along with her central couple. "Mon Roi" starts out intriguingly enough, with Bercot's character Tony speeding down a mountaintop and wrecking her knee, sending her to rehabilitation. Later, she's interrogated by a doctor who asks her to explain the mindset that led her to such »
- Eric Kohn
Wielding the biggest movie production-distribution-sales muscle of any film company outside the U.S., Euro film-tv group Studiocanal has boarded Marion Cotillard starrer “From the Land of the Moon” (Mal de Pierres), an upscale period drama produced by Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor.
Studiocanal will handle world sales rights to “From the Land of the Moon” and distribute it France, the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand, where it runs direct distribution operations.
Cotillard will play opposite Louis Garrel, a French actor who earned a Cesar nom for his perf in Bertrand Bonello’s “Saint Laurent” and made his directorial debut with “Two Friends,” which opens at Cannes’ Critics Week this year.
Witten by Garcia and Jacques Fieschi (“Yves Saint Laurent”) and adapted from Milena Agus’ bestseller “Mal de pierres,” the post-World War II drama is a portrait of a sensitive and wild-spirited woman torn between the »
- Elsa Keslassy
Julie Delpy’s comeback to French cinema “Lolo,” a comedy in which she stars opposite Dany Boon (“Welcome to the Cht’is”), Karin Viard (“Polisse”) and Vincent Lacoste (“Hippocrate”), is selling massively at Cannes.
Wild Bunch reps the film and unveiled a promo at Cannes, yielding pre-sales in over 25 territories, including Germany (Nfp/Warner Bros.), Benelux (Belga), Turkey (Bir), Israel (Eden Cinema), Switzerland (Impulse), Greece (Feelgood), Lusomdundo (Portugal), Hong Kong (Edko), Scandinavia (Non-Stop Entertainment), Poland (Kino Swiat), Brazil (Mares Filmes).
Now in post, the movie toplines Delpy as a 40-year-old workaholic who falls for a provincial computer geek, Jean-Rene (Boon), while on a spa retreat with her best friend (Viard). The promising romance starts to unravel when Jean-Rene meets her cherished 20-year-old son, Lolo (Lacoste), and discovers their unusual relationship.
- Elsa Keslassy
After a swerve into gritty, class-spanning ensemble drama centered around child-protection cops with her last, Polisse, actor-turned-writer-director Maiwenn returns to more familiar territory with Mon Roi (My King) a domestic drama about a tempestuous marriage between two bourgeois Parisians. It's all too easy to sneer that it's a subject that's been covered thousands of times before ad nauseum in French cinema. However, the director, her co-screenwriter Etienne Comar and the exceptional cast led by Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel have an acute enough eye for the manners and mores of these archetypes to make the material
- Leslie Felperin
Jostling Juvi: Bercot’s Take Familiar Stance on the System
Exploring a few too many problematic delinquency issues than it can rightly address, Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall (La Tête haute) reaches solid emotional plateaus within its belabored and all too familiar scenario. Opening the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, only the second female director to ever do so in the fest’s history, its selection is in regard to the film’s messages concerning tolerance in the wake of last year’s horrific Charlie Hedbo shootings. And Bercot’s film certainly seems to be making some clear points, even if it creates other logical problems in this exploration of one wild child’s thrill ride through France’s juvenile justice system. Likeable performances from notable cast members thankfully avoid schmaltzy tendencies, for the most part, and Bercot scores her greatest points with newcomer Rod Paradot.
We meet Judge Florence Blacque (Catherine Deneuve »
- Nicholas Bell
The Cannes Film Festival opens with a stronger-than-usual domestic drama, the second directed by a woman, actress-director Emmanuelle Bercot, who is also starring in competition film "Mon Roi," from another woman actor-director, Maiwenn ("Polisse"). Catherine Deneuve is superb as an authoritative yet empathetic judge who takes extraordinary control of the life of six-year-old Malony when his mother (Sara Forestier) dumps him in her office, one with which we become familiar over a decade. She removes any sharp objects before Malony makes a visit. Rookie actor Rod Paradot brings power and vulnerability to the role of the volatile young Malony, who loves his mother--and even the judge--but can't handle any criticism or authority. He goes from zero to sixty in seconds, often self-destructively, and loves stealing cars. Read Indiewire's review here. Benoit Magimel plays the counselor who bonds with the kid--countless people are invested in saving him. The »
- Anne Thompson
Arriving in Cannes jetlagged on a cloudless summer morning (the Mediterranean summer’s already here) I was greeted by a cultural shock of sorts – the hundreds of festival staff, hosts, security, building contractors, are all extremely friendly, helpful, polite and funny – the antithesis of Paris. The Parisian crowd stands out a mile away from the tanned, Southerly pétanque-playing locals. Nevertheless, the overwhelming atmosphere is one of hospitality, warmth and good looks galore.
The first impression of this year’s line-up is the wide range of countries -from Japan to Romania and Ethiopia, from Iran to Croatia – represented by fairly little known filmmakers. While France is the outright leader in terms of the overall number of films screening and there are some big American names well accustomed to Cannes (Woody Allen, Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes), the greatest buzz so far seems to be around the Italian trio (Cannes veteran Nanni »
Star-studded English-language dramas from Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Denis Villeneuve, Justin Kurzel, Paolo Sorrentino and Matteo Garrone will vie for the Palme d’Or alongside new films by Valerie Donzelli, Jacques Audiard, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Jia Zhangke at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival, which unveiled its official selection lineup on Thursday.
While there are only two U.S. directors in competition — Haynes with “Carol,” a 1950s lesbian love story starring Cate Blanchett, and Van Sant with his suicide drama “The Sea of Trees,” pairing Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe — this year’s Palme race looks to feature more high-profile Hollywood talent than any in recent memory. Canada’s Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Enemy”) will bring his Mexican drug-cartel drama “Sicario,” with Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, while Australia’s Kurzel (“The Snowtown Murders”) secured a Palme berth for “Macbeth,” his Shakespeare adaptation toplining Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
La Tête haute tells the story of a juvenile delinquent, Malony, and his upbringing from childhood to adulthood as a children's judge and social worker try to save him.
Thierry Frémaux, Cannes' General Delegate, said: "The choice of this film may seem surprising, given the rules generally applied to the Festival de Cannes Opening Ceremony."
He explained: "It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the Festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving.
"Emmanuelle Bercot's film makes important statements about contemporary society, in keeping with modern cinema. It focusses on universal social issues, »
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