From Laemmle Theatres President Greg Laemmle:
Perfect light fare for the season, the French romantic comedy My Donkey, My Lover, & I follows delightfully zany schoolteacher Antoinette (Laure Calamy of Call My Agent, who won the Best Actress César Award for this charming, funny performance). Antoinette’s vacation plans with her married lover, Vladimir (Benjamin Lavernhe), are ruined when his wife (Olivia Côte) books a surprise hiking trip. On an impulse, Antonette heads to the same mountainous region of the Cévennes National Park where Vladimir and his family are headed, with a hiking itinerary inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic 1878 memoir Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. Completely unversed in the ways of the wilderness, Antoinette forges quick bonds with her rental donkey, Patrick, and several offbeat fellow travelers, as she poignantly and uproariously stumbles towards self-revelation and independence. Take a vicarious summer vacation to the south of French at the Royal and Town Center starting July 22 and the Claremont and Newhall starting July 29.
“In a Paris primary school, a class of eight-year-olds sit behind their desks, eyes squeezed shut, counting to 20. At the back of the room their teacher, Antoinette (Laure Calamy), is getting undressed, slipping into silk frock for the school concert. “It’s not too much?” she asks the pupils. She’s having an affair with one of the dads – he’s married. Thus, with unparalleled Frenchness, begins this easygoing, warm comedy following Antoinette as she accidentally-on-purpose goes on the same donkey-trekking holiday as her lover’s family. As Antoinette bonds with her donkey, the movie evolves from gentle farce to journey of emotional growth. You might call it Eat Bray, Love – except it’s European, so there’s less pseudo-spiritual self-discovery and more drunken snogging…Calamy really grounds the movie with her funny, generous performance.” ~ Leslie Felperin, Guardian
“Calamy’s performance has rightly been awarded for its superb shading, but let’s not forget the donkey, brilliant as her straight man. Who says nobody likes a smart ass?” ~ Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald
From Greg Laemmle:
The movies are back! Or at least, Hollywood blockbusters are back. But if you pay attention to the pundits (always with a grain of salt), you’ll see story after story about how the arthouse audience still hasn’t returned. And to a large degree, this is true. But why? Is the older audience still staying away because of Covid fears? Did they discover streaming during the 13-month shutdown of moviegoing, and they are slow (or never) to come back. Or is there something else contributing to the situation?
Our theatres have been open for over a year since the 13-month shutdown, and every week we present an array of smaller foreign-language films, documentaries, and indie features. Distributors aren’t advertising in print like they did pre-pandemic. But if you look in the LA Times every day, you’ll see our Laemmle Theatres directory ad listing all these titles. But beyond the ads, there is something missing in the paper. Something of vital importance to creating awareness of smaller films. That thing …REVIEWS.
I’m prompted to write this because last week, on Friday, June 10, there was not a single film review in the print edition of the L.A. Times Calendar section. Among other films, the paper completely ignored the French literary adaptation LOST ILLUSIONS, a huge, award-winning hit in France and a critical success here. (The New York Times, which did review it, called the film “sensational.”). Some weeks, the Times has run reviews, but published them days after a film’s opening. And for films that might only end up playing for a week in LA, running a review after the weekend is not particularly helpful, either for the film or for an interested viewer.
Compare this to the pre-pandemic period when a reader could expect to find multiple reviews in the Friday paper, and then plan their weekend (or weekly) moviegoing accordingly.
We know that the newspaper industry has its challenges. We at Laemmle Theatres are pushing our partners in distribution to return as advertisers because we understand that we work in an ecosystem made up of press, advertising, and programming. But having the programming without the press badly depresses turnout. And without ticket sales, distributors are loath to advertise.
It is a sad state of affairs when the paper of record in the movie capital of the world has a film section that is a shadow of its former self, reviewing one or two films per week. The L.A. Times once employed two lead film critics at a time, notably such heavyweights as Charles Champlin, Sheila Benson, Kevin Thomas, Kenneth Turan, and Manohla Dargis. Those writers were backed up by a stable of talented freelancers to cover the plethora of cinema Angelenos are fortunate enough to have access to. Current lead film critic Justin Chang is just as gifted a writer but he’s only one person and can’t cover all the big studio releases in addition to foreign and American indie films too.
We’re going to continue doing what we do, working with filmmakers and distributors to bring the world of cinema to Los Angeles.
What can you do? If you aren’t already a subscriber, subscribe to the Times. Supporting local journalism, even a big city paper like the Times, is important. But as a subscriber, contact the paper and ask for the return of Friday reviews, ideally in the print edition.
They can also look to other local outlets for film coverage. KPCC’s FilmWeek is one excellent resource, with a panel of critics reviewing many of the week’s new attractions. But there are others.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but you can pay more attention to our eNewsletter, website, and social channels, where we keep you informed of the hundreds of different films we screen annually, for long and short engagements. And when you see something you like, don’t keep it to yourself. Please share your enthusiasm so that others will be encouraged to find the film in question.
But ultimately, these alternatives cannot fill the void left by a newspaper that has abandoned its leading role. To the publisher and editors of the L.A. Times: to be the paper of record for a megalopolis like Los Angeles means covering the arts, especially film. And we hope that you will return to your pre-pandemic policy of reviewing films that are opening theatrically in Los Angeles on (or before) the date of their theatrical opening. Together, we can rebuild the audience for the world of film in the movie capital of the world.
In OFFICIAL COMPETITION, which we’ll open June 17 at the Royal before expanding it around the county in the subsequent weeks, Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas star as two egomaniacs commissioned by a millionaire to make a movie together in a sharply comedic skewering of wealth, art, and pride. Asked to describe his film, co-writer-director Gaston Duprat, replied with laughter, “I see it like one of those little ankle-biting dogs nipping at your heels. That’s it.” Banderas said, “The film has very bad blood. It rebels against stupidity.”
“Wondering just how far this film will go is half the fun, and directors Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat choose their moments to push the tone from sharp observational comedy into absurdity.” ~ Anna Smith, Deadline Hollywood Daily
“For viewers willing to go with the flow, the film serves up roughly two hours of sharp reflections deliciously wrapped in entertaining antics.” ~ Lovia Gyarkye, Hollywood Reporter
“Seeing Cruz and Banderas show off their comedic chops is definitely a pleasure, and the farcical final scenes will leave viewers on a high.” ~ Nicholas Barber, indieWire
“Banderas and Martínez play their catty thesps dead straight to generally hilarious effect.” ~ Philip De Semlyen, Time Out
Winner of seven César Awards — Best Film, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Male Newcomer, Cinematography, Costume and Set Design — the sumptuous adaptation of Balzac’s LOST ILLUSIONS follows aspiring poet Lucien de Rubempré as he joins a cynical team of journalists in 19th century Paris and discovers that the written word can be an instrument of both beauty and deceit. Director/co-screenwriter Xavier Giannoli sat for an interview to discuss the movie we’ll open June 10 at the Claremont, Royal, Playhouse and Town Center.
Q: How did you decide to adapt LOST ILLUSIONS for the cinema?
A: I discovered the novel when I was in my twenties, about the same age as Rubempré. I was studying literature and I was fortunate to have a professor named Philippe Berthier, who has since become a great specialist in The Human Comedy [the multi-volume novel of which Lost Illusions is one part]. I had gone to the Sorbonne to be in the neighborhood with its many movie theaters. I didn’t yet know how, but I wanted to devote my life to cinema. Everything led back to it, in one way or another…
I then began to accumulate notes, visual references, studies by Marxist critics or their opposites, the reactionary aesthetes, because critics of all varieties wanted to reclaim Balzac. And as far back as I can remember, I have always lived with the idea of one day making a film adaptation of Illusions. But it was out of the question for me to color the novel’s images, to clumsily plagiarize the story in an academic adaptation. Art feeds on what it burns. Cinema is by nature the transfiguration of a reality or of a book – otherwise what is the point?
Q: What were your choices for this adaptation?
A: After years of exploring the book and its history, I needed to free myself from it, to concentrate on the sensations and feelings the text inspired in me, similar, in a way, to what music can inspire. In fact, it was by listening to a lot of music that I felt the novel become cinema. It was music that brought me back to what we look for beyond words in the work of cinema, especially when it is a literary adaptation.
Some pieces of music were randomly chosen according to my tastes. I found this an original way to approach the work of adaptation. For example, there is the piece by Vivaldi, L’inquiétudine, that opens the film. It is 18th century baroque music re-orchestrated in a “romantic” style by Karajan. Different eras thus discover a secret harmony, like ours with that of Balzac. Max Richter went even further by freely “rewriting” Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as if to express its spirit and modernity without betraying the work… I was also listening to Bach’s concerto for four pianos and orchestra, its incredible “choral” architecture where the themes seem to dialogue from one piano to another. I was thinking of all the characters, of the harmony that had to be found in the adaptation to tie together all these life lines, all these voices, all these tones, the tragic and the comic.
That is how the “movement” was established, the very physical sensation of movement, whether musical or simply that of bodies in the salons, throughout Paris, but also the great movement of a civilization in full mutation. This speed and movement had to be expressed, to be made a part of the setting.
Finally, in a more concrete way, I chose to concentrate on the second part of the novel: Un Grand homme de Province à Paris, the Odyssey of the young provincial who is going to discover “the back side of the scenery” and of consciences in the monstrous city.
Jacques Fieschi’s contribution to the script was very important in helping me to capture the film. He brought a sensitive approach to the characters, helped me to humanize their relationships when Balzac seemed too mocking and punitive.
Q: The character of d’Arthez does not appear in the film…
A: In the novel, d’Arthez is in some way the moral counterpoint of Lousteau. He is a moody, pure young writer who embodies virtue, hard work, patience, and high moral standards. A kind of secular saint who belongs to the Cenacle group, an association of young men who, to put it simply, refuse to compromise themselves by making a pact with the world as it moves towards the race for profit and impatient recognition.
In the novel, Rubempré is torn between Lousteau and d’Arthez, between vice and virtue, but I found this dramatic casting too easy in a film, too didactic. Also, filming simple virtue bored me… While d’Arthez is, in a certain way, Rubempré’s bad conscience when he allows himself to be corrupted, I preferred that this rupture be an internal one, so that Rubempré can have an awareness, even if shrouded in illusions, of what he has renounced.
The spirit of d’Arthez thus flows differently in the film. Several characters see Lucien falling apart and tell him so, warn him… but he ruins himself in spite of everything… Out of revenge, greed, convenience, unawareness, innocence, survival instinct, pleasure… All these “notes” are present in his score and form the theme: the young man caught up in this movement of the world where all the values that structured society until then are shuffled like playing cards, laid out on a table where everyone cheats.
But the important thing for me was not to adopt a moralizing or punitive view of this story. Balzac is both fascinated and frightened by this new society that is paving the way for economic liberalism. He presents himself as a worried humanist rather than a moralizer.
Q: What is this moment in history in which the novel takes place, in the first half of the 19th century?
A: There is a book by Philippe Muray which has a title I like very much: The 19th Century through the Ages. He often evokes Balzac and compares this moment of our history with “our time.” Some similarities are indeed disturbing…
After the blood of the Revolution and the wars of the Empire, French society is longing for a kind of peace, to enjoy it, to have fun… Louis XVIII is in power and he is looking for compromises. The aristocracy has restored the values of the monarchy but the new bourgeois society aspires to social, political and, especially, economic conquests. Louis XVIII is thus a King who is resolutely conservative but, at the same time, is unable to ignore the progress underway.
There was the France “underneath”, the one below the ramparts of Angoulême, and the nobles “above,” up on the hill. It is no accident that Rastignac (in Le père Goriot) and Rubempré both come from this provincial town, whose topography expresses this social divide that both these ambitious young men will want to cross, each in his own way.
But Paris is not about being there but being part of it. The Parisian aristocracy of money was also self-absorbed, jealous of its privileges. To find one’s place, it is necessary to accept the new “rules” imposed by the obsession with profit, even if it means giving up one’s values. “What have they done with us?” Louise will ask Lucien at the end of the film. I am fascinated by the title of a little-known novel by Balzac: Les comédiens sans le savoir [The Unwitting Comedians]. As if, in this society of performance, we have no other choice than to play this comedy, even in spite of ourselves.
Coming from Angoulême full of illusions, Lucien will learn the hard way about these false pretenses and waste something of his beautiful aspirations. I am particularly touched by this theme of lost innocence, of the “waste of self,” of what was beautiful and precious in oneself. The insidious way that an era or an environment has of leading you to deny your ideals, your most beautiful “values.” Thus, the young idealistic poet of Angoulême will end up in Paris writing advertisements whereas he wanted to create something. He has fallen into the trap of “everything, right away”… and Lousteau, too, will admit: “And yet, I was good… I too had a pure heart.” Balzac saw all these young talents wasting themselves, getting lost in the smoke and mirrors.
Following the example of the little Corsican who became emperor of the world, these young people dreamed of conquests, of social revenge, but this time far from the battlefields. Heroism becomes careerist, monetizable. It is even at this time that the first business school was created!
But be careful: Lucien is not a victim. That would be too easy. Balzac also sees the fascinating seduction of this “new world.” Cruelty and melancholy are two notes that I wanted to make resound in the din of the whirlwind.
Q: Exactly what is this world that Balzac sees being born before his eyes?
A: During the period when Balzac was writing Illusions, Marx was in the streets of Paris and Thackeray was preparing Barry Lyndon, which would be published in serial form a little later. There are dozens of other examples of authors who understood that the world had entered “the icy waters of selfish calculation,” to use a phrase dear to Marxists. The critic Georg Lukacs has written magnificent pages on this great novel of the “capitalization of minds” and the “commodification of the world.”
Balzac sees this moment when “being” degenerates into “possessing” and “possessing” degenerates into “appearing” because he is also writing about France’s conversion to capitalism, and the human, political, spiritual and artistic damage caused by this earthquake.
Q: So, with the fundamental value becoming that of profit, can we still know what really has “value” in this world of Illusions, what really has “meaning”?
A: I’m thinking of those books that the publisher Dauriat will not even read. Or the novel by young Nathan, about which Rubempré admits, following his paid “lesson in criticism”, that he no longer knows if he finds it “good or bad”. Or those plays that are booed or applauded by hired claqueurs [a group of people employed to boo or applaud in French theatres].
A fundamental issue is raised here: that of the possibility of meaning in the modern world. What still has meaning in a world where everything is evaluated by a market value? The young poet Rubempré will be hunted down and the young actress sacrificed by the hounds as though in a pagan ritual. Does art still have a place in such a world? And I found it particularly interesting that these questions were captured in a movement of cinema, the machine of illusions par excellence, the spectacle of life… and of death.
Q: The novel is very severe with the journalism of the time.
A: The commercial press is only a sign, in The Human Comedy, of society’s great movement towards the God of profit. An entire civilization is being swept away, not a simple corporation. Balzac is severe with these small newspapers that resembled lawless “gangs,” ready to exchange their opinion for money.
I wanted to film these so-called journalists as gangsters who shoot up careers, defend their territory in theaters and fight with inkwells. For me, wickedness, cruelty and bad faith are as much cinematic material as violence.
But from the moment the press became “commercial,” it was foreseeable that some would respond to imperatives other than the desire to enlighten the reader. A little later, Randolph Hearst will declare, “False information and a denial are already two events!”
Besides, at a time when the print media is in the midst of a “crisis,” I liked filming inks, paper, lead typefaces, books, carved quills, newspaper sheets… all the “signs” of the civilization of the written word now threatened by “numbers,” calculation, and the digital.
And it is indeed the cinema, this impure art so dependent on money, which now has to consider this tumult that Balzac saw come alive before his eyes.
Q: How did you work on recreating Restoration Paris?
A: I fought to shoot in France, in Paris, and in “real” settings, as much as possible. The project was also a way to pay tribute to the splendor of France, its spirit, its language, as well as its fabrics and its spaces. All of that is the same expression of a magnificent civilization, need I remind you?
My set designer Riton Dupire-Clément, my costume designer Pierre-Jean Laroque, my director of photography, the brilliant Christophe Beaucarne, or my sound engineer François Musy, all were concentrated on restoring a feeling of the period as precise and as sensual as possible. I enjoyed immersing myself in the world of 19th century Paris, discovering the fantastic forgotten theater of the Château de Compiègne where Coralie is stoned at the end of the film. With its perspectives, you would think it was designed by Kubrick…
I shot with very special lenses that subtly distort the perspectives, sometimes darkening the edges of the screen. I was looking for both a feeling of “realism” through the precision of the reconstruction but also a shift, a poetic and sometimes “fantastic” vision, as in the backstage of theaters, the vision of Lucien’s staring eye discovering the back of the set.
I was especially looking for sensuality, an organic relationship with the places and the materials, with the colors, for all that to be embodied, to become cinema, life, sound, movement… A cinematic spectacle in a world where a whole society becomes a spectacle, a game of shadows and illusions, but where the body, physical love and violence remain “real”.
Balzac is both sensualist and philosopher, psychologist and anthropologist, painter and director. For example, when reading the description of the Boulevard du Crime, you get the feeling that he had the intuition of cinematic language, it is clear. It is a literature of the gaze. Cinema is organically linked to Balzac’s vision of the world. Eisenstein spoke about it in his lessons on directing based on “Le Père Goriot.”
Q: Tell us about the casting, Lucien and the others…
A: Benjamin emerged as a natural, physical choice. It is the injustice of the “gift,” of the cinematic body, of the look that the camera likes. I did long screen tests in costume where he recited poems, laughed, cried. He had an innocence without mawkishness, a sensuality without vulgarity, a period diction without effort. An element of cinema in which the smallest gesture has a grace without calculation. He was Rubempré, a modern Rubempré. Everything was personified… Just look at his assurance in front of Depardieu. It’s the same thing. It’s animal.
Cécile came to the fore when I decided to humanize the character of Louise, who in the novel has the same first name as Darrieux in Madame De… by Max Ophuls, about whom I often thought. In Balzac’s work, there is something miserable and pathetic about her, ready to do anything to be accepted by high society. I wanted her renunciation of Lucien to have a more sensitive and “tragic” quality, so that the social aspect did not totally destroy the feelings. I wanted to nuance, to make their relationship and their age difference more complex and moving. The cruelty of their relationship seemed more devastating to me if their relationship remained secretly loving.
I invented the scene where the young Coralie visits Louise to ask her for help… and not to “take” Lucien from her. Salomé Dewaels is for me a great discovery, even though we had already seen her in small roles. She has this full body, with a roundness that looks “period”, and at the same time the innocence and the craftiness of a girl from the street. She herself was a night bartender and she amazed me when she recited verses from Berenice in the screen tests with perfect diction. She “speaks” dialogues that are sometimes taken from the book, although written in the language of the 19th century. I found the discussion scenes with Lucien when they are in bed, after making love, particularly moving, for their youth, their spontaneity, their sensual innocence. I thought about the cruelty of their fate, the unjust sacrifice of a young woman by a cynical society.
If he had been more clever, more Rastignac, Lucien would have seduced the terrible Madame d’Espard, played by the dazzling Jeanne Balibar, whose every sibilant line in the dialogue, every look, becomes a danger both voluptuous and threatening. Perhaps she is also taking revenge for the fact that Lucien does nothing to seduce her and that it is even more unbearable for her than seeing a young commoner trying to penetrate the aristocracy. Again, the cruelty of the situations, of the social struggle, seemed to me even more bloody and physical when mixed with wounds of love.
“And yet I was good…” This sentence had caught me while reading the novel. It haunted me… and Vincent Lacoste gives it a glow that is both painful and laughing, a derision that masks a failure, a renounced vocation, a lost illusion. Lacoste gives a human truth to each look and his incredible laughter resounds at the bottom of an abyss, of a life perhaps already ruined… He is funny and tragic in the same movement, that of jealousy and friendly betrayal. Once again, I wanted to give the character a chance because his humanity rips away a little more of his flesh.
Friendship as a value torn to shreds by “the hounds” is an essential theme of the film, one of those higher feelings put to the test by the obsession with success and profit. And while Lousteau sells out, Nathan resists and “plays with it all,” as he wants to push Lucien to learn to do in order to protect his talent.
For this character, I wanted an artist, an icon. A musician, a writer… or why not a filmmaker. I quickly thought of Xavier Dolan whom I admire as a filmmaker and as an actor. He has a very pure energy and an uncommon intelligence. He was enthusiastic when he read the script and immediately understood the issues at stake, starting with the place of the artist in this world, the vanity and the taste for beauty, against all odds… Our relationship was close and concentrated, right up to the enormous voice work of the narrator, who enlightens the film with his irony and his humanity.
He is an accomplished actor, subtle and unpredictable, extraordinarily involved. In the film, he is an icon of his time who, unlike Lucien or Lousteau, knows how to protect his inspiration from the social and “media” comedy. Crossing paths with him on this gigantic shoot was very stimulating for me, like a visceral reminder of the need for a personal vision, for a singular proposal.
On the set, I had real joy in seeing him working so closely with Depardieu. Something of the poetic history of cinema was there, between the actor of Loulou and the author of Mommy. Depardieu was jubilant in playing this fruit and vegetable vendor who cannot read but has become the sultan of publishers, through pure commercialism. He is an actor of pure genius – you could see it in the looks that all these young actors were giving him. Seeing him so happy to act, to invent, gave us incredible energy.
Finally, I would like to say a word about the great Jean-François Stévenin, my claqueur, whose presence on the set was essential to remind me that a film must remain an adventure, that one must not let oneself be fooled by the system, to risk everything and expect nothing, and to protect one’s flame, however modest it may be. His death overwhelms me.
He would have been the first to pay tribute to André Marcon and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing and to all those who embody this bundle of destinies, this “Human Comedy.”
Things being what they are, it’s a relief to look away from hard news to cinema news, and there’s a lot of it as the world’s most prestigious film festival wraps up this weekend having screened some reportedly wonderful movies. A selection of press about films most likely coming soon or soonish from Cannes to a Laemmle theater near you before year’s end or in early 2023:
L.A. Times: Justin Chang compiled a promising list of 12 films he’s looking forward to seeing at Cannes, including David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” which we’re opening June 3, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Broker,” and Claire Denis’ “Stars at Noon,” about which he wrote, “Claire Denis (“Beau Travail,” “35 Shots of Rum”) has been one of the world’s great filmmakers for decades, which is why it’s bewildering that she hasn’t competed at Cannes since her great 1988 debut, “Chocolat.” But she finally cracked the competition a second time with this romantic thriller adapted from a Denis Johnson novel; it stars Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley and unfolds against the tumultuous backdrop of the 1984 Nicaraguan revolution. It’s Denis’ second new movie of 2022 after “Both Sides of the Blade,” which won the directing prize at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. (Coincidentally, that movie stars Vincent Lindon, who happens to be the president of this year’s Cannes competition jury. Hmm … )”
“30West and WME handled domestic rights to the comedy, which stars Woody Harrelson as a rabid Marxist who is the captain of a cruise for the super rich. According to insiders, the asking price was close to $8 million. Several top-tier buyers, including A24, were circling the movie.
“Sweden’s leading contemporary filmmaker and producer, Östlund was previously at the festival with “Force Majeure” in 2014 and “The Square,” which won the Palme d’Or in 2017. “Triangle of Sadness” marks his English-language debut.
“Variety’s Peter Debruge called the film “wickedly funny,” writing: “There’s a meticulous precision to the way [Östlund] constructs, blocks and executes scenes — a kind of agonizing unease, amplified by awkward silences or an unwelcome fly buzzing between characters struggling to communicate.””
The New York Times‘s Manohla Dargis: “In “Scarlet,” the director Pietro Marcello bridges time through the story of a World War I veteran and his daughter. The dead still litter the fields when Raphaël (Raphaël Thiéry, an astonishment) hobbles back home, returning to a small village with few friendly faces. His wife is dead and his baby girl, Juliette, is being cared for by a local woman, Adeline (the marvelous Noémie Lvovsky), who lives in a small enclave outside the village. There, Raphaël — a talented craftsman who works with wood — nestles into a tiny homey community and painfully tries to resume something like normal life, despite his harrowing losses.
““Scarlet” is a fascinating, slippery movie filled with lyrical beauty, acts of barbarism, moments of magic and unexpected hope. The first half focuses on Raphaël, a huge, lumbering man with a jutting brow and hands the size of hams. As Juliette grows (and is eventually played by Juliette Jouan), the narrative center of gravity shifts from father (a product of the 19th century) to daughter (a woman of the 20th). As he did in “Martin Eden,” Marcello takes an expansive, visually adventurous approach to a story about people and the historical forces that define, imprison and sometimes liberate them. I’m still grappling with the movie, and am eager to see it again.”
“The studio that also shepherded the “Normal People” actor’s Directors’ Fortnight entry “God’s Creatures” has acquired North American rights for Charlotte Wells’ well-liked Critics’ Week entry “Aftersun,” IndieWire has learned. A source close to the film’s production confirmed that the studio bought rights to release the drama in the U.S. and Canada in a deal in Cannes on Monday. The buy is said to be in the mid-seven-figure range. (The news was later confirmed by A24.)
““Aftersun,” a standout from the Critics’ Week sidebar that annually promotes first- and second-time directors, stars Mescal as a father on a melancholy holiday with his 11-year-old daughter Sophie, played by Francesca Corio, in Turkey in the late 1990s. Sophie, in the present day, is reflecting on the holiday they shared two decades prior. Memories real and imaginary collide, filling the gaps between mini-DV footage as Sophie tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t. The film stars filmmaker, actress, and choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall (“Ma”) as the adult version of Sophie.