DAILY NEWS: "Baise-Moi" Deal; Cannes' Critics Week; and Miramax Back with Irving and Hallstrom
by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> French Shocker “Baise-Moi” Heading to U.S. Theaters, Unrated and Uncut
(indieWIRE/04.18.01) — The film that managed to stir controversy in
normally sexually laissez-faire France, “Baise-Moi,” has secured
distribution in the United States following its U.S. premiere at the San
Francisco International Film Festival this Friday. The movie will be
released unrated and uncut after causing an uproar in Europe.
Marketed as “Rape Me” in this country, “Baise-Moi” is based on the
best-selling novel of the same name by Virginie Despentes who also wrote the
screenplay and served as co-director on the project with Coralie Trin-Thi.
The film will be distributed in the U.S. by Montreal-based Remstar
Distribution and FilmFixx in Santa Monica. Remstar acquired North American
rights to the project which received financing by the Wild Bunch division of
Le Studio Canal Plus.
After opening overseas last summer, the film shocked audiences in France
playing on 60 screens in Paris and other cities before becoming embroiled in
turmoil over its content. The flap finally relegated the film solely to sex
cinemas and even sparked a demonstration by French artists and politicians
in support of the film and freedom of expression in Paris. The story itself
portrays Manu, a tough woman who is gang-raped by thugs and Nadine, a
hardened prostitute, who unite in a rampage journey throughout France
seeking revenge against the world, but especially men, leaving carnage in
their wake. Both characters are played by two well-known French adult-film
stars, Raffaela Anderson and Karen Bach.
“The sex scenes must be real in order to add authenticity to the story,”
said Despentes in a prepared statement defending her work, adding, “A
woman’s right to show off her sexuality has been perverted by men who have
a problem with femininity. Women shouldn’t have to deal with men’s silly
little hang-ups.” The British Board of Film Classification granted
screening permission in the U.K. only after the distributor, Feature Film
Co. cut ten seconds of graphic footage.
“Baise-Moi,” more accurately translated into English as “Fuck Me,” caught
the attention of FilmFixx’ Orly Ravid (formerly Head of Acquisitions at
Picture This! Entertainment) who saw the film in the Discovery section at
last autumn’s Toronto International Film Festival. There are no plans to
submit the film to the Motion Picture Association of America for a rating
and it is currently slated for release uncut.
The film will open at L.A.’s Nuart Theater on June 1st and in New York at
the Cinema Village over the July 4th weekend, followed by Austin’s Dobie on July 27th. More dates will be added throughout the summer and early autumn.
>> U.S. Features Shut Out of Critics’ Week; Cannes Sidebar Announces Eclectic Line-up
(indieWIRE/04.18.01) — The 40th edition of the International Critics’ Week
(Semaine de la Critique) sidebar, which runs parallel with the Cannes Film
Festival from May 10-20, has unveiled its lineup, according to trade
publication Screen Daily. Seven feature films — screening with seven shorts
— will compete for a 100,000 Franc grand prize, as well as an award from a
jury of youth critics. Last year’s Critics’ Week hosted such international
premieres as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s “Amores Perros,” Cesc Gay‘s “Krampack,” and Frank Novak‘s “Housekeeping.”
This year’s competition cuts a wide swath of world cinema with not a single
American feature in sight. The films on tap, according to the trade, include
Bernard Emond’s “The Woman Who Drinks” (Quebec) currently in release in
Canada; Bertrand Bonello’s second feature “The Pornograph” (France); Alex
Infascelli’s David di Donatello award-winning thriller “Almost Blue“
(Italy); Argentine newcomer Adrian (“Pizza, Beer and Cigarettes“) Caetano’s
highly anticipated “Bolivia” (Argentina); Giorgos Zafiris’s debut “Ephemeral
Town” (Greece); Reza Mir-Karimi’s sophomore effort “Under the Moonlight“
(Iran); and Kunitoshi Manda’s “Unloved” (Japan).
Screening out of the sidebar’s competition this year will be opening night
film, “The Black Beach,” a directorial effort from French actor Michel
Piccoli, closing night film “Clouds,” from France’s Marion Hansel, and a special screening of Christian Petzold‘s German critical fave “The State I
Am In.” The lineup also includes a “discovery” section with Chilean director
Patricio Guzman‘s latest “Le Cas Pinochet,” and Eterio Ortega Santillana‘s “Asesinato en Febrero,” the trade reported.
Shorts are just as varied, with animator Bill Plympton‘s “Eat” serving as
the single U.S. film in the Critics’ Week selection. The rest include
“L’enfant de la haute mer” (France), “Stranger and Native” (Iran), “Noche de Bodas” (Mexico), “Le Dos Au Mur” (France), “Stapler Fahrer Klaus – Der Erste Arbeitstag” (Germany), and “Field” (UK), according to Screen.
Prior to yesterday’s news, Critics’ Week announced a special tribute to Ken
Loach would also take place during the week. Loach’s second film “Kes” will
screen (it launched at Critic’s Week in 1970), along with a workshop
featuring Loach and several invited up-and-coming filmmakers. “How agreeable
to visit Cannes without presenting a film,” Loach commented on the sidebar’s
happened was some years ago when we were looking for finance and walked the
streets in vain. Despite evidence to the contrary, many people do come to
the festival to see films and discuss them. That’s what I’m looking forward
to, with no interview schedule in sight!” [Anthony Kaufman]
>> Miramax to Re-Team with Irving and Hallstrom for “The Fourth Hand”
(indieWIRE/04.18.01) — Miramax has made a deal for John Irving‘s upcoming novel, “The Fourth Hand.” The film version will be directed by Lasse
Hallstrom (“The Cider House Rules“) and adapted by Irving who also adapted
the screenplay for “Cider House.” The new film will reunite the key people
responsible for Miramax’ “Cider House Rules,” which went on to receive seven
Academy Award nominations.
Described as ” a comedic love story about second chances,” the Miramax
announcement indicates that in the story, “a man loses his left hand twice
but finds the woman of his dreams.” Irving’s “The Fourth Hand” will be
published in July by Random House.
“Collaboration isn’t my day job,” commented John Irving in a prepared
statement. “But I dedicated this novel to Lasse and (producer) Richard
Gladstein out of the great admiration and affection I developed for them
while we were making ‘The Cider House Rules.’ I simply couldn’t be happier
than to be working with them — and with (producer) Leslie (Holleran), and
with Miramax — again. I can’t wait to get started.”
Hallstrom is currently directing “The Shipping News” for Miramax, with
Holleran on board as a producer. Gladstein and Holleran each have first
look deal with Miramax. [Eugene Hernandez]