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NEW THIS WEEK: France and Brazil Seek Spotlight (and Mamet, too), Among Others

NEW THIS WEEK: France and Brazil Seek Spotlight (and Mamet, too), Among Others

Films from France, and one from Brazil, mark this week in theaters. As was already well-explored in Anthony Kaufman’s world cinema this week, no fewer than three French features by acclaimed Gallic filmmakers will be vying for Bastille Day audiences this weekend in a battle that pits Patrice Chereau and Andre Techine against Francois Ozon.

“It’s unfortunate, actually,” noted Jon Gerrans, co-president of Strand Releasing, distributor of Ozon’s “Time to Leave,” in the conversation with Kaufman for the indieWIRE World Cinema Column, “because you have a certain group of people who are predisposed to seeing French films and now we have to split that audience. God knows we have to fight to stay on screens, so you’d rather not go up against other French films.”

Meanwhile from South America comes Breno Silveira‘s “2 Filhos de Francisco,” having its U.S. premiere as the opening film of MoMA’s Premiere Brazil! 2006 and kicking off a week-long run at the museum. As Michael Gibbons noted in an indieWIRE Dispatch from Brazil back in October of last year, the film, was a big hit with audiences back home, it is the story of a folk music duo (Zeze di Camargo and Luciano) who battle poverty and tragedy to find fame as musicians.

In the indieWIRE article, Gibbons explained that the musicians themselves pitched their life story to Sony Music and Sony Pictures Brazil. And as Leonardo Monteiro de Barros from Conspiracao Filmes told indieWIRE at the time, about securing distribution for a film based on the lives of celebrities unknown outside of Brazil. “It’s true that sometimes films don’t travel,” admitted Barros, “but in this case I think it will appeal a lot.” As Gibbons added, “Barros cited three reasons to hope for success in the U.S. First, the film ‘is an amazing true story’; second, the story of people overcoming poverty and achieving success by their own talent and hard work reflects ‘the American Dream’; and third, ‘the family represents strong values and attitudes.'”


Gabrielle,” directed by Patrice Chereau
Set in turn-of-the-century France, “Gabrielle” is the story of the marital demise of a bourgeois couple, starring Isabelle Huppert and Pascal Greggory. Parisian Mr. Hervey (Greggory) is comfortable in life, but his sturdiness is shattered when he discovers a letter from his wife, Gabrielle (Huppert). (IFC First Take) (Official website) | indieWIRE Review by Reverse Shot

Christian Sengewald and Melvil Poupaud in a scene from Francois Ozon’s “Time To Leave.” Photo provided by Strand Releasing

Time to Leave” (Le Temps Qui Reste), by Francois Ozon
Ozon’s latest centers on a handsome fashion photographer who discovers he has a malignant brain tumor that will soon kill him. After finding out his prognosis, he alienates his family and young boyfriend, but while visiting his grandmother, his trauma is countered with love and good advice. A random meeting with a cafe waitress then offers an unusual bargain that adds a happy and playful dimension. (Strand Releasing) (Official website)

Changing Times,” directed by Andre Techine
A French designer (Gerard Deapardieu) seeks out his former lover (Catherine Deneuve) in Tangiers. The film screened at the Berlinale earlier this year. (Koch Lorber Films)

“2 Filhos de Francisco” (Two Sons of Francisco), directed by Breno Silveira
A big hit in Brazil, the film is the story of a folk music duo (Zeze di Camargo and Luciano) who battle poverty and tragedy to find fame as musicians. Premiere Brazil! 2006 Site | an indieWIRE Dispatch from Brazil

Edmond,” directed by Stuart Gordon
The story of a successful businessman (William H. Macy) who abandons his wife and family after a fateful visit to a fortune-teller, written by and based on a story by David Mamet. Following her musings, he leaves on a voyage to New York’s seedy underworld in a quest for self-discovery. Along the way though, he kills a pimp and a wannabe actress, and ends up in jail. (First Independent Pictures) (website | indieWIRE Interview

The Oh in Ohio,” directed by Billy Kent
A man struggles to help his wife experience her first orgasm, but after seven years of trying, she embarks on a solo journey and the husband moves out. He soon tries to rediscover his manhood via a young student in one of his classes. The wife, meanwhile, finally achieves the orgasm with the pool guy. The film stars Parker Posey, Danny DeVito, Mischa Barton, Paul Rudd and Miranda Bailey. (Cyan Pictures) Official website

Excellent Cadavers,” directed by Marco Turco
Based on the book by Alexander Stille, what is described as a “mesmerizing” documentary follows the story of powerful Sicilian Mafiamembers and a pair of prosecutors, Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone, who charge hundreds of mobsters, until they are murdered. (First Run/Icarus Films) Official website

Mini’s First Time,”directed by Nick Guthe
Described as the the story of “a sexually charged, rebellious teenager who harbors a desperate loathing for her drug and alcohol-addicted, golddigger mother,” “Mini’s First Time” stars Nikki Reed, Carrie-Ann Moss, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, and Jeff Goldblum. (First Independent Pictures)

The Color of Olives,” directd by Carolina Rivas
From Mexian director Rivas, the story of a Palestinian family living in a world surrounded by a wall, guarded by armed soldiers. (Arab Film Distribution) Official Website

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