‘Bancs’ to open Paris Cinema

Guests include Mann, Depp, Cotillard

PARIS — Bruno Podalydes’ “Bancs Publics,” an ensemble film starring a bevy of well-known Gallic thesps, including Mathieu Amalric (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), will open the Paris Cinema Intl. Film Festival, which runs July 2-14.

Event closes on a musical note with Ang Lee screener “Taking Woodstock,” which bowed to mixed reviews at Cannes.

The 7th edition’s solid lineup of French preems and the presence of many famed European and American directors underscore the festival’s consolidation as a popular part of Paris’ cultural calendar.

Potential highlights include Michael Mann presenting “Public Enemies” alongside Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard; and the still livewire, 100-year-old Portuguese helmer Manoel de Oliveira, who introduces “Eccentricities of a Blond-Haired Girl.”

The fest will also go digital 3-D with the sneak preem of Pixar’s Cannes opener “Up.”

“We’re happy to show ‘Up.’ It’s a great way to keep the buzz of the film alive between the Cannes premiere and the French theatrical release 11 weeks later,” said Jean de Rivieres, head of Walt Disney France.

Artistic director Aude Hesbert’s international competition lineup is as eclectic as ever, showcasing hidden gems from Europe, Asia and the Middle-East. The program includes seven first features, including Kazakh helmer George Ovashvili’s “The Other Bank,” a drama about a little boy searching for his father after the fall of the Soviet Regime; and “Breathless,” directed by South-Korea’s Yang Ik-june, about a violent young debt collector who’s tormented by his tragic family history.

Fest’s competition also features better-known films, including director Sebastian Silva’s Chilean tragicomedy “The Maid,” which took the Special Jury Prize and World Cinema grand jury nod at Sundance.

Highlights of the fest’s short competition includes “Madame Butterfly,” from Tsai Ming-liang, who also receives an eight-film retrospective.

British thesp Charlotte Rampling acts as the festival’s chair for the third consecutive edition.

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