Jacques Gamblin, Claudia Cardinale star

ROME — Italo auteur Gianni Amelio’s adaptation of Albert Camus’ last novel “The First Man” is set to start shooting by April in North Africa and France with Gallic stars Jacques Gamblin and Denis Podalydes attached along with Claudia Cardinale.

Amelio’s first foray into French-language filmmaking, based on the Nobel prize-winner’s unfinished autobiographical work, turns on Camus’ native Algeria and its struggle for independence from France. The manuscript was found in a briefcase when Camus died in a car crash in 1960.

Budgeted at $11.6 million and co-produced by Italy’s Cattleya and Gaul’s Bruno Pesery, “Man” will partly shoot in several seaside and desert locations in Algeria, with which France has a co-production agreement. Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

Gamblin, who is Cesar-nommed as protag of Gallic hit “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” has been tapped by Amelio to play Camus alter-ego Jacques Cormery, who at 40 returns from Gaul to pre-civil war Algeria and relives his childhood. Tunisian-born Cardinale will play his beautiful but deaf and distant mother. Costume pic is set during the late 1950s. Algerian talent will also be featured.

The complex screenplay is by Amelio. Regular Amelio d.p. Luca Bigazzi will be lensing.

Amelio last year replaced Nanni Moretti as artistic director of the ultra-indie Turin Film Festival, which runs in late November. He has said helming “The First Man” will not conflict with his fest assembling duties.

Amelio’s previous features include “Lamerica,” “Stolen Children” and Venice Golden Lion winner “The Way We Laughed.”

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