Filmmaker sees B.O. success as he preps next comedy

He says he can’t drink. But vet French director Bertrand Blier might be tempted to crack open a good Premier Cru given the Gallic bow of “The Clink of Ice.”

Blier’s first film in five years, “Clink,” which opens Venice Days today, turns on an eight-bottles-of-white-wine-a-day writer suddenly afflicted by cancer.

It uncorked Aug. 25 in France on 302 prints to a robust first five-day total of 228,553 tickets sold — about ?1.4 million ($1.7 million) in B.O.

In Paris, “Clink” ranked No. 2 behind “Salt” over the Aug. 25-29 frame.

French distributor Wild Bunch, which also handles its international sales, will add 39 copies for a second week.

“Clink” was marketed on Blier’s name, said Catherine Bozorgan, who produced the pic with Christine Gozlan.

Pic’s popularity was bulwarked by thesps Jean Dujardin, a big marquee draw after “Brice de Nice,” and director-actor Albert Dupontel, who commands a cult following, she added.

Encouraged by “Clink,” Blier is prepping a yet-to-be-titled project “about stupid people.”

He hopes the film will topline Dujardin (“a very good and funny man”), Edouard Baer (“An Ordinary Execution”) and Karin Viard (“Change of Plans”). Blier plans to re-team with “Clink’s” producers for the new project.

The pic will be “pure comedy,” he said, adding, “I can’t imagine not writing a comedy: It’s my destiny.”

Though Blier calls “Clink” “a melodrama with touches of humor,” most people will dub it a comedy about cancer.

“Clink” begins memorably with the character of Cancer (embodied by Dupontel) turning up at the villa of perma-plastered scribe (Dujardin).

“Hello, I’m Cancer,” Dupontel announces jauntily. And he wants to get acquainted.

The two do — but the writer fights back.

“I thought I could give an uplifting message by showing that the strength of your mind can help you conquer the most pervasive diseases,” Blier explained.

Bozorgan said Blier’s latest pic breaks with his past by having a woman as its real lead character. Luisa is the compassionate housekeeper.

“She gives the writer a reason to live,” said Blier. “When all is said and done, women are wiser. They know about the essential things in life.”

And he added, “I couldn’t imagine a world without women, but a world without men sounds good — on the condition that I’m the last man standing.”

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