Cavaye scripting new thriller

Fred Cavaye, director of “Anything for Her,” which Paul Haggis remade as “The Next Three Days,” has a thriller in the works.

Set in the Canadian forests, the project, half in French, half in English, is a suspense film in the tradition of 1950s French filmmakers such as fantasy realist Georges Franju or Henri-Georges Clouzot (“Diabolique”).

Cavaye is writing the screenplay, though the film is among a brace of projects, so not certain to be his next, Cavaye said at the Valencia Mostra. He was at the fest to present abduction action-thriller “Point Blank,” co-starring Elena Anaya, also present in Valencia.

“Blank” was an early standout in the Mostra’s main action-adventure section, with Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos” and Eric Lartigau’s “The Big Picture,” France’s 2010 crossover champ, also attracting attention.

Opening the Mostra Thursday in its abbreviated 2 hour 45 minute version, and playing out of competition, “Carlos” — a portrait of 1970s jet-setting terrorism poster boy Ilich Ramirez Sanchez — was championed by Spain’s El Pais as “galvanizing cinema.”

“Picture” sparked upbeat reactions, especially for Romain Duris’ central performance.

Meanwhile, Guillaume Canet’s “Big Chill”-ish “Little White Lies” and Alix Delaporte’s “Angele and Tony” emerged as early favorites in fest’s main Mediterranean Panorama sidebar, consolidating France’s dominance of the Mostra’s first four days.

It’s not pure coincidence.

French cinema is frequently picked up for Spain: A Contracorriente Films will release “Lies” and “Blank,” Alta Classics distributes “Carlos” and Absolut Media Films has “Angele.”

French stars will willingly travel to tubthump their pics: Canet, Assayas, Cavaye and fast-emerging French actress Clotilde Hesme, who toplines “Angele,” were all in Valencia.

Also, France is best known abroad as a bastion of auteur art pics. But it also boasts a younger generation of cineastes — Jean-Francois Richet (“Mesrine”) — who mix American influences and strains of French action cinema.

Helping the Mostra’s flying start, the large French contingent sometimes gave project details.

Assayas said “Something in the Air,” set up at MK2 and shooting over the summer in France, Italy and the U.K., is a semi-autobiographical tale about “teenagers in the 70s: Sex, art, politics, music.”

Opening ceremony guests included Daryl Hannah, who received a retro tribute, and Michael Radford, who delivered in Spanish a master class on directing actors, which was rich in observations about Al Pacino, Demi Moore, Richard Burton, Jeremy Irons, Dirk Bogarde and Trevor Howard.

Of world preems, “Pecados,” from Diego Yaker (“Como mariposas en la luz”), an incestuous teen romance tale, set in Argentina’s deep desert north, bowed Sunday.

Rebooted as an action-adventure fest in 2010, the Mostra TV strand also took on a spectacular volume thanks to a new partnership with Spanish pay TV operator Digital Plus.

“Having the support of both Digital Plus and Telecinco takes the Mostra itself to another level,” said the Mostra’s Margaret Nicoll.

Mostra’s first weekend saw sizeable early turnouts for a highly appreciated, thundering 40-minute “Game of Thrones” special and Telecinco’s 18th century romp “Pirates,” with Oscar Jaenada (“The Limits of Control”) playing a lily-livered Jack Sparrow-ish buccaneer conscript.

A crowd of 1,000 attended an open-air concert of John Barry’s James Bond themes played by the European Academy Symphony Orchestra.

Cinema attendance also looked up as the Mostra, after a checkered three-decade past, now faces its biggest challenge: Re-conquering its own local public.

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