PARIS– Gaumont will be out in force at Toronto Intl. Film Festival with a record five French-language films selected in major sections.
The French studio will host the world premiere of this year’s hotly anticipated Gallic movies, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s “Samba” and Cedric Jimenez’s “The Connection” slotted for a Gala unspooling.
An uplifting dramedy weaving friendship and romance, “Samba” marks Toledano and Nakache’s follow up to smash hit “The Intouchables.” The helmer duo reteamed with their star, Omar Sy, who plays a recent immigrant to France who bonds with a tormented social worker (Charlotte Gainsbourg).
Based on a true story, “The Connection” (“La French”), directed by Jimenez, chronicles the six-year battle waged by a French magistrate, played by Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), to bring down Marseilles’ French connection drug ring.
Both “Samba” and “The Connection” have pre-sold in key territories. “The Connection” was picked up by Drafthouse in the U.S.
Gaumont, which boasts the biggest lineup of French-language films playing at Toronto, will host the world-preem of Regis Wargnier’s “The Gate” and Anne Fontaine’s “Gemma Bovery” in the Special Presentation section.
A light and modern twist on Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel “Madame Bovary,” Fontaine’s pic stars Gemma Arterton as a young woman leading a dull married life in a Norman province.
“The Gate,” also based on a true story, sheds light on the ambivalent relationship between a French ethnologist and a former Khmer Rouge official who is on trial for crimes against humanity. Wargnier is best known for directing foreign-language Oscar winner “Indochine.”
Lastly, Gaumont will show Melanie Laurent’s sophomore pic, “Breathe” (“Respire”) in the Contemporary World Cinema section. An intimate drama about an obsessive and fateful friendship between two teenagers, “Breathe” received upbeat reviews at Cannes’ Critics Week where it opened.
Other buzzed-about French-language films slated to world-preem at Toronto include Francois Ozon’s “The New Girlfriend” (Gala section) repped by Films Distribution and Mia Hansen Love’s “Eden” (Special Presentation) sold by Kinology.