PARIS – Acquired by Cohen Media Group for the U.S., the Pathe Intl.-sold “Come What May,” directed by France’s Christian Carion, (Oscar-nominated “Merry Christmas,” “Farewell”), one of France’s most ambitious historical filmmakers, has closed pre-sales and early sales.
Sales unveil comes as Pathe has announced a highlight of the 18th UniFrance Rendez-Vous, the French cinema showcase kicking off Jan. 14: A private visit on Jan. 15 of the Cezanne collection at Paris’ Orsay Museum to set in context “Cezanne et Moi,” directed by Daniele Thompson (). Starring Guillaume Gallienne (“Yves Saint Laurent,” “Me, Myself and Mum””) as Cezanne and Guillaume Canet (“Tell No One,” “Jappeloup”) as Emile Zola, his lifelong friend from the age of 13, “Cezanne et moi” is shaping up as one of Pathé’s big 2016 late summer big fest bets.
A father-son love story set against the Fall of France, when from May 1940 about eight million French civilian refugees fled in the face of invading German forces, “Come What May” marks another installment in Carion’s building portrait of reasonably good normal people and submerged in huge and horrific historic events, whether Word War I trench warfare (“Merry Christmas”) Cold War espionage of “Farewell,” starring Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet, or the French Exodus of May 1940, the largest displacement in the 20th century.
Seeking this focus, the filmmakers asked people to send copies of letters written by their grandparents at this time. Born in the North of France, Carion was also the personal memories of his own mother, said Muriel Sauzay, exec VP, Pathe Intl.
“It was a month of terror, of fear and chaos, The world was turned on its head. But despite all this, there was a lot of love too, the roads of France were full of people who wanted to live, to survive. Christian focused on the energy of those people who didn’t just want to drown” added Benoit Sauvage, Pathe Intl. head of international marketing & publicity.
Starring August Diehl (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Salt”), Olivier Gourmet (“The Son,” “La Promesse”), Mathilde Seigner (“The Girl From Paris”), Alice Isaaz (“Smart Ass”) and Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), playing a Scottish army captain, “Come What May” has also closed with Golem Spain’s leading arthouse distributor, Korea Screen, which acquires large (“Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatre”) or high-profile (“The Raid”) titles, as well as HBO for Eastern Europe.
Pathe struck a pan-Latin American all-rights deal with Andre Boissier’s L.A.-based Pasatiempo Pictures.
Scored by Ennio Morricone (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “The Untouchables,” “The Hateful Eight”) “Come What May” has also clinched Belgium (Alternative Films), Greece (Feelgood Ent.), Portugal (Nos Lusomundo Audiovisuais), Middle East (Gulf Film) and Turkey (Bir Film).
Screened at the American Film Market, “Come What May” will be screened to buyers at the 18th UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, which features three Pathe Intl. world market premieres: “Back to Mom’s,” Pathe’s big new Rendez-Vous international comedy bet; “Marseille,” from actor-director Kad Merad; and “The Tuche – The American Dream.”
Two are comedies, the other has comedic elements – natural as the UniFrance RDV has consolidated around mainstream fare and Pathe is one of France’s biggest comedy producers-distributors at a time when one of the notable market trends in France this decade has been how national comedy, often produced or distributors by the French mini-majors – Pathe, Gaumont, TF1 – have faced off with and even trounced Hollywood blockbusters at the French box office. The third biggest movie market in the world in 2014, punching a total $1.77 billion in gross box office, that counts. Ranking No. 2 among French distributors in 2015, Pathe hit its biggest numbers with three French comedic plays: Rendez-Vous screening Kev Adams-starrer “The New Adventures of Aladin,” the biggest French release of 2015, grossing around $30 million in France; divorce comedy “Daddy or Mommy,” ($20 million), and big-budgeted prehistoric mo-cap “Evolution Man,” the behind-the-camera debut of stand-up star Jamel Debbouze.
Of this year’s Pathe market unveils, set to bow June 1 in France, “Back to Mom’s” is an intelligent, sensitive, warm social comedy which can travel,” said Sauzay. It also marks a departure for director Eric Lavaine after broad French-market targeting laffers.
Co-starring Josianne Balasco (“The Hedgehog”), it stars Alexandra Lamy (“Lucky Luke,” “The Players”) as Stephanie, mid-40s architect divorcee forced back to her mother’s when she loses her job. “This film describes what’s going on in many countries in Europe, France, but also Spain and Italy, where young dynamic people simply cannot afford to live on their own,” Sauzay commented.
Directed by and starring Merad – best-known as the southern policeman assigned, horror of horrors, to France’s deep north in Dany Boon’s “Welcome to the Sticks ” – “Marseille” turns on a man who returns to Marseille, the city he fled 25 years before after a tragic event, and falls once more under the city’s spell: the affection of his long-lost family; a romantic dalliance with a young woman; the cheerful camaraderie of Marseille folk. He realizes he never wanted to leave. A frequent collaborator with Pathé, Richard Grandpierre at Eskwad, a notable French production outfit (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Zulu”), produces.
“Kad Merad puts together a real homage, and a dramedy, to the city of Marseille, very close to his heart” said Sauvage.
Pathe will screen the film as a word premiere at the RDV. It will also screen at the European Film Market, In the meantime, have a look at the wonderful “Gravity” teaser – a full trailer will also be available for Berlin, Sauvage said.
Also Grandpierre produced, Olivier Baroux’s “The Tuche – the American Dream,” reprises the comedy saga of the redneck French family, which wins $110 million on the lottery and dispatches its youngest offspring, Donald, to a U.S. college to brush up his English. He starts to go out with the daughter of a posh American high finance big-shot, the last thing he wants is for his bozo, if endearing kin to drop in; which they do, on a surprise visit.
“In any territory in the world, you can imagine sending your children to the U.S. for an education and their meeting the a member of the American kind of aristocracy. In that sense, ‘The Tuche’ is universal,” said Sauzay.
The original “Les Tuches” grossed about $10 million (11 million) for Pathe in France in 2011.