Film Movement Acquires ‘Opera’ at Rendez-Vous With French Cinema

New York-based Film Movement has acquired Jean-Stéphane Bron’s French-Swiss documentary “The Paris Opera” which is having its world premiere today at the 22nd Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the annual movie showcase organized by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and UniFrance.

Sold by Les Films du Losange, “The Paris Opera” explores the riveting politics, logistics and behind-the-scenes of performances and events staged at the Opera, the world-renown classical music and dance institution.

The cinematic documentary feature, which is set against the backdrop of the Paris attacks aftermath, follows Stéphane Lissner as he takes over as director of the Paris Opera.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center called it an “all-access documentary” which “offers a candid look at everything that goes into operating one of the world’s foremost performing arts institutions.”

Bron is best known for directing the gripping topical docu “Cleveland v. Wall Street” which had opened at Cannes’ Directors Forntight.

Film Movement’s president Michael E. Rosenberg said Bron had “made a tremendously insightful and witty film showing us the work of dancers, choreographers, opera stars and debutants, chorus members, musicians and conductors; and the administrators, technicians, stage hands; and others who help to present this work to the public.”

The Rendez-Vous French Cinema in New York festival bowed yesterday with the North American premiere of Etienne Comar’s “Django.”

The movie was introduced by “Django” stars Reda Kateb and Cecile de France and helmer Etienne Comar on stage at the jam-packed Walter Reade Theater of the Film Society of the Lincoln Center.

This year’s topnotch guest roster also includes iconic filmmaker Agnes Varda for “Visages, Visages,” Bertrand Bonello for “Nocturama,” Olivier Assayas for “Personal Shopper,” Emmanuelle Bercot for “150 Milligrams,” Rebecca Zlotowski for “Planetarium”, Stéphanie Di Giusto for “The Dancer,” Julia Ducournau for “Raw,” Marc Fitoussi for “Mum’s Wrong,” Marina Foïs for “Faultless,” Nicole Garcia for “From the Land of the Moon,” Justine Triet for “In Bed with Victoria,” Katell Quillévéré for “Heal the Living,” Jerome Salle for “The Odyssey” and Christophe Honoré for “Sophie’s Misfortunes.”

Aiming to fast-track dealmaking and encourage collaborations, UniFrance also organized a networking brunch at the trendy West Village eatery Gloo, bringing together French sales agents from Les Films du Losange, Le Pacte, Bac, Gaumont, WTFilms, Films Distribution; U.S. distributors, including Sony Pictures Classics, A24, Neon, IFC, Music Box, Film Movement; and French producers, notably Philippe Martin, Justin Taurand, David Thion and Frédéric Jouve.

Taking place March 1-12, the Rendez-Vous in New York is hosting a several panels highlighting diverse aspects of French culture. Round-tables will discuss international co-productions, U.S./French collaborations, “French Touch” electro as well as political filmmaking. Meanwhile, Varda, Honore, Assayas Zlotowski, Ozon and Quillévéré will take part in masterclasses to discuss their latest film.

UniFrance’s managing director Isabelle Giordano pointed out French auteur cinema has thrived overseas in the last 12 months, especially with Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” which earned Isabelle Huppert a Golden Globe and an Oscar nom, Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” and the Oscar-nommmed doc “I am Not Your Negro” which has grossed more than $3 million at the B.O. in less than three weeks.

Giordano said the U.S. remained a key market for French movies. “Since 2000, more than 60 French movies are released in the States every year,” said the exec, adding that as many as 70 French features were released in 2016.

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