CINEB’s gang of 4

Carcassone unveils English-lingo kung fu pix

CANNES — French producer Philippe Carcassone, who recently announced the creation of CineB, a joint production venture with the Pathe group, has unveiled the company’s first four pics.

First up will be a 20 million francs ($3.3 million) debut pic from Breton director Richard Bean. Still untitled, the proj-ect is set to shoot in August and, according to Carcassone, renews the film noir style that was popular in France in the 1960s.

The most ambitious film on Carcassone’s desk is Michael Radford’s English-lingo “The Swedish Cavalier,” which CineB will minority co-produce with Paris-based Film Par Film. Carcassone wouldn’t divulge the budget for the period piece, but Variety understands the price could be north of $27 million. “The Swedish Cavalier” is the first major English-language project Carcassone has been involved in since 1995’s “Carrington.”

Set to shoot in September is Anne Fontaine’s $5 million “Kung Fu Augustin” a continuation of Fontaine’s well received short feature “Augustin,” which appeared in Un Certain Regard in 1995. Pic is a co-production between CineB and Paris-based production house Epithete.

Jean-Chretien Sibertin-Blanc will reprise his role as an unknown thesp trying to turn himself into the king of kung fu movies. To prepare for the task, Augustin sets up home in Paris’ Chinatown and falls in love with a local beauty (played by Hong Kong-born Maggie Cheung).

Currently casting is Benoit Jacquot’s “Pas de Scandale,” to be co-produced with Georges Benayoun’s IMA Films. The project, budgeted at around $5 million, is a satire on the French bourgeoisie. (Jacquot’s latest feature, “L’Ecole de la Chair,” is in competition at Cannes.)

While CineB gets its production plans up to speed, Carcassone’s Cinea, which is 50% owned by Polygram, continues to turn out pics. Cinea had a first-look deal with Polygram that expired in December and was not renewed. However, Carcassone says there are two or three projects that were developed with Polygram that will be produced under the Cinea banner.

In Cannes, Cinea has Claude Mourieras’ “Dis-Moi Que Je Reve” in Un Certain Regard. Carcassone says, “We’ve decided to release the film in France on June 3 to make the most of the buzz from Cannes, but we are really up against the clock trying to get marketing material ready.”

Added to that, Olivier Assayas’ “Regrets” is now in post-production and Cinea is a minority co-production partner with Epithete on Patrice Leconte’s $17 million “La Veuve de St. Pierre,” which is set to star Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil.