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On ‘Lover’s’ lane

Ferran gives French twist to 'Chatterley'

Fifty years after Marc Allegret’s adaptation starring Danielle Darrieux was banned in the U.S. sparking a censorship rethink, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” is being brought to the bigscreen again by another French helmer, Pascale Ferran.

Ferran nabbed the Camera d’Or prize for best first film at Cannes in 1994 with “Petits arrangements avec les morts” (“Coming to Terms With the Dead”).

The $4.5 million “Chatterley,” currently in production, stars Marina Hands as D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Constance Chatterley, Hippolyte Girardot as Sir Clifford Chatterley and Jean-Louis Coulloc’h as Mellors. Pic is being produced by Gilles Sandoz of Maia Films.

Films Distribution is handling international sales.

Femme helmer

“The film stays very close to Lawrence’s intention only this time, the subject is being revisited by a woman director,” FD’s CEO Nicolas Brigaud-Robert said. “It’s an erotic highbrow French film that we are expecting a lot of interest in.”

War is a big theme elsewhere in the company’s line-up. The out of competition screening of Christian Carion’s officially selected World War I-set “Merry Christmas” is due to be attended by 25 European Culture Ministers.

In addition, Films Distribution is handling international sales on Rachid Bouchareb’s “Days of Glory,” about North Africans who fought for France during World War II. Currently in production, the $18.5 million pic has an all-star French/North African cast that includes Jamel Debbouze, Sami Naceri, Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila.

A third war pic is former Palm d’Or winner Bruno Dumont’s “Flanders,” not set, as its title suggests, during World War I but in the present day in an undefined Iraq-ish setting, where soldiers from Flanders have been sent into battle.

Pic’s budget is a high-by-Dumont-standards $2.7 million.

‘Normandy’ doc

Another stand-out in the line-up is “Back to Normandy,” a new docu by “To Be and to Have” helmer Nicolas Philibert. The documaker travels to a village in Normandy, where he was an assistant on a movie 30 years ago, to find out what has become of people who worked on the film.

Films Distribution is also selling Robert Guediguian’s “Armenia,” starring Ariane Ascaride and Gerard Meylan, and Lucas Belvaux’s follow-up to his “The Trilogy: An Amazing Couple, On the Run, After Life,” “The Weakest are Always Right,” about a suicidal gesture by exploited blue collar workers in a Northern France industrial setting.

Other French titles include Philippe Garel’s “Everyday Lovers,” a drama set in ’68 France starring Louis Garel; the $9 million “Piccolo & Saxo,” an animated kids film; Alain Guiraudie’s “Time Has Come,” an arthouse Western; Serge Le Peron’s “I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed,” with Simon Abkarian, Fabienne Babe, Josiane Balasko, Charles Berling and Jean-Pierre Leaud; “The Bristles of the Paintbrush,” a first film by Gerard Hustache-Mathieu; and “Itineraires” by Christophe Otzenberger.

From further afield comes “C.R.A.Z.Y.”, a coming-of-age saga about a teenager who doesn’t fit in with his family, by Canadian helmer Jean-Marc Vallee.

Film Distribution’s screenings include a shortened two-hour, five-minute version of Radu Mihaileanu’s “Live and Become.”

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