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French push films in MidEast

Unifrance aims to build auds in Arab states

BERLIN — The MidEast is alive to the sound of Edith Piaf. Lebanese distrib Italia Films has picked up “La Vie en rose” for the entire region.

MidEast auds will be seeing a lot more French cinema following concerted push by Gallic promotional film body Unifrance.

“It’s a big idea to convince people from Egypt to buy French films and release them in their cinemas,” said Antoine Khalife, Unifrance head of films and artists department.

While Unifrance execs are hopeful about the prospects for “Taxi 4” and “La Vie en rose” in the region, other French features could prove too saucy for local sensibilities.

Think “Lady Chatterly” and “Les Temoins,” both making their bow in Berlin, which feature copious nudity and sex that could raise eyebrows.

“We produce more than 200 films. Not every film is ‘Lady Chatterly’ or tackles these taboo subjects,” said Khalife. “While it’s good to get French films into the theaters there, we also need to build audiences.”

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