Namur fest sets French lingo pics

Fourteen films competing at Belgium festival

BRUSSELS — Fourteen features compete at the Namur Festival of Francophone Film, which unspools Sept. 26-Oct. 3 in Belgium.

Line-up includes the world bow of “Le Chant des mariees,” sophomore feature of Gallic helmer Karin Albou, whose “La Petite Jerusalem” (Little Jerusalem) toured festivals in 2005.

Pic unfolds in Nazi-occupied Tunisia, with childhood friends Nour and Myriam — one Muslim, the other Jewish — contemplating their coming marriages. But their happiness is threatened by German plans to rally the Arab population with a promise of independence.

International sales are handled by Pyramide International, with local rights snapped up by Imagine Film.

Competing pics without history at major festivals include Christophe Honore’s “La Belle personne,” which hits theaters in Gaul on Sept. 17, and Lea Pool’s “Maman est chez le coiffeur,” which has already been released in its native Quebec.

Meanwhile “Waiting for Pasolini,” by Moroccan helmer Daoud Aoulad Syad, got the nod as best Arabic film at last year’s Cairo film fest.

Mauritanian helmer Abderrahmane Sissako presides over the competition jury.

The fest boasts ten other world preems, including “Magique!” from seasoned French helmer Philippe Muyl and “Go Fast” by Belgian tyro Olivier Van Hoofstadt.

Guest of honor Isabelle Huppert will be joined by director Jacques Doillon and thesp Fabrice Luchini, who both give master classes.

On the pro side, nine features seek partners in the production forum, including a debut project from Joachim Lafosse collaborator Francois Pirot. Other pitches will be heard from France, Belgium, Cameroon, Quebec, Switzerland and Morocco.

Past forum participant “Khamsa,” by Karim Dridi, screens out of competition after passing through Locarno and Toronto.

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