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Trueba to direct ‘L’Artiste’

French-language film to star Jean Rochefort

MADRID — Spanish director Fernando Trueba, who won the foreign-language Oscar in 1994 for “Belle Epoque,” is set to helm French-language pic “L’Artiste et son modele.”

From a screenplay by Trueba and Jean-Claude Carriere, who co-authored many late Luis Bunuel’s films, including “Belle Toujours” and “The Phantom of Liberty,” the comedic drama will topline vet Gallic thesp Jean Rochefort (“The Hairdresser’s Husband”) as a painter of female nudes, and up-and-coming Spanish actress Aida Folch, who first caught notice in Trueba’s 2002 “The Shanghai Spell,” as his model.

Lensing spring/summer 2010, “Artiste” is produced by Cristina Huete for Fernando Trueba P.C., Trueba’s Madrid-based label.

Set in occupied France in 1943, it turns on an ageing hedonist painter and his relationship with beauty and with beautiful women, Huete said. She aims to structure “Artiste” as a co-production with France.

“Artiste” is the third project to come together after Trueba spent much of 2002 to 2007 writing a bevy of feature screenplays.

Trueba’s genre-hopping “The Dancer and the Thief,” from a novel by “Il Postino” writer Antonio Skarmeta, is in post, and looks set to be one of Spain’s big fall bows.

Animation romancer “Chico y Rita,” which is co-directed by Trueba and Javier Mariscal, should be ready for delivery spring 2010. Pic, which is set in the late 40s Cuba and New York jazz scene, is produced with London’s Magic Light Pictures and Mariscal’s Barcelona-based Estudio Mariscal.

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