You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Discreet Charm of Daniele Thompson’s ‘Saint Tropez’

The French filmmaker has made a name for herself with laffers set among the upper-class

An expert at depicting dysfunctional relationships within Paris’ upper-class, Daniele Thompson could be Woody Allen’s French cousin.

(From the pages of the April 9 issue of Variety.)

Thompson is presenting her fifth comedy, “It Happened in Saint Tropez,” April 15 in Los Angeles as the opening night of Colcoa (the City of Lights, City of Angels film festival). She ventured into filmmaking at age 57, after three decades as a screenwriter with credits including “The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob,” written with her father, helmer Gerard Oury.

She also collaborated with directors on the scripts of such French pics as Patrice Chereau’s “Queen Margot,” which won two prizes at Cannes, and earned an Oscar nom for her work on Jean-Charles Tacchella’s “Cousin, Cousine.”

Her most high-concept comedy, “Saint-Tropez” centers on a dysfunctional Jewish family and two estranged brothers who must reunite for a funeral scheduled the same weekend as a wedding.

“I’m sometimes criticized for embellishing reality and preferring to film beautiful places, and I don’t deny it at all,” Thompson said. “While I do like movies that are tougher and socially engaged like the Dardennes brothers’ or Ken Loach’s films, as a director I enjoy making lighter movies that make people dream, laugh and even cry a little.”

Thompson said she lived in New York for 10 years, and has “an immense admiration for comedy masters like Woody Allen, Frank Capra, Ernst Lubitsch, Sydney Pollack and Mike Nichols, all the way to Judd Apatow.”

Thompson’s pics don’t belong to the breed of French arthouse fare that play at film festivals, but they’re not pure comedy blockbusters either. And yet her films are often the right fit for international distributors looking for a smart Gallic dramedy.

Her four films have traveled in all key territories, including the U.S. Her biggest commercial success so far is “Avenue Montaigne,” starring Cecile de France as an aspiring actress and the late Pollack as an American helmer. The pic was released by ThinkFilm in 2007, and grossed more than $15.5 million in international markets.

Pathe co-produced and distributes “Saint Tropez” in France, and reps the pic in international markets. It has presold the pic to Italy (Made in Italy), CIS (Paradise), Israel (Shani), Portugal (Lusomundo), Brazil (Esfera) and Belgium (Alternative Films), among other territories. Pathe’s international sales topper Muriel Sauzay said U.S. buyers will discover the film at Colcoa.

“America instituted the concept of a universal comedy for the bigscreen, with Sennett, Chaplin and Keaton, and it has always been a respected genre in Hollywood,” explained Francois Truffart, director and programmer of Colcoa. “Since her first collaboration with her father, (Thompson) has become very well known for comedy that has an international audience, and she is able to make people laugh, even with her keen eye for their dramatic scenes.”

While family is a recurrent theme in Thompson’s films, it also plays a big role in her life. Her son, Christopher Thompson, has co-written all of her films, and has starred in three of them. Like his mother and grandfather, Christopher has made the transition into directing, making his helming debut with the 2010 “Bus Palladium.”

Thompson is also teaming with husband-producer Albert Koski on a Broadway-style musical based on the 1980 romance “La Boum.” Thompson, who cowrote the movie with late helmer Claude Pinoteau, is penning the book for the musical; the pic’s original composer, Vladimir Cosma, is onboard to write the music.

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Some Weinstein Accusers Balk at $30 Million Settlement

    Updated: Some of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are balking at a proposed $30 million settlement of their harassment claims, which could scuttle the deal, Variety has learned. Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case told Judge Mary Walrath on Thursday that they are close to a global resolution of the civil litigation. The accusers, their lawyers [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Pamela Anderson

    Pamela Anderson Fears Julian Assange 'Won't Survive' Extradition to U.S.

    After previously speaking out in support of her friend and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson doesn’t think he would survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. “I hope he gets out of there, but I don’t think he’ll survive extradition. It can’t happen. It’s not even an option. We can’t have him [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content