Rendez-Vous primes middlebrow comedy fare

'Moliere,' 'Homeland,' 'True Friends' among standouts


Philippe Le Guay’s dramedy “Cycling With Moliere,” Mohamed Hamidi’s immigration drama “Homeland” and bromance tale “True Friends” were among standouts at the 15th Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous, which ended Monday.

Although lacking a must-buy title, the seven-day RDV proved once again an effective launch-pad for comedic or concept-driven middlebrow French fare.

The Pathe Intl.-repped “Moliere” closed Spain (Wanda) and Italy (Theodora) with Scandinavia, Poland and Hungary in discussions, said Pathe Intl. head Muriel Sauzay. “Moliere” was pre-sold to Belgium (Victory), Canada (Mongrel), Brazil (Imagen) and Israel (Orlando).

Set in countryside around northern France’s La Rochelle, “Moliere” stars Lambert Wilson as a TV soap star trying to lure another thesp, played by a risibly grumpy Fabrice Luchini, out of retirement for Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.”

“We opened in France on January 16, the Rendez-vous’ first day, and it was a winning strategy: the film earned great word-of-mouth, proving the best-opening French film last week,” Sauzay said. “Moliere” grossed a first five-day $2 million.

Pathe Intl.’s RDV opener, Danielle Thompson’s “It Happened in Saint Tropez” drew interest from Germany and Canada.

From “Intouchables” producer Quad, “Homeland,” an ingeniously structured immigration comedy — a French man ends up trying to re-enter France as an illegal immigrant — stirred buzz off a Wild Bunch promo.

The SND-sold “True Friends” drew good word-of-mouth as a tender, classy dramedy about three longtime buddies. Jean-Hughes Anglade (“Braquo”) co-stars.

Of other movies, “Wrestling Queens,” given a big push by Wild Bunch, looks set for multiple deals.

Gaumont’s older woman drug pusher comedy “Paulette,” from Alain Goldman’s Legende, played well, and has initiated major territory sales.

Studiocanal’s romantic comedy “The Stroller Plan” generated unspecified deals.

EuropaCorp’s “It Boy,” toplining Virginie Efira (“Second Chance”) as an uptight fashion mag journo, is now in negotiations for English-speaking territories, Poland, Turkey, Italy and Spain, said EuropaCorp’s international sales topper Marie-Laure Montironi. Pic pre-sold Belgium, Germany, Russia and Latin America.

“Almost Charming,” another EuropaCorp romantic comedy, was licensed by Russia’s All Media, which plans a 40-plus print release.

Some distributors lamented the lack of a major standout.

“There wasn’t a perfect movie that had everyone smitten,” said Milada Kolberg, acquisition-sales head at Germany’s Senator, a key buyer of French films. She added, however, she was in advanced negotiations on two films.

But many distributors used the screenings to circle upcoming fare, including Berlin competish players: Le Pacte’s “The Nun,” Wild Bunch’s “Camille Claudel 1915,” from Bruno Dumont, and Elle Driver’s Catherine Deneuve starrer “On My Way.”

Camille Neel, Le Pacte’s international sales topper, who showed a “Nun” promo, said it has pre-sold to 30-plus territories since Cannes. “Nun” will close five more territories, including one major market, off the RDV.

Images from Michel Gondry’s “Mood Indigo,” one of France’s most-anticipated movies for this year, reportedly wowed buyers.

Buyers swarmed to a Wild Bunch promo-teaser presentation of upcoming pics, ranging from high-profile auteur movies such as Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” to Luc Jacquet’s stunningly shot “Once Upon a Forest.”