Acclaimed French scribe/helmer Regis Wargnier, who’s best known for his Oscar-winning “Indochine,” has teamed up with Sidonie Dumas’ Gaumont and Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh to bring Francois Bizot’s bestselling autobiographical novel “The Gate” to the big screen.
The French studio is co-producing, handling international sales and will distribute in France. Jean Cottin and Laurent Taieb at Les Films du Cap are producing with Genevieve Lemal at Scope Pictures and Rithy Panh at Bophana Prod..
The epic autobiographical drama features a strong French cast including Raphael Personnaz, who just won a Lumiere nod (Gaul’s equivalent to the Golden Globes) for his performance in Bertrand Tavernier’s “Quai d’Orsay,” and Olivier Gourmet (“The Kid With A Bike”).
“The Gate” stars Personnaz as a French ethnologist, Bizot, who was imprisoned in the Cambodian jungle by the tyrannical Khmer Rouge in 1971. For four months, Bizot was chained up and relentlessly interrogated by Douch, the young head of the prison camp. The film depicts the unique relationship between Douch, one of the most villainous torturers of modern times who has recently been sentenced to life behind bars, and Bizot.
The Khmer Rouge orchestrated a genocide in Cambodia that resulted in the death of an estimated 2 million people.
Gaumont will introduce “The Gate” to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market which starts on Feb. 6.
“‘The Gate’ is reminiscent of Wargnier’s early films. It’s a captivating, epic story based on a novel published worldwide, lensed with an over-the-shoulder camera in total immersion; an it stars an up-and-coming actor (Personnaz),” said Yohann Comte, Gaumont’s deputy head of sales.
Wargnier, whose career spans over 25 years, achieved international recognition with Catherine Deneuve starrer “Indochine,” which won a foreign-language Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1993.
“The Gate” is shooting on location in Cambodia.