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Studiocanal Rethinks Idris Elba’s ‘Bastille Day’ Release, Bac Proceeds With ‘Taj Mahal’ Bow

PARIS — While many studios and indie distributors have cancelled their premieres and releases for security and/or commercial reasons, some companies handling pics dealing with terrorism are facing another challenge.

Studiocanal is now in the process of rethinking its release strategy for “Bastille Day,” the actioner starring Idris Elba as a former CIA agent hunting down terrorists across Paris. The movie is supposed to come out in the U.K. on Feb. 19, followed by Germany on March 17 and France in July, but a Studiocanal rep said the rollout schedule will certainly be tweaked.

“In light of the recent tragic events, we’re reevaluating the timing of the film’s release across Europe,” the rep said.

Meanwhile, Bac Films is going ahead with the release of Nicolas Saada’s “Taj Mahal,” an tense thriller tackling the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, on Dec. 2. The movie, which premiered at Telluride and played at Venice, centers around the true ordeal of a young woman (played by “Nymphomaniac” star Stacy Martin) who was trapped in one of the suites of the hotel during the assault.

“We discussed at length with everyone involved, our director Nicolas Saada and the producer Patrick Sobelman about what we should do with the film following the attacks. We didn’t take the commercial aspect in consideration, we raised two issues: An ethical one and a political one; both are intertwined,” said Bac Films’ managing director Mathieu Robinet. “As we’re mourning the deaths of so many people who died because of terrorist attacks, we initially thought it would be best to delay it, but then when we thought harder, we realized that postponing the film would result in capitulating before terrorists, losing the battle.”

“‘Taj Mahal’ is neither sensationalist nor political: We’re not showing any blood, we’re not showing the terrorists either, we’re just in the mind of this young girl, attempting to depict her complex feelings during the ordeal,” Robinet added.

The film exec thinks “Taj Mahal” could allow French people to excruciate their own fears and interrogations.

Another distributor who went ahead is Pathe, which bravely hosted the premiere of Thomas Bidegain’s directorial debut “The Cowboys” this week and will release it Nov.25. The Directors’ Fortnight player, penned by Bidegain and Noé Debré, turns on a man searching for his daughter who has fled to rejoin a jihad. Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor produced the film.

“It’s inspired by a Western genre and uses the codes of genre to chart the odyssey of a father searching for his daughter,” Bidegain told Variety. “We chose to give the film this form because the westerns we love, classic westerns, all give us a sense of the nation, tell us about a moment in the creation of the United States. We wanted, modestly, in a French film, to ponder on the state of our nation today, in the face of all these disruptions.”

“‘The Cowboys” is not a film on jihad. It’s not a film about those who leave. It’s a film about those who stay, about our community and the way we, unarmed, must cope and find a way to continue living. Together,” Bidegain said.

As previously announced, the release of Nicolas Boukhrief’s “Made in France,” a thriller about a journalist infiltrating a jihadist cell in a Parisian project, was initially set to bow today, but has been delayed by its distributor Pretty Pictures in agreement with the producers.

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