Marking an appropriate curtain-raiser to an event distinguished this year by the large number of movies directed by women and often about women, “Dalida” Lisa Azuelos’ time-shifting bio of the tragic superstar chanteuse, will open the 19th UniFrance Rendez-Vous With French Cinema.
The biggest national film market in the world, the 2017 Rendez-Vous runs from Jan. 12 to Jan. 16 in the august Intercontinental Paris-Le Grand, abutting the Place d’Opera.
Co-produced, distributed and sold internationally by Pathé, and hitting the Rendez-Vous with a good buzz, partly accrued through an Olympia music hall preview, broadcast at cinema cheaters throughout France on Nov. 30, the fifth feature from France’s Azuelos (“LOL: Laughing Out Loud”) presents in part the on-stage triumphs of Dalida who sold 170 million records before her suicide in 1987.
A dead ringer, Italian model-turned-actress Sveva Alviti incarnates Dalida. Equally, “Dalida” also covers the singer’s professional or romantic involvement with the men in her life, including her brother and manager Orlando Gigliotti (Riccardo Scamarcio), music producer Eddie Barclay (Vincent Perez). lover Jean Sobieski (Niels Schneider) and husband Lucien Morisse (Jean-Paul Rouve).
This year, Azuelos launched an association, Ensemble contre la gynophobie (Together Against Gynophobia) which organized an international competition, supported by the Kering Foundation, of short films illustrating gender violence against women.
If “Dalida” is true to Azuelos’ other movies, which explore female relationships from the point of view of a female narrator (“Lol (Laughing Out Loud)),” or a what-might-have been take on a love affair (“Quantum Love”), these often curtailed relationships will carry much of the depth of the movie, beyond its tour-de-force set-scenes renditions of the songs which made Dalida’s name.
About 480 film buyers, 42 French sales companies and 100 journalists from 50 countries will attend the Rendez-Vous which screens 115 films.
Its opening creaming tales place on Jan. 13 when UniFrance, following a hallowed tradition, will present an analysis of the box office performance of French movies at cinema theaters outside France in 2016, which is one of the most detailed of any national cinema institution in Europe. UniFrance will also unveil the line-up of its 7th online MyFrenchFilmFestival in the presence of its jury and selected filmmakers.
Elsa Keslassy contributed to this article