Cannes: Mondex & Cie Boards Antonio Banderas Starrer ‘Picasso’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based production house also enters TV drama production with Brussels lobby agency drama

Mondex & Cie Boards Antonio Banderas Starrer ‘Picasso’
Photo by Javier Ortega Ponce/DYDPPA/REX/Shutterstock

CANNES — Paris-based Mondex & Cie has boarded “33 Days,” starring Antonio Banderas as Picasso and recounting the painter’s emotional turmoil as he worked on “Guernica,” his reaction to the Nazi Luftwaffe blitzkrieg destruction of the Basque town in 1937.

Move comes as Mondex & Cie, headed by Guy Amon and Stephane Sorlat, is moving into TV drama production with its first project, “Revolving Doors.”

Lead-produced by Spain’s Numerica Films, with Mondex on board as its French co-producer “Picasso” takes a large step towards production, scheduled for fall 2016. Mondex and Numerica have opened conversations with various sales companies, said Sorlat.

A portrait of genius at work and in love, “33 Days” captures Picasso reacting to The Times correspondent George Steer’s eye-witness account of the Guernica bombing, dropping another idea for a mural commissioned for the 1937 Paris World Fair and embarking with energy on Guernica.

A rapacious womanizer, Picasso is meanwhile abandoning placid longterm lover Marie-Therese Walter, with whom he has just had a daughter, for feisty surrealist artist muse Dora Maar, who photographed Picasso at work on Guernica, while still visiting Olga Khokhlova, his legal wife, now in a mental institution, Amon said at Cannes.

“This is not a biopic though there are flashbacks,” one of a very young Picasso painting a dove, in a class given by his father, a painting teacher, he added.

Mondex is also co-producing “Bosch, The Garden of Dreams,” directed by Jose Luis Lopez Linares, one of Spain’s foremost docu-feature helmers, which sets out to explain Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch and his most famed work, the extraordinary and many mysterious “The Garden of Earthly Delights.”

Coinciding with the Prado’s 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, “Dreams” is sold by Latido.

“2016 is the fifth centenary of Bosch’s death. That is almost the only fact known about the painter of ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights,’” Lopez Linares has written.

He added: “Bosch has been seen as an esoteric sect member, a crypto-Cathar, an alchemist, or someone who was so cultured that his paintings include visual world-plays, based on biblical reference and folklore. These interpretations often reflect more the mindset of the spectator.”

Docu’s commentators include novelist Salman Rushdie, historian John Elliott and musician William Christie.

Mendez & Cie has also acquired a stake in a TV production house, Paris-based Memo Prod, headed by Arnaud Wyrzykowski, which is developing TV series “Revolving Doors.” “Sparking extremely good reactions,” said Sorlat, the skein turns on the campaigns and members of a Brussels lobby agency. “This is in a city where there are 700 European European members of parliament and 15,000 lobbies. This agency has top-flight lawyers but also near hitmen. It is willing to do almost anything to satisfy the corporations it is representing,” said Amon.

“This is a natural, organic European co-production,” Sorlat added. Mondex is in conversations with potential German, Italian and Spanish partners.

Representing Concorde, owned by the Tele-Munchen Group and one of Germany’s biggest independent distributors, on behalf of Herbert Kloiber and Markus Zimmer, at Cannes Mondex & Cie’s  Amon acquired for Concorde German rights to three titles. One is Gaumont’s “The Death of Stalin,” helmed by Armando Ianucci (“Veep”) and starring Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi and Olga Kurylenko. Also acquired:  Bac Films-sold “The Leisure Seeker,” starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland and the English-language debut of Paulo Virzi; and Elle Driver comedy “If I Were A Boy,” with Audrey Dana, who also co-wrote and directed, and Christian Clavier.