×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Locarno: Films Boutique Handling Denis Côté’s ‘A Skin So Soft,’ Samuel Benchétrit’s’Dog’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Both films world premiere at Locarno, ‘A Skin So Soft’ in Competition, ‘Dog’ on its Piazza Grande

Having represented the most talked-up title at this year’s Karlovy Vary, Berlin-based Films Boutique will hail into Locarno, Europe’s biggest summer festival, with two unannounced titles on its books: “Dog,” the latest from French auteur Samuel Benchetrit (“Macadam Stories”), and “A Skin So Soft,” from Canada’s Denis Côté.

A consistent festival prize winner in a short but prolific career, directing nine feature-length movies from 2005, Côté is best known for “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear,” which won the Alfred Bauer prize for opening up new perspectives at the 2015 Berlinale.

But more than any other festival, Côté’s career has turned around Locarno where a Golden Leopard for best video in 2005 allowed him to give quit his day job. 2008’s “All That She Wants” and 2010’s “Curling” both won best directing at Locarno.

Côté returns to the Swiss festival this year with “A Skin So Soft,” about a group of what is termed “modern-day gladiators,” high-level body builders, a strongman and an ex-champion-turned-trainer who spend much of their time at the gym, pursue extreme diets and all have a common goal, the film’s synopsis reads: “Overcoming the limits of their bodies.” “‘A Skin So Soft’ is an “open exploration of the regimented daily lives of these misunderstood monsters,” it continues.

Playing Piazza Grande, often the sign of a crowd-pleaser, “Dog” will be distributed in France by Paradis Films, the new distribution label of former Océans owner Eric Heumann.

Geneva-based Adok Films, launched by José Michel Buhler, the former Agora Films founder, has acquired distribution rights to Switzerland.

Starring actor-play director Vincent Maccaigne (“Eden”), singer-thesp Vanessa Paradis (“Heartbreaker,” “Café de Flore”) and Belgian Berlin and Cannes prize winning actor-director Bouli Lanners (“Eldorado,” “The Giants,” “The First, The Last”), “Dog” marks the sixth feature of a director noted for his top-notch casts, deadpan humor and loopy dialogue.

It adapts Benchétrit’s own novel in a film about “the fall of an individual,” told with “humor and self-mockery,” its synopsis runs, turning on Jacques Blanchot, who just lost everything:  his wife, his son, his house, his work. Abandoned, he is taken in by a zealous pet  shop owner  who, unable to see him as a friend, offers to train him as his dog.

Produced by Julien Madon, who backed “Macadam Stories,” Lisa Azuelos’ “Dalida” and Julien Leclerq’s “The Crew,” “Dog” signals Benchétrit’s return to Locarno after “I Always Wanted To Be a Gangster,” another Locarno Piazza Grande player that won a best screenplay plaudit at the 2007 Sundance Festival.

The Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 2-12.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

  • Running Against the Wind

    Young Africans' Dreams Are Focus of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda Oscar Picks

    Films about young Africans trying to fulfill their dreams in the face of war, poverty, tradition and other forms of adversity have been submitted for Oscar consideration by three East African nations. The selections by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda to compete in the international feature film category reflect the relative youth of filmmaking in the [...]

  • Bob Bakish Viacom CEO

    ViacomCBS Leaders Talk NFL Negotiations, Streaming Wars and Merger Focus

    Viacom and CBS aim to prosper in the streaming arena by covering both ends of the marketplace, blending Viacom’s focus on ad-supported platforms with CBS’ strong head start on subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish and incoming ViacomCBS chief financial officer Christina Spade outlined the combined company’s vision for how [...]

  • Steven Poster ICG National President

    DP Steven Poster to Receive SOC Lifetime Achievement Award

    Stephen Poster, cinematographer on such classics as “Donnie Darko” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” will receive the Lifetime Achievement Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Camera Operators at a ceremony on Jan. 18, 2020. SOC grants the award to an Individual who has served the community at large and/or the Society through outstanding service [...]

  • RUTH HANDLER Barbie doll creator Ruth

    'Dream Doll' Biopic on Barbie Doll Inventor in Development (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Dream Doll,” a biopic based on Barbie Doll inventor Ruth Handler, is in development with Bron Studios, Rita Wilson and Rare Bird Films, Variety has learned exclusively. The film will chronicle the life of Handler as she founded Mattel in 1945 and created the now-iconic Barbie doll, named after her daughter Barbara, in 1959. Handler [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content