Bruno Dumont Initiates Shoot of Joan of Arc Sequel, ’Jeanne’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Arguably France’s most singular auteur, Dumont also world premieres sci-fi comedy ‘CoinCoin and the Extra-Humans,’ receives a Locarno Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

LOCARNO, Switzerland — After “Jeanette,” “Jeanne.” Bruno Dumont, one of France’s big name auteurs and recipient later this week of a Locarno Lifetime Achievement Award, will roll from next Monday on “Jeanne,” the movie sequel to “Jeanette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc,” which premiered at Cannes last year. Paris-based Luxbox handles world sales on “Jeanne.”

The new movie shoot comes just days after Dumont will also world premiere at Locarno broadcaster Arte mini-series “CoinCoin and the Extra Humans,” sold by Paris-based Doc & Film Intl., and his sequel to his biggest more-mainstream hit to date, 4-part series “P’tit Quinquin.”

Written by Dumont, “Jeanne” will once more be a musical, adapting the second and third parts of Belle Epoque writer Charles Peguy’s “The Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc.” These take Joan of Arc’s story through her victorious battles against the English, court case and death, burnt at the stake.

Many movies have been made about Joan of Arc, Dumont recognized at Locarno. “I’ll try to make for a modern age an adaptation which communicates the power of Peguy’s work: He was a major thinker and poet of modernity,” Dumont said.

Popular on Variety

He added: “Jean of Arc’s story is very easy to understand. We should tell things simply so that they’re accessible, without avoiding saying complex things.”

As Dumont has said of “Jeanette,” Joan of Arc’s life story is “the story of France, its mystic mystery, contradictions of culture and history, every facet of its spirit and heart.”

Dumont went on to say that he would work with a young Joan of Arc: The one who dies at the stake will be 10 years old. He will also abandon the thundering electro rock of “Jeanette” for the music of Christophe, the 1980s French pop singer and composer whom Dumont described as one of the great singers of French music and praised for the “melodiousness” of his music.

Shooting all of August, “Jeanne’s’” battle scenes will be shot on the sand dunes of Dumont’s native northern France, Joan of Arc’s trial in Amiens Cathedral. The battles will be choreographed, he added.

“Jean” was awarded a French government subsidy in January. As was reported at the time, Jean Brehat will produce for 3B Productions; French distribution will be handled by Les Films du Losange.

The English writer John Ruskin wrote a book about Amiens Cathedral, with a preface by Marcel Proust, Dumont observed at Locarno. Not many people know that. But that is probably the most erudite observation Dumont makes in a half-hour interview at the festival in which he fought against his reputation as an incomprehensible intellectual.

“CoinCoin and the Extra-Humans” certainly will do his newfound fame for more frequent accessibility no harm at all. World premiering at Locarno, and set to bow on French free-to-air broadcaster Arte in September. It returns Dumont happily to his home turf of blowsy cold countryside in Northern France, reprising the characters, slapstick. whimsy and near social surrealism of 2014 four-part mini-series “P’tit Quinquin.”

Some of the characters are notable older: Broken-nosed urchin Quinquin is now a strapping adolescent; Eve, the bugle-playing girl opposite, for whom CoinCoin still carries a candle, is also three-years-older, and is going out with a girl, Corinne. Fatso, the other member of the gang, is still fat. Captain Van Der Weyden, the head of the local village police, is thankfully the same imbecilic, bug-eyed, constantly blinking, grimacing, gangle-armed and monumentally bumbling law enforcement supremo.

CREDIT: Alibi Communications






“P’Tit Quinquin” proved a darkly comedic Cap Nord Noir as Van Der Weyden and sidekick Carpentier investigate a series of gruesome murders, where cadavers are found eaten inside maddened cows. “CoinCoin and the Extra-Humans” rings another genre change, weighing in as an alien invasion comedy.

Dumont’s register may have changed. His Hobbesian humanist world vision most certainly has not. Nor his capacity for mordant metaphor. The aliens hit earth as dollops of black gunge, falling from the heavens, half magma oil, half cow-pack, looking like the locals’ racist perception of the other aliens, illegal African immigrants, wandering the countryside outside Calais: Piles of shit.

“Coincoin” “talks about how people view the ‘other,’” said Dumont.

“Coincoin” paints a sometimes laugh-out-loud portrait of the imbecility of its law enforcement officers. Having been informed by the local forensic experts that the gunge is extra-terrestial, rather than communicate a heads-up to the world of the most important event in the history of humanity, Captain Der Weyden decides to visit the immigrants’ shanty camp, which seems suspicious.

In “P’tit Quinquin,” multiple villagers could have committed its murders. In “CoinCoin,” CoinCoin and Fatso join the local National Front, though CoinCoin has second thoughts.

But both series do not serve social judgement on the local community of this area of France, once a bastion of Marine Le Pen’s racist National Front, Dumont insists. Pig ignorant, tenacious, loyal to Carpentier, always on the case, and monumentally incompetent, Der Weyden is merely a reflection of the human condition, said Dumont. “Life is a tragicomedy,” he asseverates.

“CoinCoin” begins as the local village builds up for Carnival. It’s a time of “transgression, when men dress up as women, women as men, a huge mix, which is an act of catharsis,” Dumont says.

Art also offers transgression, is an act of purging, which gives people in highly-policed world the possibility of liberation from their own natures,” he argues.

He adds: “Cinema isn’t only entertainment, it purges the vicissitudes of nature. ‘CoinCoin’ isn’t just escapism, it has an educational role as well, a social mission to play.”

Dumont has spent some of the interview clearing joking. And he’s clearly delighted to have found in TV an audience of millions for his fiction. But in his deep faith in the role of art, however comic, he remains a deadly serious auteur.

Bruno Dumont'Slack Bay' aka 'Ma Loute' photocall, 69th Cannes Film Festival, France - 13 May 2016

More Film

  • The Cost of Silence

    'The Cost of Silence': Film Review

    A decade has passed since 2010’s Deepwater Horizon tragedy, history’s most catastrophic oil drilling accident that occurred when a BP-operated pipe exploded, leaking millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. There was no successful intervention for months, and time hasn’t healed all wounds. On the contrary, it opened new, irreversible ones as [...]

  • Nardjes A.

    ‘Invisible Life’s’ Karim Ainouz Drops Trailer for 'Nardjes A.’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    On Feb. 14 last year, Karim Aïnouz arrived in Algeria to trace via the story of his parents the Algerian Revolution which happened 60 years ago – its 1954-62 War of Independence from France. The uprising he very quickly started to shoot, however, was one happening right then, the Revolution of Smiles, whose first street [...]

  • Call of the Wild

    Harrison Ford in 'The Call of the Wild': Film Review

    Dogs, in their rambunctious domesticated way, can lead us overly civilized humans a step or two closer to the natural world. So it’s only fitting that the best dog movies have saluted that unruly canine spirit without a lot of artificial flavoring. Hollywood’s classic dog tales, like “Old Yeller” (1957) or “Lassie Come Home” (1943), [...]

  • Adventures of a Mathematician

    Indie Sales Unveils Trailer For 'Adventures of a Mathematician' (EXCLUSIVE)

    In the run up to Berlin’s European Film Market, Indie Sales has unveiled the trailer for Thor Klein’s “Adventures of a Mathematician” which had its world premiere in Palm Springs. The film tells the inspiring true story of a Polish-Jewish mathematician who got a fellowship at Harvard and went on to join the prestigious Manhattan [...]

  • Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE

    How Internet Backlash Helped 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Avoid Box Office Disaster

    It’s not a stretch to say Universal’s “Cats” and Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” had two of the most polarizing movie trailers in recent memory. Both caught fire online for all the wrong reasons after fans on social media torched the questionable CGI. “Cats,” an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, used a new science called [...]

  • Neumond Berlin Germany Restaurant

    Berlin Offers Diversity in Restaurant Scene

    Berlin Film Festival attendees have a chance to sample the diverse cuisine of a foodie city. Some of the top pics for a pre-film repast: Adana Grillhaus  A hugely popular Turkish restaurant in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, Adana Grillhaus now has a second location right around the corner. Manteuffelstr. 86 +49 30 6127790 Skalitzer Str. 105 [...]

  • my salinger year

    Berlin Festival's New Selection Committee Takes Off

    Berlin’s new seven-member selection committee — four women and three men — comprises the core of new director Carlo Chatrian’s programming staff, which is led Canadian critic Mark Peranson. Peranson was the Locarno Film Festival’s chief of programming when Chatrian headed that Swiss festival. This year, Berlin is opening with “My Salinger Year,” starring Sigourney [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content