×

Venice: Exclusive Clip From Bodybuilding Drama ‘Pearl,’ Starring Peter Mullan

Director Elsa Amiel competes for Venice's Lion of the Future award

Variety has been given an exclusive clip from “Pearl,” which world premieres on Sept. 1 in the Venice Days section of the Venice Film Festival. The drama, which centers on a female bodybuilder whose past catches up with her, stars Julia Fory, herself a female bodybuilder who has never acted before, and Peter Mullan.

The director, Elsa Amiel, is up for Venice’s Lion of the Future award for a debut feature. She has previously worked as an assistant director to Bertrand Bonello (“Saint Laurent”), Noemie Lvovsky (“Camille Rewinds”) and Mathieu Amalric (“On Tour”), among others.

In the film, bodybuilding star Lea Pearl is just a few hours from the final of the most important competition of her career when her ex-boyfriend shows up with the 6-year-old son she has not seen in years.

Talking about what drew her to the subject of bodybuilding, Amiel says: “There was a desire to explore the theme of the body in greater depth. How the body is portrayed.”

Her interest was sparked by portraits of female bodybuilders by New York-based photographer Martin Schoeller, which she found intriguing because the women “possess a quality that mixes uncanniness and femininity, while arousing a feeling of malaise mixed with fascination.”

She adds: “What unsettles the spectator is their vulnerability, which is completely unexpected when thinking about this discipline. This new perspective gave me the keys to explore bodybuilding.”

Speaking about working with Mullan, Fory says: “He was always trying to explore the best way to interpret each scene. I guess his approach encouraged all of us on set to keep tapping into that right emotion.”

The film is produced by Unité de Production and Bande à Part Films. World sales are handled by MK2 Films.

More Film

  • 'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit On His

    'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit on his Socially-Minded Smash

    PARIS —  Far from a dumping ground, the months of January and February have become synonymous in France with the kinds of highly polished crowd-pleasing comedies that dominate the annual box-office. This year is no exception, only nestled among the likely blockbusters “Serial Bad Weddings 2” and “City Hunter” is Louis-Julien Petit’s socially minded dramedy [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film, it confirmed to Variety Thursday. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according [...]

  • Nicolas Philibert Talks Nursing Documentary 'Each

    Nicolas Philibert: 'A Director Driven To Make A Statement Cannot Make Cinema'

    PARIS  — For over two decades, French documentarian Nicolas Philibert has examined his country’s various public institutions with a watchmaker’s calm and anthropologist’s curiosity. In films like “To Be and To Have,” “La Maison de la Radio” and “Louvre City,” he’s taken his camera into schoolhouses, broadcast hubs and the world’s most famous museum. His [...]

  • 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Film Review: 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Cinematographer-turned-director Bruce Thierry Cheung offers an artful and affecting mix of harshly defined specifics and impressionistic storytelling in “Don’t Come Back from the Moon,” a cumulatively poignant drama about absent fathers and abandoned families in an economically devastated desert community. Structured more like a tone poem than a conventional narrative, it’s an elliptical memory play [...]

  • Carlos Almaraz Playing With Fire review

    Palm Springs Review: 'Carlos Almaraz: Playing With Fire'

    Though he passed away three decades ago, Carlos Almaraz’s reputation as a major American painter — which was just getting started when he died of AIDS in 1989 — promises to continue to gain traction with the years. Documentary tribute “Playing With Fire” by his fellow-artist widow Elsa Flores and Richard Montoya mostly transcends standard [...]

  • Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano's 'The Specials'

    Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano's 'The Specials' Already a Gaumont Sales Hit (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following the widely successful “C’est La Vie,” Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s (“The Intouchables”) passion project “The Specials” (“Hors normes”) starring Vincent Cassel and Reda Kateb, has already lured major buyers in key territories. Gaumont, which delivered the largest number of French B.O. hits overseas in 2018, has pre-sold “The Specials” to Germany, Austria (Prokino), [...]

  • The Realm review

    Palm Springs Review: 'The Realm'

    The notion that government is one big con directing money into already well-lined pockets is confirmed and then some in “The Realm.” Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “Michael Clayton”-like thriller has struck a chord in Spain, where the persistence of corruption in the post-Franco era is a popular topic bordering on obsession. But are examples of corruption just [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content