French director David Oelhoffen, whose latest film, “Close Enemies,” is competing at the Venice Film Festival, is preparing two new politically minded, internationally driven films: “The Fourth Wall” (“Le quatrieme mur”) and “Les derniers hommes.”
“Les derniers hommes” is being developped by Galatée Films, the company co-founded by French actor-turned-producer Jacques Perrin, whose credits include “The Chorists.” The project is based on Alain Gandy’s autobiographical novel, “Légion étrangère Cavalerie,” which chronicles the hellish journey of foreign soldiers who fought on behalf of the French in March 1945 as they struggled to make their way out of the jungle after being defeated by the Japanese army.
Oelhoffen said the project was brought to him by Perrin, who bought rights to Gandy’s novel and is passionate about the subject, having starred in Pierre Schoendoerffer’s 1965 film “The 317th Platoon,” which is set in Vietnam in 1954.
“It will be a survival drama charting the journey of these men who came to the French Legion from all over Europe and were abandoned in the chaos of the jungle after being defeated,” said Oelhoffen, adding that casting was ongoing and would include actors from different countries to reflect the ethnic diversity of the French Legion.
Oelhoffen is also developing “The Fourth Wall,” an adaptation of Sorj Chalandon’s novel, which won the prestigious French literary award Prix Goncourt des Lyceens. The film follows Georges, who driven by his pacifist beliefs and high ideals of uniting people of different religions, embarks on a journey to set up a play based on Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone” in war-torn Beirut in 1982. The film is being developed by Christine Rouxel, and casting is under way.
Oelhoffen said he has a special bond with Venice. He showed his last film, “Far From Men,” on the Lido, which was based on Albert Camus’ “The Guest” and starred Viggo Mortensen. His 2004 short “Sous le bleu” also played in Venice. Oelhoffen made his feature debut with “In Your Wake,” which premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2007.
“Close Enemies,” produced by Marc du Pontavice at One World Films and sold by Bac Films, world premieres on the Lido on Saturday. It is a Paris-set contemporary crime thriller starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Reda Kateb as two close friends in a suburb riddled by drug trafficking who end up taking opposite paths.