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France’s 3B Productions Developing Projects From Atiq Rahimi, Karim Dridi (EXCLUSIVE)

Juliette Binoche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Catherine Deneuve.
Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/Shutters

3B Productions, the French production outfit behind Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Venice opener “The Truth,” is developing the next films of Atiq Rahimi (“The Patience Stone”) and Karim Dridi (“Chouf”).

Rahimi, whose latest film “Notre-dame du Nil” will be world premiering at Toronto, is developing with Jean Brehat at 3B Productions and Ron Senkowski (“The Prophet”) the adaptation of “Les echelles du levan” (“Port of Calls”), a novel by French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf.

“I’ve always loved Amin Maalouf’s novels and I wanted to adapt one, so when Ron Senkowski proposed producing with him the adaptation of ‘Les echelles du levan,’ I didn’t hesitate,” said Brehat, adding that he thought of Rahimi to direct the film because he admires his books and the quality of the two films he’s helmed.

“Les échelles du levan” will reunite Rahimi with Golshifteh Farahani, who had starred in his 2012 film “The Patience Stone.” The cast will include the singer Mika, a star in France who is one of the coaches on “The Voice,” French comedian Kev Adams and Turkish actress Belçim Bilgin.

The story revolves around a young Muslim man from Lebanon who travels to France at the beginning of World War II to study medicine and unexpectedly falls in love with a Jewish woman who is involved in the French Resistance. The two marry against all odds, but their union is threatened by the war in Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Brehat, who is part of this year’s Oscar committee in France, is producing “Les echelles du levan” with Muriel Merlin and Rachid Bouchareb, who sits on Venice’s jury, at 3B Productions. Senkowski, Samira Kawas, Pol Cruchten and Marco Coen are co-producing. The script is written by Rahimi, Claire Le Luthern, Catherine Charrier and Senkowski. The movie is expected to start shooting next April.

3B Productions is also developing “Les Faineants” by Dridi. The film will take place in a seaside corner of Brittany where people from different backgrounds and ethnicities have found refuge and live in trailers, staying on the margins of society because they refuse to fit in. “Les Faineants” will mark Dridi’s follow-up to “Chouf,” which played at Cannes in the special screening section.

As with “Chouf,” which explored the criminal underworld of Marseilles, “Les Faineants” will star many non-professional actors. Dridi will also be casting well-known stars in some of the leading roles. He’ll film for a year and live alongside the people in the district in which it’s set, said Merlin, who is lead producing the project.

“‘Les Faineants’ will have a contemporary resonance because it will shed light on people who reject society and don’t want to work and live under established rules,” Merlin said. She said the narrative film would have seven or eight protagonists. Dridi is co-producing “Les Faineants.”

The company’s slate also includes Bruno Dumont’s “On a Half Clear Morning,” with Lea Seydoux and Blanche Gardin, and Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s next film, among other projects.