Loco Films has come on board “Paper Flag” (“Les Papiers de drapeaux”), the feature debut of 18-year old French director Nathan Ambrosioni.
The film explores the ambivalent relationship between two siblings and the concept of freedom. Guillaume Gouix (“The Returned”) stars as a young adult who has just got out of jail after 12 years of detention and bursts into the tranquile life of his younger sister, away from the city. Gouix stars opposite Noémie Merlant, who previously starred in “Once in a Lifetime” and “Heaven Will Wait.”
Loco Films is screening “Paper Flag” at the UniFrance Rendez-Vous in Paris, ahead of its launch at the European Film Market in Berlin next month. The film already won the audience prize at the La Roche-Sur-Yon Festival in France, which is spearheaded by Paolo Moretto, the new head of Cannes’s Directors Fortnight.
Laurent Danielou, the co-founder of Loco Films, told Variety that he “was highly impressed by the maturity and talent of the young filmmaker — the youngest French director to have received the selective subsidy Advance of Receipts from the National Film Board (CNC).” Danielou also compared the director to Xavier Dolan, another prodigy whom he had sold the first two films, “I killed my mother” and “Heartbeats.”
Ambrosioni, who previously directed and self-produced seven shorts, said he wrote the script of “Paper Flag” while in 12th Grade. “As I was becoming an adult, I started thinking about what it meant to be free, and that’s the theme of this story,” said Ambrosioni.
The director said he also wanted to zoom-in on the experience of inmates who come out of jail without any psychological or financial support and are thrown back into society, which leads many of them to relapse into delinquency. “It’s a real issue in our society,” said the director, who also spent time with an ex-convict who shared his experience.
Although “Paper Flag” deals with a difficult topic with a realistic approach, Ambrosioni aimed to have a lush and colorful cinematography to provide a contrast between the form and the substance of the film.
“Paper Flag” is produced by Sensito Films. Rezo Film will distribute the film in France on Feb. 13.