Studiocanal has pre-sold French auteur Anne Fontaine’s “Night Shift” to most international territories ahead of its world premiere in the gala section of the Berlin Film Festival.
“Night Shift” has been acquired for Benelux (Athena) Switzerland (Frenetic), Spain (Dea Planeta), Italy (Leone), Portugal (Lusomundo), Romania (Prorom), Ex Yugoslavia (Megacom), CIS (Top Film), Turkey (Filmarti), Gulf countries (Selim Ramia), South Korea (First Run), Hong Kong (A Really Good Film Company), Taiwan (Moviecloud) and Indonesia (PT Prima).
In “Night Shift,” Fontaine delved into the world of three French officers, Virginie (Virginie Efira, “Benedetta”), Erik (Gregory Gadebois, “Nothing to Hide”) and Aristide (Omar Sy, “The Intouchables”), who are assigned to drive a migrant (Payman Maadi) back to the border for unspecified reasons. On their way to the airport, Virginie discovers the prisoner will be sentenced to death if he goes back to his country and starts to question their mission.
Set over the course of 24 hours, the film explores the perspective of each character and sheds light on their personal lives through flashbacks, explaining how differently they are handling the moral dilemma. “Night Shift” is based on Hugo Boris’ novel.
Although the film seems to mark a departure for Fontaine, who’s made many period films that didn’t particularly tackle timely political issues, she said “Night Shift” shared similarities with “The Innocents” in the way it has an “existential, metaphysical dimension” and tells the “story of characters who must decide whether to obey the rules or transgress them, and find themselves on a human journey.” Like the oppressed nuns in “The Innocents,” the protagonists in “Night Shift” wear a costume that conditions them to comply to the established rules and prevents them from defying them.
She said the was also drawn to Hugo Boris’ book because of the “strong female character of Virginie, who refuses to obey, is guided by her conscience, and brings the other two officers to question the mission they have been given,” said Fontaine. “There is something timeless and at the same time so timely in these themes of disobedience and moral responsibility,” said the filmmaker, who’s just finished the script of her next film, which will center on the composer Maurice Ravel.
Anna Marsh, who was recently appointed CEO of Studiocanal, said “Night Shift” was the type of ambitious director-driven French film that Studiocanal strives to invest in. “Studiocanal is continuing to support French cinema made by auteurs, and we’re still looking to attract great talent from France and showcase them,” said Marsh, who has just promoted Anne Cherel to the position of head of global sales at Studiocanal, and Chloe Marquet, who is now head of international sales.
“Night Shift” was produced by Jean-Louis Livi at F Comes Film and Philippe Carcassonne at Ciné@. Studiocanal is handling international sales and will be distributing the movie in France.