Lina El Arabi, the emerging French actor of the Cesar-nominated “A Wedding,” is set to headline “The Malediction” (“Leana”), a horror-thriller which will mark the feature debut of Abel Danan.
The film is being produced by Leo Maidenberg, whose credits include “Sisters in Arms” and “The Bunker Game.” Xavier Gens, the producer of Mounia Meddour’s Cesar-winning film “Papicha,” is co-producing. Gens is also a director specialised in genre films with a track record including “Frontiere (s).” El Arabi was featured as a rising star at Toronto in 2017.
Penned by Danan and Emma Lacoste, “The Malediction” takes place today, in a world that is slowly recovering from a mysterious epidemic. The movie is set in Paris and follows Yara, a 25 year-old young Moroccan woman who came to study in Paris and has not left her home for several months, as she is agoraphobic since childhood because of terrible family events. Her only contact is with her grandmother, Najiyah, by phone. One evening, a mysterious apparition disrupts her daily life, and forces her to relive her worst fears, pushing her to the edge of madness. Yara then thinks she is haunted by an evil presence and does not know if all this is due to her own imagination. She quickly understands that she will have to fend for herself, and survive at all costs.
The film is entirely filmed in Yara’s small apartment and shows her visions and nightmares. Maidenberg cited “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Mother!” and “The Thing” as references.
Danan previously directed the short horror film “Canines” which played at Gerardmer and starred Melissa George (“Mulholland Drive”) and Pauline Chalamet (“The King of Staten Island” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls”).
“The Malediction” will be lensed by cinematographer Michel Abramowicz (“Taken,” “The Thing” and “From Paris with Love”). The shooting will start at the end of the year in Paris and Morocco.