Michael Gentile’s Paris-based The Film, the banner behind Julie Delpy’s upcoming show “On the Verge,” is developing a string of projects with emerging filmmakers, notably Yaël Cojot-Goldberg’s “Farewell Caracas” and Mehdi Fikri’s drama “Et maintenant, le feu.”
The company is also producing Danielle Arbid’s “Des châteaux qui brûlent,” based on Arno Bertina’ book, and Delpy’s next French-language movie, “Les Barbares,” a culture clash film set in Brittany.
“Farewell Caracas,” co-written by Cojot-Goldberg and Thomas Vincent (the co-director of “Bodyguard”), is set in the 1970s in Venezuela and is a semi-autobiographical tale. The film revolves around French expats who move to Venezuela and will star Melanie Thierry (“In Therapy”), Arieh Worthalter (“Girl”) and Mathieu Amalric (“Sound of Metal”). It tells the story of the helmer’s parents whose love for one another got tested after her father, who was a well-established banker, spiralled out of control after discovering Klaus Barbie, a notorious Nazi, was living nearby in Caracas. The man’s obsessive quest to kill Barbie took a toll on his marriage and on his own life.
“It’s a beautiful script which will explore whether love can heal our wounds and our inner demons, and it will also be a film about sacrifice,” said Gentile, who cited Sam Mendes’s “Revolutionary Road” as a reference. The feature debut will start shooting in the fall.
“Et maintenant, le feu” will also mark the feature debut of Fikri, a journalist-turned-filmmaker, whose first short, “Deux minutes trente,” is expected to world premiere at a festival this fall.
While Fikri’s short tells the story of a young man who was killed in the hands of the police, his debut feature, “Et maintenant, le feu,” will center around the aftermath of the crime and will follow the victim’s sister as she embarks on a battle to obtain a fair trial for her late brother, as well as raise media attention around the case.
The movie will explore the divisions within the victim’s family and the obstacles this young woman on her quest for justice, said Bastien Daret, Arthur Goisset and Robin Robles at TopShot Films, which is co-producing the film. The helmer worked for many years at the French newspaper l’Humanité, where he covered many cases of police brutality. Although the film is fiction, it was was inspired by what he witnessed through his work on these cases, said Gentile.
Arbid’s project, meanwhile, is an adaptation of Arno Bertina’s book “Les chateaux qui brulent” and is co-written by Delphine Agut (“Skam”). The tense political thriller turns on a minister who is taken hostage by factory workers. Gentile said the action was set in the post-Covid French society. ‘It’s extremely timely and it’s a film about an insurrection,” added the producer.
The Film is currently in post with “Freestyle,” directed by Didier Barcelo and starring Marina Foïs and Benjamin Voisin. Elle Driver is handling sales. The company is also getting ready to shoot “Madame de Sévigné,” a period drama to be directed by Isabelle Brocard with Karin Viard.
Meanwhile, Delpy’s series “On The Verge” will world premiere at Series Mania, the international TV drama festival, in Lille in late August.