Legendary French actor Denis Lavant, best known for his collaborations with “Annette” director Leos Carax, has found the latest role he will disappear into.
Lavant is set to star in “Blood Burn,” a French-Georgian gangster thriller which is currently being presented in the Locarno Film Festival’s Alliance 4 Development program.
The film hails from first-time feature director Akaki Popkhadze and is based on his own experiences of immigrating from Georgia to the “poor neighborhoods” of Nice when he was 13 years old.
Set in that environment that Popkhadze knows like the back of his hand, the action in “Blood Burn” kicks off when a pillar of the local Georgian community is murdered. His son Tristan, who aspires to become an orthodox priest, finds himself alone with his grieving mother. Then Gabriel, his older brother with a troubled past, returns from a long exile to try and make amends by washing away his family’s honor.
Lavant will play a central role described as the French Riviera’s local mafia boss. The two brothers navigate around the character, before he eventually traps and manipulates them.
Popkhadze says the film intends to capture the “humiliations” and “emotional shock” of his family being uprooted and moved to a new country. The two main characters “personify the two energies that flow through” him, he says.
“I had to help my family rebuild, losing my recklessness to become a young adult. I found myself torn between the ancestral values of my community and the principles of a new country,” he says. “To build myself up, two paths were open to me. One was that of force, violence, and deception. The second was that of listening, patience and understanding. I began with the first, unstable and dangerous, until one day I renewed my childhood dream: to make films. In seizing this vocation, I resolutely set out to take the second path.”
“Blood Burn” is being produced by Cannes-based company Adastra Films, and co-produced by Georgian company Gemini. The film is currently seeking a third European co-producer at Locarno, and attaching a recognizable face like Lavant certainly won’t do any harm in that regard.
In addition, Variety has learned that the music for the film will be composed by Niaz Diasamidze, a Georgian musician whose previous work includes the Oscar-nominated “Tangerines.”
Lavant was nominated for a Cesar Award for “Holy Motors,” and is also known for his role in Claire Denis’ “Beaut Travail.” He is represented by UBBA.