French update of Hollywood hit bucks trend

18th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

BERLIN, Feb 17 (AFP) - "The Beat That My Heart Skipped", a Parisian update of a Harvey Keitel mafia thriller, screened in competition at the Berlin film festival Thursday in a twist on the usual Hollywood remakes of French hits.

BERLIN, Feb 17 (AFP) - "The Beat That My Heart Skipped", a Parisian update of a Harvey Keitel mafia thriller, screened in competition at the Berlin film festival Thursday in a twist on the usual Hollywood remakes of French hits.

A new take on director James Toback's 1978 "Fingers", the picture by Jacques Audiard tells the story of a young hustler who tries to go straight by following in his mother's footsteps as a concert pianist.

Turning the tables on the countless - and often superfluous - US remakes of French films ("Taxi", "Three Men and a Baby", "The Birdcage"...), "The Beat" revamps its predecessor for a new generation and culture.

Audiard said he had first seen the film in a Paris cinema and was taken with its unsentimental father-son story and dynamic main character, played here by the dazzling Romain Duris.

"But Toback's production was about the American mafia and I didn't think we could use that in France," he told reporters after the world premiere. "I really wanted to put this on a realistic level."

Although the film was well-received and tipped by some critics as a possible prize winner, Audiard nevertheless felt forced to fend off questions by European journalists about the purportedly strong US influence on his work.

"I don't know why I'm getting all these questions about the American influence. I'm very much a French boy," he insisted.

"I was as much influenced by Italian film as American. There were also Russian, Czech and German influences."

Asked by how Toback had reacted to seeing his story in French hands, producer Pascal Caucheteux said the American had jumped at the prospect of a good business deal.

"He sold us the rights even though he didn't hold them anymore," he said.

"He's a bit like the character in the film."

"The Beat My Heart Skipped" (De battre mon coeur s'est arrete) is one of 22 films vying for the Berlinale's Golden Bear prize for best picture.

The Berlin film festival runs through Sunday, with the awards to be handed out at a gala ceremony Saturday night.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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