L'ennemi intime and The Secret

4th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

by Fabien Lemercier, First up is Florent Emilio Siri’s L'ennemi intime (“Intimate Enemy”), which looks at the French-Algerian conflict, while Claude Miller’s The Secret deals with the complex issue of memories following the Jewish Holocaust.

by Fabien Lemercier

First up is Florent Emilio Siri’s L'ennemi intime (“Intimate Enemy”), which looks at the French-Algerian conflict, while Claude Miller’s The Secret deals with the complex issue of memories following the Jewish Holocaust.

Released on 362 screens through SND, L'ennemi intime plunges the viewer into the cauldron of the French-Algerian conflict in 1959, as the French army were trying to wipe out the Algerian National Liberation Front.

A young army recruit and idealist lieutenant (Benoît Magimel) finds himself facing war atrocities as he works alongside his captain (Aurélien Recoing), whose orders he ignores, and a sergeant poisoned by the madness of violence (Albert Dupontel).

The film – which had its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival – offers a mix quite rare in French cinema, with impressive action scenes (Siri is no stranger to the genre, having directed The Nest and Hostage, starring Bruce Willis) and a well-documented script by Patrick Rotman, an expert on the conflict. (Rotman was the interviewer in Bertrand Tavernier’s The Undeclared War (1992), scriptwriter on Alain Tasma’s television film Nuit noire, 17 octobre 1961 (2005) and author of the investigative book L'ennemi intime.)

Produced by Les Films du Kiosque, the €9.78m feature received €1.3m from France 2 Cinéma (€800,000 in pre-sales and €500,000 in co-production) as well as pre-sales from Canal + and Ciné Cinéma.

Distributed on 331 prints by UGC, Miller’s The Secret explores the emotional impact of the dramatic events of WWII on the life of a Jewish family after 1945.

Adapted from Philippe Grimbert’s novel set in the post-war period and told in flashbacks going back as far as 1936, the film – which features a strong cast composed of Patrick Bruel, Cécile de France, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric and Julie Depardieu – grabbed critics’ attention after it won the Grand Prize at the Montreal World Film Festival last month.

Produced by UGC YM on a €12.29m budget, The Secret was co-produced by Germany (20% via Integral Film) and backed by France 3 Cinéma (€1.3m).

Another favourite of film critics is Valeska Grisebach’s German feature Longing, acclaimed in competition at Berlin 2006, which Bodéga Films is releasing on nine screens.

Nicolas Philibert’s critically acclaimed documentary Return to Normandy, an out-of-competition entry at Cannes this year, opens through Les Films du Losange today on 50 prints.

Produced by Les Films d'Ici and Maïa Films on a €1.69m budget that includes funding from Arte France Cinéma (€400,000), pre-sales from Canal + and CNC advances on receipts (€150,000), the new film by the director of To Be and to Have arrives on screen this Wednesday alongside two US productions, one Chinese film and one Japanese feature.


Copyright cineuropa 2007

 

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