We can’t wait for “France” starring Léa Seydoux

France is one of five (five!) Léa Seydoux movies hitting theaters this year. Here’s what you need to know.

Just call 2021 the Year of Léa Seydoux. Thanks to a combination of a consistently busy schedule and a confluence of timing factors, the French actor has no less than five movies releasing this year between “Deception,” “The Story of My Wife,” “No Time to Die” (which was famously stuck in a series of pandemic delays), the recently-released “The French Dispatch,” and now “France.” Her latest film puts Seydoux front-and-center of the action as the eponymous France de Meurs, a famous journalist who finds her life turned completely on its head after a reckless accident. As opposed to her more immediately recognizable movies this year, “France” appears to give the actor much more dynamic material to chew on. Read on for everything there is to know about “France.”

“France” comes to American theaters on December 10, 2021. The film held its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in July of 2021, followed by its domestic release in France on August 25.

What Is France?

“France” is billed as a “tragicomedy” about a famous TV journalist, starting off as a news satire before shifting tones completely to something much heavier and more serious. Much of the inspiration for the film came from how saturated our modern world has become through our collective obsession with all things digital. Accordingly, the story attempts to find the line between reality and fiction and a journalist’s role amid all the chaos. In short: this movie sounds like a lot, which only makes me even more eager to see it for myself.

In FRANCE, a satirical drama set in contemporary Paris, Léa Seydoux stars as France de Meurs, a seemingly unflappable superstar TV journalist whose career, home life, and psychological stability are turned upside down after she carelessly drives into a young delivery man on a busy street. This unexpected eruption of reality triggers a series of self-reckonings as well as a strange romance that proves impossible to shake. As France attempts to slow down and retreat into a simpler, anonymous life, her fame continues to pursue her. Starting out as a tragicomic satire of the news media, writer-director Bruno Dumont’s provocative new film spirals out into something darker as it examines the difficulty of maintaining one’s sense of self in a corrosive culture

 

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Cécile de France: “We like to dress up and have fun like children”

The actress Cécile de France was recently at the Zurich Film Festival to defend ‘”Lost Illusions”, a film adapted from Balzac’s river story. This historical drama unfolds the disillusioned fate of Lucien de Rubempré, a provincial who moved to Paris to become a writer.

Lucien de Rubempré (formidable Benjamin Voisin) is a young poet unknown in 19th century France. He has high hopes and wants to forge a destiny. He left the family printing press in his native province to try his luck in Paris on the arm of his protectress, Louise de Bargeton (Cécile de France). Soon delivered to himself in the fabulous city, the young man will discover the backstage of a world doomed to the law of profit and pretense.

“Lost Illusions”, a tale in the form of a triptych, was considered by Balzac as a major element of his great work, “The Human Comedy”. Inspired to the writer by his own experience in the field of printing, the book recounts the greatness and glory of his hero before his downfall.

Capitalism, unscrupulous journalists, traitors and mercantilism are strong ingredients of the story that has nothing to envy of the contemporary era. “Balzac was a visionary,” Cécile de France told RTS at the Zurich Film Festival. In fact, social networks are just missing to embody 2021. “But even at the time, we listened to the one who spoke the loudest,” adds Benjamin Voisin, who plays a very convincing Lucien de Rubempré.

The director of the film, Xavier Giannoli (“When I was a singer”, “Marguerite”), shot as close as possible to the places where the story took place as Balzac wrote it. And it feels. The meticulous and personalized costumes down to the smallest detail, the redeveloped streets of Paris in the 1920s, the theaters recreated from scratch, everything contributes to making the film a success in terms of aesthetics and restoring the atmosphere of the time. “We, the actors, are like children. We like to dress up and have fun. During the filming, everything was very probable and it was magical, we were amazed and that obviously helped us to play our characters”, explains Cecile from France.

An initiatory journey

The film was shot in 2019, long before the coronavirus pandemic. “I was lucky to be able to be present on the set every day. It was an extraordinary pleasure to see all these people around me passionate about this project,” says Benjamin Voisin. An initiatory journey from purity to degradation, Xavier Giannoli’s film magnifies its actors, whom he loves passionately. “He seeks beauty in each of us, despite the darkness of the film,” continues Cécile de France.

“Lost Illusions” is served by a five-star cast: Gérard Depardieu, Xavier Dolan, Jeanne Balibar, Vincent Lacoste, the late Jean-François Stévenin and Louis-Do de Lencquesaing appear on the film poster. “Being surrounded by such a band is a great gift for life”, concludes Benjamin Voisin.

Interview by Pierre Philippe Cadert

Web adaptation: Melissa Härtel

“Lost Illusions”, by Xavier Giannoli, to be discovered from October 20 on French-speaking screens.

Actress Laetitia Dosch on “Simple Passion”

Laetitia Dosch is interviewed for her new film Simple Passion (Passion simple) at the 23rd UniFrance Rendez-vous with French cinema. Our interviewer is Stefan Pape.

The film was directed Danielle Arbid, who adapted the novel by Annie Ernaux. Dosch stars alongside Sergei Polunin, Lou-Teymour Thion, Caroline Ducey, Grégoire Colin, Slimane Dazi, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse and Dounia Sichov.

Plot: A mother falls into an addictive relationship with a Russian diplomat, with whom she has nothing in common. Simple Passion will be released in the UK and US in 2021