German Co-Productions Make Big Showing in Cannes
Art and Experience:
German co-productions are making a strong showing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, among them Leos Carax’s opening film, “Annette,” Wes Anderson’s star-studded “The French Dispatch” and Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi’s “The Story of My Wife.”
Fabian Gasmia’s Berlin-based Detailfilm is among the producers on “Annette,” which stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. The musical shot throughout the German state of North RhineWestphalia, including at the Ordensburg Vogelsang, a former Nazi military academy that doubles for a high-security U.S. prison in the film. The production received €500,000 ($594,620) from regional funder Filmstiftung NRW in addition to support from the German-French Minitraité.
“The French Dispatch” marks Anderson’s third collaboration with co-producer Studio Babelsberg after “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Isle of Dogs.” The competition entry also partially shot at the studio. Studio Babelsberg’s Christoph Fisser, Henning Molfenter and Charlie Woebcken, who secured funding for the production from Medienboard BerlinBrandenburg (MBB) and the German Federal Film Board (FFA), serve as executive producers.
Ten German co-productions are unspooling in Cannes’ official selection, many of them with direct backing from local funders.
“The Story of My Wife” was co-produced by Komplizen Film, the company behind Maren Ade’s 2016 Cannes hit “Toni Erdmann.” Set in the 1920s, the film stars Léa Seydoux, Gijs Naber and Louis Garrel in a story about a sea captain who makes a bet in a café to marry the first woman who enters the establishment. Shot partially on location in Hamburg, the $11.9 million production received funding from both Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH) and MBB.
The Hamburg funder also backed Bruno Dumont’s “France,” which likewise stars Seydoux.
The pic, which secured $118,911 in regional funding, follows a star TV journalist whose frantic life is suddenly upended by a car accident. Hamburg-based Red Balloon Film is co-producing.
Komplizen Film, meanwhile, is also one of the producers on “Ahed’s Knee” from Berlin Golden Bear winner Nadav Lapid (“Synonyms”). The pic follows an Israeli filmmaker struggling with what he perceives as the death of freedom in his country.
Finnish helmer Juho Kuosmanen’s “Compartment No. 6,” an adaptation of Rosa Liksom’s 1980-set novel about a young Finnish woman on a train journey from Moscow to Ulan Bator, counts Jamila Wenske’s Berlin shingle Achtung Panda! among its producers. The pic is also backed by MBB.
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria,” whose producers include Match Factory Productions in Cologne, likewise secured MBB coin. Tilda Swinton stars as a woman visiting her sister in Bogotá, where she befriends an archeologist and gets to know other locals.
Mahamet-Saleh Haroun’s “Lingui” centers on a mother and daughter in Chad dealing with an unwanted pregnancy in a country where abortion is illegal. It’s co-produced by Cologne-based Made in Germany Filmproduktion and funded in part by Filmstiftung NRW and the FFA.
Neue Bioskop in Munich co-produced French helmer Mia Hansen-Løve’s English-language debut “Bergman Island,” starring Tim Roth and Vicky Krieps as filmmakers staying on Ingmar Bergman’s beloved Baltic Sea island of Fårö, where they hope to find inspiration for the work.
Berlin-based Razor Film is among the producers on Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Petrov’s Flu,” which centers on an under-the-weather comic book artist and his family in post-Soviet Russia.
Unspooling in Un Certain Regard is Sebastian Meise’s Austrian-German biopic “Great Freedom,” starring Franz Rogowski (“Transit”) as Hans Hoffmann, who was persecuted and repeatedly imprisoned for his homosexuality in post-war Germany under the notorious penal code Paragraph 175. Leipzig-based Rohfilm Productions produced with Vienna’s FreibeuterFilm.
Hungarian helmer Kornél Mundruczó’s “Evolution,” also produced by Match Factory, screens in the Cannes Premières section. The pic, an adaptation of Mundruczó’s stage play, follows three generations of a family shaped by the Holocaust. Shot in Leipzig and Budapest, “Evolution” received funding from Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM), Filmstiftung NRW and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF).
Hanna Slak’s German drama “Kein Wort,” produced by Berlin shingle Volte and selected for L’Atelier, centers on an orchestra conductor who sets her promising career aside to focus on her troubled 12-year-old son. Seeking quiet refuge with the boy on a nearly uninhabited island, she is instead gripped by suspicion and dread. The pic was funded in part by Germany’s Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) and the Minitraité.
Bowing in Directors’ Fortnight, Vincent Cardona’s “Les Magnetiques” is a French-German coming-of-age tale set in 1980s’ Brittany, where a group of friends set up a free radio station in their rural hometown.
When one of them faces military draft, he goes for the freedom of West Berlin. German producers include Gera-based Elemag Pictures and Berlin’s Port au Prince Film & Kultur Produktion, with backing from MDM, the DFFF and the Minitraité.
Also unspooling in the sidebar is Nathalie Álvarez Mesen’s “Clara Sola,” about a sheltered woman and healer in a remote Costa Rican village who breaks free from social and religious conventions and takes off on a journey of sexual discovery. Among the producers is Berlin- and Paris-based Laïdak Films.
Intl. Critics’ Week presents Colombian helmer Simon Mesa Soto’s “Amparo,” about a single mother in 1990s Colombia trying to keep her family together during trying times.
Co-producers include Berlin’s Flare Film. Likewise screening in the sidebar is “The Gravedigger’s Wife,” by Somali-Finnish director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed. The film, whose producers include Berlin-based Twenty Twenty Vision, revolves around a struggling family in Djibouti and their efforts to raise money for the mother’s expensive surgery. It’s backed by FFHSH and the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund.