It’s life and death in Arcand’s Les Invasions barbares

Montreal: In the new Denys Arcand film Les Invasions barbares, a revisiting some 15 years later of the principal characters of The Decline of the American Empire, family and friends, old and new, gather at the bedside of the gravely ill Remy, whose days may be numbered.
The setting seems perfectly suited for a caustic and insightful Arcand discourse on the state of health and palliative care, pain, church, state and the justice system.
The 50-day shoot wraps Nov. 14 followed by an additional week of second-unit photography. Locations include Montreal, which also stands in for Baltimore (a medical facility) and London, and Lake Memphamagog in the Eastern Townships.

Montreal: In the new Denys Arcand film Les Invasions barbares, a revisiting some 15 years later of the principal characters of The Decline of the American Empire, family and friends, old and new, gather at the bedside of the gravely ill Remy, whose days may be numbered.

The setting seems perfectly suited for a caustic and insightful Arcand discourse on the state of health and palliative care, pain, church, state and the justice system.

The 50-day shoot wraps Nov. 14 followed by an additional week of second-unit photography. Locations include Montreal, which also stands in for Baltimore (a medical facility) and London, and Lake Memphamagog in the Eastern Townships.

Cinemaginaire’s Denise Robert, producer alongside Daniel Louis, says the shoot went very smoothly, noting Arcand feels somewhat less constrained on Invasions barbares than on his Writers Guild of Canada best screenplay winner Stardom (2000), which had double the budget. ‘That’s the number-one priority, that he’s happy doing this film,’ she says.

Remy Girard reprises his role as Remy, now in his fifties and divorced. Other returning cast members include Dorothee Berryman as Remy’s ex, Dominique Michel as Dominique, Yves Jacques as Claude, Louise Portal and Pierre Curzi. Newcomers include Stephane Rousseau as Remy’s estranged son, French actress Marina Hands, Mitsou Gelinas, Toni Cecchinato and Marie-Josee Croze.

Selected craft credits go to PM Helene Grimard, DOP Guy Dufaux, production designer Francois Seguin, costume designer Denis Sperdouklis and makeup artist Evelyne Byot.

Virtually the entire movie has been shot from a Steadicam mount, facilitating continuous filming and intimate closeups, says Robert.

Distrib Guy Gagnon of Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm says Invasions barbares will receive a major release, possibly up to 100 screens. The film has been presold to Radio-Canada. Robert is in negotiations for international rights.

The film is a $6-million Canada/France (10%) coproduction between Montreal’s Cinemaginaire and Fabienne Vonier of France’s Pyramide Productions. Some of the post-production will be done in France. The composer is French, as is picture editor Isabelle Dedieu (Jesus de Montreal, Stardom), who is working at Splice.

In other news, Cinemaginaire is a minority coproducer on the new Claude Miller/Films de la Boissiere feature La Petite Lili (Equinox Films), which is shooting in Paris. Emile Gaudreault’s highly anticipated coming-out comedy Mambo Italiano (Equinox) is in post, with Richard Comeau (Nuit de Noces) editing.

Rudy’s Wars

American actor James Woods stars as former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the Carleton America/USA Network movie Rudy’s Wars, a Muse Entertainment service production filming on location in Montreal from Nov. 7 to mid-December. Additional shooting is planned for NYC.

Muse serviced the Carleton/Animal Planet MOW The Scent of Danger, shot here this past summer.

Rudy’s Wars is being directed by Robert Dornhelm (RFK) and also stars Penelope Ann Miller as the mayor’s wife. Canadian cast members include Michelle Nolden, Sam Stone, Brian Wrench, Alan Fawcett, Phillip Pretten and Vlasta Vrana.

The film chronicles Giuliani’s personal life and career set against the attack on the Twin Towers – his rise to power as district attorney, then mayor, and the highly publicized circumstances surrounding his destroyed marriage.

The Los Angeles Times recently ran a rather critical piece on the so-called ‘runaway’ production, mainly quoting SAG sources, but Giuliani himself declined to comment.

And as if one runaway Rudy isn’t bad enough, the National Post reports U.S. indie producer Five Mile River Films is set to shoot a competing biopic, Emperor of the City: The Story of America’s Mayor, on location in Toronto, on behalf of NBC.

Exec producers on Rudy’s Wars are Stephen Davis, Gary Goldberger, Linda Ross and Jody Brockway. Preston Fischer is producing. Serge Ladouceur is the DOP. Jean-Baptiste Tard is the designer, Mariane Carter is costume designer and Michel Chauvin is PM. Casting is by Andrea Kenyon and Associates.

In other news, Muse Distribution International reports Lifetime Network in the U.S. and MVS of Mexico have picked up the CBC TV feature The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, starring Wendy Crewson, Steven Mackintosh and Gary Lewis and produced by Original Pictures of Winnipeg, Indian Grove Productions of Toronto and Studio 8, London.

Buyers from Denmark’s public network TV2 and Spain’s TVE have taken the 13-part, one-hour fantasy adventure series Tales from the Neverending Story, broadcast on CBC and coproduced by Muse and Germany’s The Movie Factory Film GmbH in association with Hallmark Entertainment. Rainbow TV Corp. has bought the series for all Middle East territories.

Earlier deals were cut with France’s TF1 and TF6, Leda Films for all of Latin America, plus a dozen more sales to South East Asian territories.

A four-movie video/DVD package has been sold to Gussi of Mexico, Goodtimes Video of the U.S., Imavision of Canada, Next Video of South Africa, Nikkatsu of Japan, Rapi Films of Indonesia and Medusa Communications in the U.K.

Action at Cinegraphe

Director Nicholas Kinsey’s second feature film, Women Without Wings, starring Katya Gardner, Micheline Lanctot, Besa Imani, Linda Bush, Lowell Gasoi, Gjovalin Gjoni and Alfred Trebicka, is an official selection at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival, Nov. 11-17. Kinsey, who wrote and produced the film through his Ste-Foy/Quebec City production house Cinegraphe Productions, flew to Germany for the screening and will meet with U.K. and other European producers on upcoming projects.

Women Without Wings was shot over eight weeks on location in the northern mountains of Albania, with an additional eight days in Quebec City.

The film tells the story of ‘Albanian virgins,’ a 500-year-old canon practised throughout the Albanian-speaking Balkans which ‘allowed women to avoid marriage by becoming avowed virgins, who live, and behave like men,’ says the director.

Cinegraphe was able to pick up half the crew in Albania, which now produces four to five films a year. The 35mm film negative (shot by cinematographer Ivan Gekoff) was processed in Rome and everything was shipped back to Montreal.

The movie will be released in cinemas in Quebec in January or February by Cinema-Libre. An Albanian premiere at the Millenium Theatre in downtown Tirana and subsequent screenings in Prishtina (Kosovo), Skopje (Macedonia) and possibly Athens are also in the works. The $700,000 film has been presold to The Movie Network, Movie Central and Super Ecran.

Cinegraphe and Fundy Production Associates of Fredericton recently completed principal photography on the Quebec/New Brunswick feature Sundown, an intimate contemporary drama starring Dennis Cutts, Julie Reitzel, James Collins, Silya Wiggens and Montreal actors Lowell Gasoi and Greta Papageorgiu. The film is directed by Doug Sutherland and scripted by Sutherland and Jackie Field. Kinsey is exec producer and DOP. The art director was Jonathon Best.

Funding on the $700,000 production comes from Film NB, Movie Central, The Movie Network, Super Ecran and Cinema-Libre.

NuFilm, Nadeau prep feature

Director Bernard Nadeau is the winner of this year’s best music video award represented at the recent ADISQ industry gala. Nadeau won for his work on Eric Lapointe’s Qu’est ce que ca peut ben faire (Disques YFB), a remake of the Jean-Pierre Ferland pop classic.

The performance piece was shot at Metropolis on 35mm B&W film by DOP Richard Laniel, edited by Paul Jutras at Virtua and produced by Paul Barbeau and Martin Henri of NuFilms.

NuFilms has produced 100 music videos since its launch in May 2000.

Barbeau and Nadeau, also a spot shooter with Voodoo Arts, are in preproduction on a low-budget, privately financed feature film called Le Cultivateur, an edgy, contemporary drama, says Barbeau.

Cinema du Quebec a Paris

The sixth edition of the industry showcase Cinema du Quebec a Paris, organized by SODEC’s European office in Paris, takes place Nov. 13-19. This year’s program brings together professional associations from Quebec and French-speaking Europe, including Unifrance, Centre national de la cinematographie (CNC), Federation nationale des distributeurs de films (FND), Ateliers du cinema europeen (ACE), Societe civile des auteurs, realisateurs et producteurs (ARP) and Canadian distributors in CAFDE/ACDEF.

Screenings include nine feature-length productions and a short film section, including two feature films slated for release in France, Manon Briand’s La Turbulence des fluides (Dec. 11) and Carole Laure’s Les Fils de Marie (January 2003). A first, two of the nine features, Ricardo Trogi’s Quebec-Montreal and Robert Morin’s Le Neg’, both shot in original Quebecois, will be presented with French subtitles.

The short film program includes Richard Jutras’ Hit and Run, Bayard d’Or winner at this year’s Festival du film francophone de Namur; films by students of l’Institut national de l’image et du son and the Kino Collective; and a panel discussion led by Michel Coulombe, Silence on court/ARTV programmer.

SODEC’s delegation includes president Pierre Lafleur, cinema and television production director general Joelle Levie and European office director Christian Verbert.