NEWS: MARCH-APRIL 2004

 

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  28 April 2004
 

bridept4a.jpg (8482 bytes)Though Bride of the Wind was released in 2001 in the USA, it didn't reach French theatres until today. Renamed Alma, la fiancee du vent, it doesn't appear to be doing any better at the box office than it did three years ago. However, Vincent's performance has been consistently praised while the script remains flawed. Film critic Brigitte Baudin of Figaracope gave it 3 stars and commented on the excellent casting. Back in the US, the LA Daily News had this to say - "Played by the striking French actor Vincent Perez, Kokoschka is far and away the film's liveliest, wittiest presence, especially when he takes to escorting a life-size Alma doll around town after the flesh-and-blood version has rejected him." For more reviews, info and photos, visit the Bride of the Wind film page. If you want to view the French trailer, click here. Apparently, the film was dubbed in French, but from the few lines from Vincent, I gather that's not his voice. Here are three brand new pics:

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  24 April 2004
 

Vincent and director Gerard Krawczyk journeyed to China to promote Fanfan la Tulipe's opening on February 28. For this occasion, a reception was held in Beijing with people representing the National Administration of Broadcasting, Television and Cinema, the film distributing firm, Huaxia, the Tang Media Group and many representing the Chinese cinematographic medium. Vincent was quoted as saying, "It is my dream to be able to come and work here. This is a country where there are many stories to tell that come from the people. There is a true need for telling stories. That is why I want to return here."

I came across this interesting Unifrance news item dated 3/25/04:

"FANFAN LA TULIPE" OFF TO A FLYING START IN CHINA

Released March 1, the film by Gerard Krawczyk has already won over 250,000 spectators in China. This successful launch can be attributed to a highly energetic promotional campaign (with Vincent Perez and Gerard Krawczyk already in China for the preview screenings) and to widespread distribution of the film, which was released on 120 prints dubbed in Chinese, covering a total of 900 screens.

In its opening week, Fanfan la Tulipe boasted the highest box office score of all films showing on Chinese screens at this time, against a backdrop of difficulties currently faced by the local exhibition sector. Since the first six months of 2004, admissions figures in China have plummeted. Competition was also fierce, with two Hollywood productions vying for theatergoers' attention (Mona Lisa Smile and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) as well as two Chinese films with star-studded casts just recently released.

According to estimations, Fanfan la Tulipe should reach 550,000 admissions before its run is out. However, March 12 saw the third film in the The Lord of the Rings series, The Return of the King, hitting Chinese screens, which could well stall the film's momentum.

It is worth noting that Fanfan is one of the very few French films to have benefited from distribution in China according to the shared box office revenues system (and a first for a French company: Tang Média), up to now reserved only for the American majors.

Here are some excerpts from the Shanghai Daily News:

The 18th-century hero, Fanfan La Tulipe, has enchanted French audiences for more than a century. A modern film version of the tale has captivated international buffs, but will it win over Chinese audiences who are nurtured on Hollywood blockbusters? With a flourish of swords and French humor, Fanfan la Tulipe recently arrived in Shanghai, hoping to win the hearts of Chinese audiences more familiar with Hollywood blockbusters.

The movie, which opened last year's Cannes Film Festival, and is the first European movie imported by China, is based on Paul Meurice's French novel of the same name... Ever since it came out in 1896, Fanfan's story has been adapted into cartoons, novels and films. The 1952 version of the film, which starred Gerard Philipe, has become a French film classic.

Screenwriter Luc Besson's current version, made on a budget of 15 million euros (US$18.3 million), is more of an entertaining comedy, with tongue-in-cheek humor, fast-moving, good-looking characters and dazzling costumes. "Fanfan is an authentic French hero,'' says Gerard Krawczyk, the film director who visited Shanghai in late February with Perez to promote the film. `"He has a rebellious character, with a complete disregard for the rules and power. He loves wine and women. The French character is like champagne - elegant, yet with exciting bubbles.''

But handsome French actor Perez admits he is much more of an introvert than Fanfan: "I'm a bit of a silent and depressed man. Acting in this 18th-century story was a challenge. I had to speak ancient French and move constantly like Jackie Chan. I trained for four months with an acrobatic troupe, learning how to walk on a balance beam and fight with swords. The most difficult part was smiling while doing some dangerous fighting."

Krawczyk says that Perez refused to use a stand-in to do his stunts, and gave the movie a natural effect. "It's like ballet. It looks easy and beautiful, but requires a phenomenal amount of hard work,'' he says. But for audiences in a country renowned for kung fu and stars like Jet Li and Jackie Chan, the action scenes, which include a rooftop duel, appear funny rather than awe-inspiring. More striking, to Chinese audiences, are the 600 exquisite ancient costumes and picturesque scenery of southwestern France...

Perez, who is of mixed Spanish and Swiss blood, does look like the legendary Fanfan, famed for his charming smile and loving heart. Fanfan ranked No. 8 of 216 films at the French box office last year, and the film has been purchased by more than 40 countries.

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Je Reste! was also screened earlier this month in Beijing. The film was one of the ten films shown at the "Panorama of French Films" festival. This was the first-ever French film festival in China, organized by the French Embassy and Unifrance. Though Sophie Marceau was invited but had to decline due to film commitments, Vincent and co-star Charles Berling were scheduled to appear at the April 8th opening ceremony.

   
  22 April 2004
 

Vincent to attend Cannes Film Festival next month! According to the Cannes press conference held yesterday, Vincent will be attending the film festival, which will run from May 12-23. Announcement was made of all the films to be presented in the three categories - Competition, Out of Competition and Un Certain Regard. The film, Le Voyage en suisse, directed by Lea Fazer, and now renamed Bienvenue en suisse, has been selected for "Un Certain Regard", described as films that present a particular perspective, whether the work of a young filmmaker or a confirmed auteur. It will be the opening film in that category. Filmed last summer in Switzerland, Bienvenue en Suisse is a comedy starring Denis Podalydes, Emmanuelle Devos and Vincent. It continues to show an opening date of June 30.

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Vincent recently volunteered his help at the First Festival of Magic Arts in Marrakech, which was held March 18-21. Last year a magic show was put on by eight performers to benefit a local orphanage. Since it was such a success, magician Baby Dahan came up with the idea to sponsor an annual festival. This year there were 40 professional artists including Vincent, French singers Renaud and David Halliday, and comic Frank Dubosc. Proceeds went to both the orphanage and the victims of February's earthquake in northern Morocco. Does anyone remember that scene in Shot Through the Heart when he does his magic tricks with the children?

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Lions Gate will be taking promo reels of Nouvelle France to Cannes to begin worldwide sales of this recently completed $35 million feature. Gerard Depardieu heads the cast with Vincent in the role of  Intendant Francois Bigot. The film is a co-production between Quebec's Melenny Productions, Davis Films (France) and UKFS (UK). Amazingly, they filmed simultaneously in both English and French. Principal photography took place in the fall of 2003 in Quebec, two castles in France, and various locations around Greenwich, England. Described as a love story with an epic historical backdrop, Nouvelle France is a drama about the fall of Canada's New France, covering a period between 1758 to 1761. The idea is very loosely inspired by the true story of a woman who was hung for killing her husband.

   
  4 April 2004
  No news, but Vincent has recently been out on the town.
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With Karine at the Madelios Shop Reopening Party in Paris on March 25th

With Jose Garcia at the VIP Club's Samsung Party in Paris on March 30th

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  22 March 2004
 

Vincent will play a cop in his next role! He'll star in a film adaptation of the French TV police series called Les Brigades du tigre.  This famous series, which ran from 1974 to 1983, featured three police officers, who will be played on the big screen by Lorant Deutsch, Jacques Gamblin and Vincent. The setting is the beginning of the 20th century when brigades were created to fight against crime. These brigades were the first to be equipped with telegraph capabilities and automobiles. The action occurs during the period just before and after World War I. Production dates have not been given yet due to scheduling problems. This is the first bit of news I have been able to dig up in over a month!

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Here are three photos taken during the Montreal Film Festival back in August 2002:

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