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  10 June 2009

Today marks the tenth anniversary of The Vincent Perez Archives. It has been a pleasure to maintain and update this unique web site where one can access all aspects of Vincent Perez's life and career as writer, director, actor and photographer. It has also been an honor to connect with Vincent as well and know that he appreciates my efforts on his behalf. It is my intention to not only publish the latest news but to continually expand the VPA, adding more information on his previous work. I thank all of you who have conveyed your appreciation for my endeavor. June 10th is also an important date to celebrate Vincent's 45th birthday.

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I am devoting time in the upcoming months to re-designing the individual film pages and adding more information and photos. You can preview this by visiting the new pages for "La Neige et le feu", "Shot Through the Heart" and Hotel de France.

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This past winter Vincent was involved in an Italian television project called "Lo Scandalo della Banca Romana(Scandal in the Roman Bank). It will be featured as a mini-series, shown in two parts to be aired in November on TV RAI. Produced by Rai Fiction for Albatross and directed by Stefano Reali, the film recounts Italy's greatest financial crisis at the end of the 19th century, a scandal that involved the business community, politics and Italian banking where the guilty parties showed no accountability. It could be likened to the corruption we've recently witnessed on Wall Street. Shooting began in January in Rome for two weeks and then moved to Belgrade for another eight weeks. Besides Vincent, the cast includes Beppe Fiorella, Andrea Osvart, Lando Buzzanca, Marcello Mazzarella, Ninni Bruschetta and Luigi Burruano Maria. Check out the five-minute preview, which I believe is very impressive. Vincent's role as Clemente Claudet may remind you of his portrayal of Morel in Le temps retrouvé.

Albatross Films describes the mini-series as a modern ambitious story, an attempt to reconcile the classic elements of narration with the fast-paced rhythm of the thriller and the warm tones of melodrama. The project was born of a civil urgency to expose the past bringing to light the symmetry with our present in the attempt to avoid these same errors. The story is an obvious analogy with present times - the never ending sequence of anomalies and illicit conniving that spills over into the news headlines. The filmmakers ask some important questions. How  much does a person's integrity cost? Compared with luxury, success and power, is one really ready to give it all up for the sake of one's own moral coherence?

These are the doubts that are tearing apart the conscience of a young journalist named Mattia who arrives in Rome at the end of the nineteenth century and is hired as a reporter by a large newspaper in the capital city. Behind his quick and dazzling professional ascent stir the ghosts of high level political corruption, money laundering of the mafia and love affairs that have a hidden link with more material interests. Mattia, ambitious and idealistic, lets himself be dragged into a whirlpool of illegal activities where the only game rule is to be ready to do anything to become richer and keep hold of the power. Only by recuperating the values that he was raised with - honesty, moral integrity and to sacrifice yourself for your job - our protagonist learns to believe in himself again and finds the courage to face up to the most difficult challenge: to become a man.

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Last month "Demain des l'aube" was screened at Cannes to positive reviews. Critic Romain Le Vern describes the film's theme as addiction and praises the director's ability to mix humor and tragedy, very closely mirroring the cinema of  Jean-Louis Trintignant in "Une journée bien remplie" (A Full Day's Work -1973). In his critique of Vincent's performance, Le Vern notes that the Swiss actor has never been better, surely one of his best roles. If you click on the photo below, you can watch a six-minute Cannes interview that includes several clips from the film.

  20 May 2009

There are several news items to report today. Sometimes there is such a dry spell with so little to report from France and then this week, what a deluge! As many of you know, the 62nd Cannes Film Festival is underway and so naturally Vincent was on the Cannes scene again. His presence at the festival this year was twofold: to participate in the Chopard Trophy and to promote his film "Demain des l'aube" (Tomorrow at Dawn).

The Chopard Trophy is awarded each year to a young actress and an actor who have distinguished themselves in one or more films in the past year. Vincent sat on the jury this year along with director Anne Fontaine and producer Nathanael Karmitz. On May 18th actors Lea Seydoux and David Kross were honored at the Cannes event, sponsored by Premiere magazine and Chopard. Previous recipients include Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tautou, and Gael Garcia Bernal.

You can view all the festival photos at the Cannes 2009 special page. Most photos were taken at the photo call yesterday but a few were taken at the "Vincere" premiere last night, which Vincent attended with director Denis Dercourt and his family, and this evening he escorted his wife to the premiere of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds".

It was only last fall when Vincent shot "Demain des l'aube" so it was a surprise that it would be ready for Cannes. It will hit French theatres  this summer on August 12th and the word is out that the film has already sold to several French-speaking territories. Co-written by the filmmaker and Jacques Sotty, the film explores the relationship between two brothers. In response to the insistent demands of his cancer-stricken mother, piano teacher Mathieu (Perez), tries to cure his younger brother Paul (Jérémie Rénier) of his strange obsession with historical – and in particular Napoleonic – battles. The director had some interesting observations regarding his actors:

"Vincent Perez has several facets that seem very interesting to me. First of all, he is someone who has a complex career path: he is at the same time an actor, director and photographer. Secondly, and this was very important for the film, Vincent is an actor who is very much identified with period films and period costumes, resulting from films such as Queen Margot, Cyrano de Bergerac and Le Bossu. He no longer has a real desire to interpret this type of role today, and in my film precisely, you can feel his reluctance to put the costume on, to blend in with the time period. It corresponds well with him."

"Very quickly, an excellent relationship developed between Jérémie Renier and Vincent, so good that during the shooting, I was often tempted to make scenes last longer, just for the pleasure of filming them together. The further we advanced, the further the story constructed itself around the friendly dimension of the fraternal relationship, and that owing to the beauty of the pair on screen. They are both physical, very focused, very precise actors who are capable of truly surprising things."

Screen Daily's Lisa Nesselson describes the film with "classical music meets historical battle re-enactments to excellent effect." She gives Vincent high marks for his performance - "Perez, who has several important costume pictures to his credit (Queen Margot, Cyrano De Bergerac, Fanfan La Tulipe) looks well in uniform and handles vintage weapons with flair, in addition to playing short piano passages well enough to convince as an acclaimed pianist. His elegant manners and controlled anger contrast well with Renier’s boyish enthusiasm." Cineuropa says "Tomorrow at Dawn" confirms Dercourt’s talent and fluid directorial style adding that "the director offers an elegant and intriguing thriller-like film, which demonstrates a certain perceptiveness in its treatment of human relationships whilst negotiating the musical dimension with great ease." It should be noted that Dercourt is a professional viola player who teaches at the Conservatory in Strasbourg. Vincent himself has described the role as one he had been waiting to do for years, one of the most beautiful of his career.

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The Associated French Press reports that several celebrities (Vincent included) will be recording a song during the Cannes Film Festival for the "Global Humanitarian Forum", a foundation presided over by Kofi Annan. The purpose is to raise public awareness and policies on protecting the planet in view of the environmental conference scheduled in Copenhagen by the UN in December. Other celebrities will include Marion Cotillard, Guillaume Canet, Mélanie Laurent and rumor has it that Bill Clinton and tennis champion Yannick Noah will add their voices as well. The song will be a new version of “Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil. The band has written new lyrics especially for this occasion. The song will be available as of June 25th to download for free. A representative of the band’s music label would like the song to become the most downloaded song in the world!

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The launching of the chain Africa 24 took place on May 13 at the Hotel George V in Paris and attracted a beautiful skewer of stars, including the Queen Margot lovers, Vincent and Isabelle Adjani. The first photo shows Vincent with Africa 24 Vice President Jean-Claude Darmon and the second one was taken with his wife Karine.


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