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Arte France Cinema boards Breillat’s Abus de faiblesse starring Huppert

Film based on Catherine Breillat’s real-life dealings with notorious hustler who shook down celebrities in Europe and Hollywood.

Arte France Cinema has boarded Catherine Breillat’s autobiographical Abus de faiblesse, based on her real-life experiences with celebrity hustler Christophe Rocancourt.

Isabelle Huppert is set to star as self-destructive, hemiplegic film director Maud who enters into a dangerous friendship with flamboyant crook Vilko, played by Kool Shen.

The film, being produced by Breillat’s long-time producer Jean-Francois Le Petit at Flach Film, is due to shoot in the second half of 2012.

Abus de faiblesse, which translates as “abuse of weekness,” is based on Breillat’s book about own experiences with Rocancourt, whom she befriended because she wanted to make a feature about his flamboyant life.

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Breillat, who suffered a stroke in 2004 and suffers from cerebral vascular disease, claims Rocancourt took advantage of her fragile state and embezzled her of €650,000. Rocancourt is currently in a French jail awaiting trial.

The project is among four newly announced Arte co-productions.

The other pictures include Argentine director Pablo Trapero’s provisionally entitled White Elephant, capturing the harsh reality of life in the slums of Buenos Aires. The film, starring Jérémie Renier, Ricardo Darlin and Martina Gusman, is currently shooting in the city.

It also boarded Chinese director Lou Ye’s homecoming picture Mystery, which is currently shooting in the city of Wuhan in central China.

The picture, produced by Paris-based Les Films du Lendemain, is Lou Ye’s first picture shot in his native China since a five-year ban in 2006 following Summer Palace and reunites him with actors Hao Lei and Qin Hao.

Arte is also backing French-Armenian Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova’s Paradjanov, l’enfant aux diamants, a bio-pic capturing the life of the late, dissident Armenian director Sergei Paradjanov, who spent four years in Soviet labour camps.

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