Miramax's new French partner TF1 is understood to be close to buying into Noe Productions, the company which despite having co-produced this year's foreign-language Oscar winner No Man's Land, was recently forced into receivership.

With a production track record also including such festival-friendly titles such as Jan Kounen's feature film debut Dobermann, Milcho Manchevski's 1994 Venice title Before The Rain and Radu Mihaileanu's Train Of Life, Noe would play into plans by Miramax and TF1 to use their new partnership to make as well as distribute European cinema.

Among their proposed joint projects are a remake of Tanguy, Italian-language drama The Gate Of Heaven and WW2 escape movie Colditz.

Noe, which declared itself insolvent just last month, has its own projects in the pipeline including Madama Edouard, a whodunit which is to feature John Malkovich and Michel Blanc, as well as Ericlk Zonca's Julia, a drama which is backed by the UK's Film Council.

Unable to service its current obligations Noe was put on April 2nd into court-sanctioned administration (similar to the US' Chapter 11) for a renewable period of four months. In the same week, Euripide Productions and sister company Euripide Distribution, recently responsible for Mercredi Folle Journee and Tosca, also filed for insolvency.

Ironically enough, given the identity of its potential saviour, Noe producer Frederique Dumas blamed its financial woes on the current disorder within [pay channel] Canal Plus and the reduced investment in French films on the part of the free-TV broadcasters. TF1 is the leading commercial broadcaster in France.