For My Country

Source: mk2 films (c) Christophe Brachet, Mizar Films

For My Country

French film company mk2 films is enjoying a high-profile awards season this year as the sales agent of Oscar international feature longlist entries The Worst Person In The World and The Good Boss.

The focus of its sales team led by Fionnuala Jamison will be closer to home this week, however, as it launches a trio of gritty French-language features at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris (January 11-17).

Two of the films star buzzy rising French actor Karim Leklou: Clément Cogitore’s Gold Drop and Rachid Hami’s For My Country.  

Leklou made his first big-screen appearance in a small role in A Prophet in 2009 but his international profile has risen in recent months thanks to roles in Belgian filmmaker Laura Wandel’s best international film nominee Playground and Cédric Jimenez’s French box-office hit and hot Netflix acquisition The Stronghold.

Set in Paris’s multicultural district of La Goutte d’Or close to Montmartre, Gold Drop stars Leklou as a young fraudster who makes a living as a clairvoyant, pretending he can make contact with the dead, until one fateful night he is forced to confront the ghosts of his own past.

It marks Cogitore’s second fiction feature after Afghanistan-set mystery thriller The Wakhan Front, which debuted in Cannes Critics’ Week in 2015. In between times, Cogitore has made a number of short and feature-length documentaries including Braguino and The Amorous Indies, with mk2 films also handling sales on the short format version of the latter title.

Kazak Productions, the film company behind Julia Ducournau’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Titane, is producing. Diaphana Distribution has pre-bought French rights.

For My Country is French-Algerian actor and filmmaker Hami’s third feature after Orchestra Class which world premiered out of competition in official selection at Venice in 2017 and also played at Busan.

It follows a French-Algerian family as they fight for justice following the death of their youngest son during an initiation ritual at France’s prestigious Saint-Cyr French military academy where he was training as an officer.

Leklou joins award-winning Belgian actress Lubna Azabal and Shaïne Boumedine, who is best known for his role in Abdellatif Kechiche’s Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, in the cast as an elder rebellious brother determined to get justice. As it kicks off sales, mk2 films has released a first image of the film.

The company also kicks off sales on Emmanuelle Nicot’s daring debut feature Dalva which sensitively explores the ramifications of incest and child grooming through the tale of a 12-year-old girl who is taken into foster care after being abused by her father.

It is a co-production between Brussels-based Helicotronc and Montpellier-based Tripode Production. Diaphana has taken French rights.

Previously announced upcoming titles on the sales slate include Mother And Son, the second feature from Léonor Serraille who won the Cannes Caméra d’Or for her first film Jeune Femme. It follows the fortunes over thirty years of a woman who moves from Africa to the Paris suburbs with her two young sons in the late 1980s. 

All four new films are in post-production and will be ready for a 2022 festival launch.

The company will also be screening a trio of previously announced completed French-language films at the Rendez-Vous: Robert Guédiguian’s 1960s West Africa-set love story Mali Twist, Carine Tardieu’s romance The Young Lovers and Jérôme Bonnell’s The Love Letter.

Other upcoming films in un production or post-production on its slate include Mikhaël Hers’ 1980s-set drama The Passengers Of The Night starring Charlotte Gainsbourg; Marie Kreutzer’s costume drama Corsage, about 19th-century Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Sophie Barthes’s sci-fi romance The Pod Generation, and Spanish director Carla Simon’s Alcarras.

In the backdrop, the company continues to support its awards titles. Aside from its Oscar nomination, The Good Boss is also nominated in a record-breaking 20 categories at the Goya Awards on February 12, while The Worst Person In The World and Celine Sciamma’s Petite Maman also received three longlist nominations in the Baftas.