Urucu Media launches inaugural South African edition of Cannes prestigious La Semaine de la Critique at DIFF 2015

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Urucu Media, one of South Africa’s newest feature film production houses, which recently produced the internationally acclaimed Necktie Youth, is proud to announce that they have partnered with Cannes’s La Semaine de la Critique (Critic’s Week) to host a dynamic selection of the top films emerging from this programme in recent years.

The South African programme launches as part of the Durban International Film Festival 2015, at Cinecentre, Suncoast Casino on July 21, with the support of Institute Francaise. Five critically acclaimed films will be screened during the course of the festival with additional screenings scheduled for Johannesburg and Cape Town the following weekend.

Established in 1961, the Semaine De La Critique competition is dedicated to showcasing emerging filmmakers from around the world. Since it’s inception the competition has featured the early works of numerous famous auteurs including Ken Loach, Wong Kar-Wai and Alejandro González Iñarritu.

The travelling Semaine de la Critique programme is part of a broader initiative by Urucu Media, supported by the French Institute of South Africa, to promote unique cinematic voices and innovation, while cultivating an audience for the types of films Urucu believes are worth making.

Opening the South African edition of La Semaine de la Critique is Hope, French writer-director, and documentarian, Boris Lojkine’s first fiction film.

Hope

According to The Hollywood Reporter Hope is a “scrupulously well-researched” recounting of a journey of desperation taken by a Nigerian woman and a Cameroonian man across the Sahara in an attempt to reach Europe. Cine Europa Online highlighted the “incredible and moving realism that emerges reveals a director whose work should be kept an eye on.”

Award winning director Lojkine will be in attendance at DIFF where he will present a Master Class, as part of the Talents Durban programme, on bringing reality and authenticity to fiction filmmaking.

Other films include The Kindergarten Teacher by Nadav Lapid (Israel, 2014) about a crèche teacher and aspiring poet, who discovers unusual poetic talent in her five-year old student. Informed by her own deprived past and a fear that the world will eat his sensitive soul alive, she takes it upon herself to protect the boy and the gift he carries.

The Kindergarten Teacher

Yann Gonzalez’s debut feature You And The Night by  (France, 2013) is an erotic-existential-queer comedy. Starring legendary French footballer Eric Cantona in the role of a well-hung stud/former child-poet and one of seven member of a meticulously cast orgy, it explores and intentionally confuses memory and fantasy.

You and the Night - Nicolas Maury - Niels Schneider

 

From Italy and France comes Salvo the winner of last year’s La Semaine de la Critique of Cannes Film Festival directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza (2013). It tells the story of Salvo (Saleh Bakri) – a merciless body guard/hit man in Sicily’s underworld.  Meeting Rita (Sara Serraiocco), the blind sister of one of his victims – and a witness at that – changes not just Salvo’s life, but Rita’s too, and offers the pair a relief from the literal and metaphorical darkness in which they are stuck.

salvo

Writer/director Katell Quillévéré’s second feature, Suzanne  (France, 2013) follows Suzanne (Sara Forestier) during 25 years of her life. Suzanne grows up with her sister (Adèle Haenel) and widowed truck-driver father (François Damiens). When Suzanne falls pregnant while still in school, the family with its new member remains a tight unit, but when she falls in love with a gangster, the stability is threatened.

Suzanne

“My business partner, John Trengove and I are, incredibly excited about hosting the first official platform for La Semaine de la Critique in Africa and hope to cultivate strong local audience base for the wonderful films that emerge from this inspiring competition every year.” says Urucu’s Elias Ribeiro.

For more information about the La Semaine de la Critique go to www.urucumedia.com and for the Durban International Film Festival go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za

La Semaine de la Critique screening times:

Durban: Suncoast Casino

21st July         20:00   HOPE   – Opening Night Film – La Semaine de la Critique

22nd July        17:30   SALVO

23rd July         22:00   SUZANNE

24th July         17:30   THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

25th July         17:00   YOU AND THE NIGHT

Johannesburg: Rosebank Nouveau & Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Nouveau

31st July         20:00   HOPE

1st August     17:30   SALVO?          

1st August     20:00   SUZANNE

2nd August    17:30   THE KINDERGARDEN TEACHER 

2nd August    20:00   YOU AND THE NIGHT 

La Semaine de la Critique: The Films

Hope by Boris Lojkine (France, 2014, 91 min)

In his debut feature, the French helmer takes on the forever-relevant topic of migration from Africa to Europe. Léonard from Cameroon (Endurance Newton) and Hope from Nigeria (Justin Wang) form a contested partnership on their dangerous journey to Europe – a dreamland where even mosquitoes drink coca cola.

The Kindergarten Teacher by Nadav Lapid (Israel, 2014, 120 min.)

Nira (Sarit Larry), a crèche teacher and aspiring poet, discovers unusual poetic talent in Yoav (Avi Shnaidman), her five-year old student. Informed by her own deprived past and a fear that the world will eat his sensitive soul alive, she takes it upon herself to protect the boy and the gift he carries.

You And The Night by Yann Gonzalez (France, 2013, 92 min.)

Gonzalez kick-started his feature film career with an erotic-existential-queer comedy. Starring legendary French footballer Eric Cantona in the role of a well-hung stud/former child-poet and one of seven member of a meticulously cast orgy, it explores and intentionally confuses memory and fantasy.

Salvo by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza (Italy/France, 2013, 110 min.)

The winner of La Semaine de la Critique of Cannes Film Festival 2014 tells the story of Salvo (Saleh Bakri) – a merciless body guard/hit man in Sicily’s underworld.  Meeting Rita (Sara Serraiocco), the blind sister of one of his victims – and a witness at that – changes not just Salvo’s life, but Rita’s too, and offers the pair a relief from the literal and metaphorical darkness in which they are stuck.

Suzanne by Katell Quillévéré (France, 2013, 94 min.)

Writer/director Quillévéré’s second feature follows Suzanne (Sara Forestier) during 25 years of her life. Suzanne grows up with her sister (Adèle Haenel) and widowed truck-driver father (François Damiens). When Suzanne falls pregnant while still in school, the family with its new member remains a tight unit, but when she falls in love with a gangster, the stability is threatened.

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