– The agent sells Competition titles The Devil’s Bath and Suspended Time and upcoming films by François Ozon, Rithy Panh, the Coulin sisters, and Mehdi Idir and Grand Corps Malade

Playtime to pull out all the stops in Berlin

The Devil’s Bath by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala

French international sales agent Playtime won’t be breaking with good habits at the Berlinale: after boasting a Golden Bear contender in its 2019 line-up, another in 2020 and a further two in 2022, the group are once again set to feature in the most dazzling showcase of the 74th Berlin Film Festival (running 15 – 25 February) by way of two feature films, namely The Devil’s Bath by Austrian directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, and Suspended Time by French filmmaker Olivier Assayas.

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EFP_shooting stars right 2024

Revealed in Venice’s 2014 Orizzonti section in 2014, thanks to Goodnight Mommy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Severin Fiala and Veronika …
film profile
]
(which Playtime also sold), and selected for the 2019 Sundance Festival’s Midnight line-up via The Lodge [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are now enjoying the honour of selection within a major festival’s big competition for the very first time. Written by the two directors themselves, the story in The Devil’s Bath whisks us off to 18th century Austria where villages are surrounded by deep forests and where a woman has been sentenced to death after killing a baby. Agnès is marrying her beloved partner and is candidly preparing herself for life as a wife. Soon afterwards, her heart and head begin to feel heavy. As the days pass, she feels increasingly confined to a dark and lonely path which leads to evil thoughts. But perhaps they’re not only thoughts… Starring Anja Plaschg and David Scheid in lead roles, the movie is produced by Austria’s Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion together with German firm Heimatfilm, and will be released in Austria on 8 March courtesy of Filmladen.

The EFM will also see the Playtime team steered by Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, Sébastien Beffa and François Yon pinning their hopes on François Ozon’s 23rd feature film When Fall is Coming. Produced by the filmmaker himself (via FOZ) and starring Hélène Vincent and Josiane Balasko, the movie revolves around Michelle who’s enjoying a peaceful retirement in a Burgundian village close by to her long-term friend Marie-Claude. When her Parisian daughter Valérie comes to drop off her son Lucas at her house for the school holidays, Michelle – feeling stressed out because of her daughter – serves her toxic mushrooms for lunch. Valérie recovers quickly but forbids her mother from seeing her grandson. Feeling guilty and alone, Michelle sinks into depression. Until Marie-Claude’s son is released from prison, that is…

Another post-production ace up Playtime’s sleeve is the biopic Monsieur Aznavour by Mehdi Idir and Grand Corps Malade (Step By Step [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, School Life [+see also:
trailer
interview: Zita Hanrot
film profile
]
), the first images of which are due to be unveiled in the EFM, with Tahar Rahim playing the part of the famous singer. Production is entrusted to Mandarin Cinéma and Kallouche Cinéma, with the film already rumoured to have been selected for an out-of-competition screening in Cannes.

The Quiet Son by Delphine and Muriel Coulin (read our article – toplined by Vincent Lindon) and Meeting with Pol Pot by Rithy Panh are also stealing focus in the post-production line-up. The latter, who loosely based his film on American journalist Elizabeth Becker’s book When the War Was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution, is making his return to fiction, transporting us to Cambodia in 1978 to follow in the wake of three French journalists invited by the Khmer Rouge to conduct an exclusive interview with the head of the regime, Pol Pot. The country seems idyllic. But behind the village of Potemkine, the Khmer Rouge’s regime is deteriorating and war with Vietnam threatens to engulf the country. The regime goes looking for culprits, carrying out secret, large-scale genocide. Right before the journalists’ eyes, the beautiful image they had of the country cracks and the full-scale horror is revealed, their journey slowly morphing into a nightmare. The film is produced by French firm CDP together with Cambodia’s Anupheap Production.

Last but not least, when it comes to its other post-production works, Playtime will be pressing on with presales on The Marching Band by Emmanuel Courcol (article), and Stranger Eyes by Singapore director Yeo Siew Hua (who triumphed in Locarno 2018 by way of A Land Imagined [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), which combines the production prowess of Singapore, Taiwan, the USA and French firm Films de Force Majeure.

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(Translated from French)





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