Patrice Leconte

Director of Une Chance Sur Deux

It is impossible to predict the genre of Patrice Leconte’s new film based on the eclecticism of his previous output. Monsieur Hire (a study of voyeurism), The Hairdresser’s Husband (a poetic mood piece), Ridicule (a French costume drama) are the three movies he is known for in the UK. As Leconte himself readily admits, ’I don’t have a style. I take pleasure in doing something different each time. I realise that there is no coherence between my films, but it doesn’t bother me if people don’t take me seriously.’

Of course, judging by the popularity of his work, it’s obvious that people do take him seriously. This bodes well for his latest work, Une Chance Sur Deux (Half A Chance), which premieres at this year’s French Film Festival. The film, an action thriller, stars Jean Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon, two of the biggest names in French cinema.

'The idea to make a film starring Delon and Belmondo came from my producer, but I co-wrote the script,’ says Leconte. ’However, while working on it, I started to worry whether the two actors would like it, because we were teasing their image. But it turned out that they loved my work, exactly because they didn't have to

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Chancing it: Patrice Leconte behind the camera

Every morning when I went up to the shoot, I’d think, "I’m actually making a film with Delon and Belmondo. I just can’t believe this is happening to me!”.’

The film, which places its characters in a Russian mob drama, cost 150 million francs, took four months to make, and is packed with high-speed car chases, explosions and amazing stunts. ’It was an enormous budget because the producer told me to just write the script and not skimp on anything,’ Leconte explains.

Although Une Chance Sur Deux looks expensive and features two big stars, Leconte felt it would not be complete without one extra ingredient. Therefore his pivotal character is Alice (played by Vanessa Paradis), a young girl who suddenly discovers that she has a father and it could be either of the two men.

’I thought to do a film that is just Belmondo and Delon was a good idea, but not enough of a good idea,’ says Leconte, ’so I wanted a third person, a bit like lemon juice. I don't actually want to compare Belmondo and Delon to oysters, but oysters although they are quite nice au naturel are even better if you squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them. So Vanessa Paradis is the lemon juice on the oysters.’ (Beth Williams)

Screening at the French Film Festival: Glasgow Film

take themselves seriously. At first I was stage-struck. Theatre, Sun 22 Nov,” Edinburgh Filmhouse, Tue 24 Nov.

Back to the future: the stars of Les Visiteurs 2

French Film Festival

SynOpSIs of every film on show , but here we suggest a few not-to-be- missed highlights:

Ma 6T Va Cracker Racial tensions turn into a full-blown riot amongst France’s North African Immigrants Real-life riots hit suburban Paris after screenings, causmg some Cinema managers to cut the film's run short Glasgow. Mon 23 8' Wed 25. Edinburgh Thu 26.

Déja Mort More like a US indie than European ai‘thouse, OliVier‘ Dahan‘s debut feature has a Tarantino-lrke edge that looks glorious in widest'reen The director (who has helrned vrdeoes for MC Solaar and

others) will attend the screenings wrth -

glossy :

Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh: Filmhouse, Fri ZO—Sun 29 Nov.

Each year it just seems to get better and better Any lllll‘. festival in the world v-Jould 'tze proud to offer new films lzy Bertrand Tavernrer, Patrice Cheretix, Pierre Salvadori, Eric Rochant and Patrice Leconte isee prevrew ab0ve) ~ well, Scotland’s French Film Festival has them all, coupled wrth a retrospective on Claude Miller And if it’s big name actors you want, you'll he able to catch the latest from Jean

Reno, Chiara I‘V'lclstl—Olillllli, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Sandrrne Krherlarrr and Jean- Mar'c Barr

Here at The List, \.'.'e'r‘t- more extsttwl by the first-timers on s?‘-:.-‘.‘./, so it your Frenth fanty is III(~'(‘- ia Harrie than lean De Florette, here's a testrx. boldly refuses" {1/ play it safe I‘. really does reflect the hreadlh of the French frlrn industry at a time when subtitled t‘rnerna's' preserve on UK streens‘ has been reduted to the tip of the iceberg (and, in this iriar'ket, it's usually the TIM/m s that sur‘vwe the clash)

The [Ist's Frlrn Index {tillitllllS a short

’ii (“(il

attress Zoe Felix. Glasgow: Fri 27. Edinburgh, Thu 26. Les Couloirs Du Temps: Les Visiteurs 2

The sequel to France's biggest ever box r

offite hit finds medieval time traveller‘s Jean Reno and Christian Clavrer back II‘. the ZOth century Glasgow Mon .23 Eu’rnhurgli, I‘v’et." 35

Le Journal Du Seducteur At last the § FFF secures a film by Daniele Dubroux .=

tlter‘ fourthi, whose tale of 'seduction, murder and Kreker'gaard' features former Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Leaud Glasgow Tue 24 Edinburgh. Mon 23 (Alan Morrison)

preview FILM

Geoffrey Rush Actor in Les Miserables

It's every actor's dream to win an Oscar, but that doesn’t always mean the meatiest roles will automatically drop into your lap, as Amadeus's F. Murray Abraham will tell you. Geoffrey Rush, the Australian who took the world by storm in Shine, reckons it’s too early to know exactly how winning that golden statuette will affect him.

'You don't want to feel that's as high as you can go and the rest is going to be all downhill,’ he says, ’but it does offer extraordinary opportunities. There was a period of about nine months when I got offered every Australian film that was on the cards. However, I would say America has me in the "slightly too hard" basket.’

In those pre-Shr’ne days, Rush was one of the leading figures on the Australian stage, with a repertoire ranging from Shakespeare to Chekhov to contemporary writers. Currently he can be seen on screen as the nasty Sir Francis Walsingham in Elizabeth; next, it’s Bille August’s version of Les Miserables. Rush plays the unrelenting, unforgiving Inspector Javert, whose life's obse55ron is to hound convict- turned-mayor Jean Valjean (Liam Neeson) The actor sees Javert as a man working out his own inner demons in his pursuit of his nemesis, and this provided a challenge from the qurrkier characters for which he had become known.

’I’m the sort ofactor who likes, without playing off your own personality, to find a way to relate to the role and not hide behind something else. So you tap into those spookrer, hidden parts of your personality, where you think, "I really am a bit of a prick”. But ultimately it is play; I’ve never been interested in acting as a form of psychotherapy.’

Javert and Valjean may well be two sides of the same coin, but the differences between Rush and Neeson are more marked. ’Maybe I should point out Liam is a former Irish boxing champion and I'm a weedy guy from Down Under who tried to avoid sport at school,’ Rush laughs. 'Which made the scene where he smashes me into a stone wall, ehm, a thrilling day of shootrng.’ (Alan Morrison)

General release from Fri 20 Nov See review Geoffrey Rush in Les Miserables

l9 Nov—3 Dec 1998 THE LIST 33