Caroline Adrian • Producer of L’Enfant mouche
“It’s interesting to revisit history from a less Manichean point of view"
- The pilot of Delante Productions talks about her editorial line, her latest news and Philippe Pollet-Villard's project that she will pitch in Strasbourg at the Alentours Forum
With her credits including Michel Leclerc's The Names of Love [+see also:
film profile] (2010), Baya Kasmi's I’m All Yours [+see also:
film profile] (2015), Antoine Raimbault's Conviction [+see also:
film profile] (2019) and Benjamin Parent's Man Up! [+see also:
film profile], French producer Caroline Adrian, who heads up Delante Productions, will be pitching Philippe Pollet-Villard's L'Enfant mouche at the Alentours Forum - Rhinish Co-Production Meeting (from 28 to 30 June in Strasbourg - read the news).
Cineuropa: What attracted you towards the project L’Enfant mouche?
Caroline Adrian: I’ve known Philippe Pollet-Villard for a long time and I really love his work and his novels. There a certain poetry, a quirkiness and a sense of humour in his treatment of stories, avoiding ultra-realism, managing to tackle difficult subjects in a singular way and with a lot of kindness towards his characters. He’s focused especially on writing and has published four novels, but he previously directed several short films including Le Mozart des Pickpockets which had a wonderful run, winning in particular a César and an Oscar in 2008.
The story of L’Enfant mouche, a novel he published in 2017 but rather strongly adapted for our film project, takes place in 1944 during World War II. It’s a story that is close to the director’s heart since it is more or less his mother’s story, even if it is obviously very romanticised. Philippe has done extensive research into what happened at that time. The film’s character, a little girl named Marie whose mother has disappeared, is sent to the north of France, on the border with Belgium, to her aunt’s whom she doesn’t know, a rather coarse woman (who will be played by Noémie Lvovsky) who used to be a nurse in the colonies and who is considered a bit of a Moroccan witch in this village, which is hit in full force by the war. When her aunt falls ill, Marie has to look for food to survive and she finds a job not far from there, in the kitchens of a German army barracks: they are the only ones lending her a hand in this very rough world where the local peasants turn out to be quite unsympathetic...
The Second World War has been dealt with a lot in the cinema, in all genres and in all tones, so the idea is to see it through the prism of the eyes of a child who does not have a patriotic vision of things. The young German soldier who helps her tries to bring some joy to this difficult time by putting on a cabaret in the barracks and Marie becomes a kind of mascot. Beyond the poetic approach that distinguishes Philippe Pollet-Villard’s work, I think it’s interesting to revisit history from a less Manichean point of view, to get out of the typical vision of that period with the French against the Germans, resistance fighters and collaborators, by going more towards the men and their desires for heroism as opposed to the women and children who are more like the collateral victims of all wars.
The script suggests co-production possibilities.
Yes, we will have German actors in the cast, so a co-production with Germany would be completely natural. And the territory in which the story is set obviously implies the possibility of a co-production with Belgium. All this with the idea of applying to Eurimages.
What is Delante Productions’ editorial line?
We are an independent production company, so we work more on a “crush” basis, on our desires with filmmakers, rather than on a fixed editorial line. However, there are connections between our films of course, in particular the fact that beyond their styles, they are fully in tune with their times, as with the reading of the justice system’s workings in Conviction and that of toxic masculinity and boys’ education in Man Up! To look at things a little differently, perhaps that is the link between our films. But more generally, this involves supporting authors and also a personal inclination for first films because I like the very strong need that their authors carry.
What are your other current projects?
At the end of August, the shooting of Je ne suis pas un héros by Rudy Milstein will begin, a comedy interpreted by Vincent Dedienne, Géraldine Nakache, Anna Mouglalis, Isabelle Nanty and Sam Karmann. Amongst the more advanced projects, I can also mention Les songes magnétiques by Aurélien Peilloux (a former scientific researcher who has gone through the Fémis) with undoubtedly Benjamin Voisin and Izïa Higelin in the cast, and Nino by Lou Zidi which should bring back together Emmanuelle Bercot and Philippe Katerine but for which we are still casting the lead role which will be an 18 year old woman. Lou Zidi has also written Little Hand with Alexandra Bialy, a series project that we presented in March to the Co-Pro Pitching Sessions at Séries Mania.
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.