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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Belgium

Olivier Dahan wraps filming on Simone, une femme du siècle

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- Elsa Zylberstein, Olivier Gourmet, Judith Chemla, Elodie Bouchez and Sylvie Testud star in the cast of this Simone Veil biopic steered by Marvelous Productions and sold by Other Angle

Olivier Dahan wraps filming on Simone, une femme du siècle
Actress Elsa Zylberstein

Having kicked off on 9 September, the 13 weeks of filming allotted to Olivier Dahan’s Simone, une femme du siècle have come to an end, following a few shots taken in France (namely in Paris and La Ciotat) and in Budapest. This will be the 9th feature film put forward by the director who has previously put his name to Déjà mort (1998), Ghost River (in competition in San Sebastian 2002), Crimson Rivers 2 – Angels of the Apocalypse (2004) and La Vie en Rose [+see also:
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]
(rewarded with two Oscars in 2008; unveiled in the opening slot and in competition at the 2007 Berlinale), not to mention Grace of Monaco [+see also:
film review
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film profile
]
(which opened Cannes 2014, out of competition).

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Once again exploring the biopic genre through the person of a great female figure (as per his previous works on Edith Piaf and Grace de Monaco), the director is, this time, turning his gaze to the fate of Simone Veil (1927-2017), played here by Elsa Zylberstein (the winner of the 2009 Best Supporting Role César for I’ve Loved You So Long [+see also:
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]
, nominated for the 2016 Best Actress Lumières award for Un + Une [+see also:
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]
, and whom we’ll be seeing in An Irrepressible Woman as of 15 January and in Adorables next August).

Also in the cast, we find Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet (recently well received in Edmond [+see also:
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interview: Alexis Michalik
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]
and Conviction [+see also:
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film profile
]
, and gracing billboards as of 22 January in Qu’un sang impur… and, likewise in 2020, in Libres), Judith Chemla (at her best this year in Burning Ghost [+see also:
film review
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film profile
]
and The End of Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Rebecca Marder (who attracted attention in A Man in a Hurry [+see also:
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film profile
]
and Someone Somewhere [+see also:
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]
, and who’ll be touring cinemas as of 11 March in La Daronne), Élodie Bouchez (recently well received in In Safe Hands [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and Sylvie Testud (who recently appeared in Suspiria [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
).

Written by Olivier Dahan, Vanessa Schneider and Isabelle Sobelman, the story revolves around a maternal decree: "You’ll go to university too. You’ll be independent, do you hear? Women have to be independent and work … Like Louise Weiss." Her profoundly secular education and the unconditional love offered to her by her mother, who passes her feminist values on to her daughter from a very early age, all help Simone to become the person she is. Although the time she spends in concentration camps, coupled with France’s indifference to the suffering of deported populations, does leave Simone with a wound which will never heal, she nonetheless remains as steadfast as ever. Supported by her husband Antoine and driven by a visceral need for justice, Simone Veil works to restore the right to dignity in all the domains in which she operates. Labelled capricious and insolent, she refuses to back down, ever, despite the unprecedented levels of chauvinism she must contend with throughout her entire judicial and political career. In 1979, she is elected President of the European Parliament. Encouraged by Antoine, she writes the story of her life, which includes the time that she spent in the camps which robbed her of her mother, to whom she dedicates her engagement: "In all my battles, she’s there. They’re for her. They’re led by her."

Produced by Marvelous Productions (Romain Le Grand, Vivien Aslanian and Marco Pacchioni), Simone, une femme du siècle is co-produced by France 2 Cinéma and France 3 Cinéma, alongside Belgian group Scope Pictures. Pre-purchased by Canal+ and Ciné+, the film also enjoys the support of the Ile-de-France region and the Hungarian tax credit system. French distribution will be managed by Warner, while international sales are in the hands of Other Angle Pictures.

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(Translated from French)

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