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BERLINALE 2021 EFM

Playtime title Memory Box to compete for the Golden Bear

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- A co-production uniting France, Lebanon and Canada, this film by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige dazzles up front in the sales agent’s top-notch line-up

Playtime title Memory Box to compete for the Golden Bear
Memory Box by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige

After 2019’s By the Grace of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
and Irradiated [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rithy Panh
film profile
]
which was released last year, the French international sales agent Playtime will once again see a title from its line-up competing in the Berlin Film Festival, in the form of Memory Box [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil J…
film profile
]
by Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. The group will also get the chance to work on a great many highly appealing, future secret weapons at the European Film Market (running 1-5 March) unfolding within the German festival’s 71st edition.

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series serie

Memory Box is the 5th feature film to come courtesy of the filmmaking duo, following on from Around the Pink House (1999), A Perfect Day [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(which battled it out for the FIPRESCI Prize in Locarno’s 2005 competition), Je veux voir [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(unveiled in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2008) and The Lebanese Rocket Society [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Khalil Joreige
film profile
]
(discovered in Toronto’s Wavelengths programme in 2012).

Starring Rim Turkhi (Bab el shams - The Gate of Sun), Manal Issa (nominated for the Acting Revelation Lumières award in 2017 via Parisienne [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
; also well-received in Nocturama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bertrand Bonello
film profile
]
, among other works) and Paloma Vauthier (glimpsed in Zombi Child [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bertrand Bonello
film profile
]
), the film was written by the two directors together with Gaëlle Macé (nominated for the 2015 Best Screenplay Lumières for Elle l’adore [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, and whose body of work also boasts Belle épine [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Grand Central [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rebecca Zlotowski
film profile
]
).

Memory Box kicks off in Montreal, on Christmas Day, when Maia and her daughter Alex receive a mysterious package containing notebooks, tapes and photos: a raft of correspondence which Maia had sent, between the ages of 13 and 18, to her best friend who had fled to Paris to escape the civil war in Beirut. Maia refuses to open the box or face up to its memories, but Alex secretly dives into it. Between fantasy and reality, Alex enters the world of her mother’s tumultuous, passionate adolescence during the Lebanese civil war, unlocking mysteries of a hidden past…

Memory Box was produced by France at a level of 59.1% via Haut et Court (Carole Scotta and Barbara Letellier) who will steer distribution in France, in co-production with Lebanon (Georges Schoucair and Christian Eid for Abbout Productions) and Canada (micro_scope). Notably supported by the CNC in the form of an advance on receipts and a subsidy for new technologies in production, and further backed by the French-Canadian mini-treaty, Sodec, TV5 Monde and the SOFICA company La Banque Postale Image, the feature film benefits from the photographic expertise of Josée Deshaies (nominated for the 2012 and 2015 Césars in his specialism for House of Tolerance [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Adèle Haenel
film profile
]
and Saint Laurent [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Bertrand Bonello
film profile
]
).

In terms of the online EFM, Playtime is set to screen Playlist [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nine Antico
film profile
]
by Nine Antico and will also negotiate on behalf of numerous tantalising titles in post-production: Paris 13th District by Jacques Audiard, Everything Went Fine by François Ozon, Arthur Rambo by Laurent Cantet, 15 Ways to Kill Your Neighbour by Argentina’s Santiago Mitre (article), Nobody Has To Know by Belgian directors Bouli Lanners and Tim Mielants, Inexorable by their fellow countryman Fabrice du Welz, Joan by Laurent Larivière (article), Libertad by Spain’s Clara Roquet, The Man From The Basement by Philippe Le Guay (article), À l’ombre des filles by Étienne Comar (article) and Ogre by Arnaud Malherbe (article).

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(Translated from French)

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