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BERLINALE 2021 EFM

The Party Films Sales set to brandish new trump cards in Berlin

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- Especially eye-catching within the line-up is Avi Mograbi’s The First 54 Years, screening in the Forum section, and new titles from Ely Dagher and Brieuc Carnaille

The Party Films Sales set to brandish new trump cards in Berlin
The First 54 Years by Avi Mograbi

Riding the wave of excellent results achieved by Filippo Meneghetti’s Two of Us [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Filippo Meneghetti
film profile
]
(the French candidate for the 2021 Best International Film Oscar), Aurel’s Josep [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Aurel
film profile
]
and Charlène Favier’s Slalom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Charlène Favier
film profile
]
(both awarded Cannes’ 2020 Official Selection label), French international sales agent The Party Film Sales (directed by Sarah Chazelle and Etienne Ollagnier and managed by Clémence Lavigne and Samuel Blanc) will cut a confident figure at the 71st Berlinale’s European Film Market (running online, 1-5 March).

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Stealing focus in their line-up is the documentary The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Avi Mograbi
film profile
]
by Israel’s Avi Mograbi, which will enjoy its world premiere in the Forum section, a Berliner line-up which the director is more than familiar with, having already presented Comment j'ai appris à surmonter ma peur et à aimer Ariel Sharon in this very section in 1997, alongside Happy Birthday, Mr. Mograbi in 1999, Août, avant l’explosion in 2002 and Between Fences [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
in 2016. Z32 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, meanwhile, was screened in Venice (within the Orizzonti line-up in 2008) and Avenge But One Of My Two Eyes [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
featured out of competition in Cannes 2005. The filmmaker’s latest opus probes the significance of military occupation. Through the testimonies of the soldiers who implemented it, director Avi Mograbi provides insights on how a colonialist occupation works and the logic at work behind such practices. Using the 54-year Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as its template, the director draws us a “Manual for Military Occupation”. The First 54 Years is produced in France via Les Films d'Ici, 24images and Arte France alongside Finnish firm Citizen Jane Productions, the director himself in Israel and Ma.ja.de productions in Germany.

Three promising new arrivals which are all in the post-production phase (and are all first films) have also landed in The Party Films Sales line-up: The Sea Ahead [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Ely Dagher (who won Cannes’ Palme d’Or for Best Short Film in 2015 with Waves’98), which turned heads at Venice’s 2020 Final Cut workshop, revolves around Jana (played by Manal Issa), a young woman who returns suddenly to Beirut following a long absence, and to the familiar yet strange life she’d left behind her… Production is steered by Parisian firm Andolfi, alongside Lebanese group Abbout Productions, Belgium’s Wrong Men, US outfit Beachside Films and Qatar’s Beaver and Beaver.

Pre-sales will likewise kick off (on the basis of a promo reel) on the French-Belgian co-production Too Close to the Sun by Brieuc Carnaille. Starring Clément Roussier, Marine Vacth, Diane Rouxel, Hakim Faris and Léon Durieux, the film centres on thirty-something Basile who moves in with his little sister and closest confidant Sarah upon his discharge from hospital. Basile lives with a psychiatric disorder and does his best to re-establish a sense of normality in his work and love life. But how long can he maintain this fragile stability when hiding his illness from new acquaintances? This first feature film is produced by French firm Vixens in league with Belgium’s Gapbusters.

Pre-sales are also on the cards (via promo reel) for the animated film My Neighbors’ Neighbors by Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand. This Lardux Films production explores a French apartment block whose residents wrestle with the hazards of everyday life: an ogre breaks his teeth on the annual Ogre Feast while being asked to look after his neighbour’s children; a magician saws his assistant in half, resulting in her legs running away; a hiker and his dog spend several days stuck in a lift, and an old man falls in love with a pair of legs...

Worth a final mention in this jam-packed line-up is the new trailer for To Kill the Beast by Argentina’s Agustina San Martin, and, also in post-production, Goodnight Soldier by Hiner Saleem, Tessa-Louise Salomé’s documentary The Wild One (France/US/Germany) and Maysoon Pachachi’s Our River… Our Sky (France/UK/Germany/Kuweit), without forgetting Ladies of the Wood [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Claus Drexel.

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(Translated from French)

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