Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #77. Les envoûtés – Pascal Bonitzer
Les amis des amis
French writer and director Pascal Bonitzer commences on his eighth feature, Les envoûtés (formerly titled Les amis des amis), which features a cast of notables including Nicolas Duvauchelle, Nicolas Maury, Josiane Balasko, Anable Lopez, Iliana Lolic and the lead Sara Giraudeau (2018 Cesar winner for Best Supporting Actress in Bloody Milk). It is the fourth film in a row from Bonitzer to be produced by Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt of SBS Productions (their last venture together being 2016’s Right Here Right Now). Belgium’s Diana Elbaum of Beluga Tree is also co-producing. DP Julien Hirsch lensed the feature. Prior to beginning his directorial career in the late 1990s, Bonitzer was a celebrated screenwriter, responsible for many of Andre Techine’s films. He has been nominated for three Cesars, for Best First Feature with his 1996 debut Encore, and twice as screenwriter, for Techine’s My Favorite Season (1992) and recently for Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents (2016). Bonitzer competed in Berlin with 2003’s Small Cuts and premiered his Kristin Scott Thomas starrer Looking for Hortense out of competition in Venice in 2012.
Gist: Co-written by Agnes de Sacy (One for the Road, 2009; Right Here Right Now, 2016), and loosely based on the short story The Way It Came by Henry James, there’s a ghostly Turn of the Screw vibe to this latest endeavor. Azar and Simon both to profess to have been visited by a parent that died right before said parent supposedly died. Their mutual friend Coline (Girardeau) attempts to arrange a meeting between the two based on these experiences. Before the meeting take places, Coline decides she has fallen in love with Simon and thus sabotages the meet cute she had arranged for her friends. The day after the meeting, Azar is found dead, and Simon claims she had visited him at the exact time she supposedly died…
Release Date/Prediction: Bonitzer’s (mostly shot in Basque Country) shoot ended late November 2018, which makes a return to Berlin seem dubious. His last feature premiered at the Cabourg Film Festival in 2016, and we’re assuming his latest may go the same route by entering the festival circuit in a local festival before being released theatrically in France.