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The Dreamers: Valérie Donzelli Completes Casting for “Marguerite et Julien” (aka Abandoned Truffaut Project)

Valérie Donzelli, the actress-turned director who we most recently caught as a supporting player in the garishly dressed Saint Laurent, Bertrand Bonello’s stylized biopic might have found a taste for risky content as cameras are set to lense next week on her fourth feature film. The Cineuropa folks report that Donzelli has completed the casting on Marguerite et Julien, a project that François Truffaut flirted with but ultimately passed on. Completing the cast we find Aurélia Petit (The Science of Sleep), vet thesps Sami Frey and Geraldine Chaplin, reuniting with her fellow Declaration of War‘s Frédéric Pierrot and Bastien Bouillon who join the previously announced duo of Anaïs Demoustier (you can find her in Ozon’s latest, the recently acquired Cohen Media’s The New Girlfriend) and Jérémie Elkaïm (full-time collaborator with Donzelli who we also discovered in Declaration of War). Rectangle Productions’ Edouard Weil (Benoît Jacquot’s Three Hearts) and Alice Girard are producing. Shooting will last until December and take place in France. We have this one earmarked for a possible Cannes showing.

Gist: Written by Donzelli and Elkaïm, this is based on the work by Jean Gruault (famously collaborated with Truffaut on Jules and Jim), this is about Julien and Marguerite de Ravalet, the son and daughter of the Lord of Tourlaville, who have had great affection for one another since they were children. But as they grow up, their tender love turns into an all-consuming passion. Their affair completely outrages society, which then hunts them down. Unable to fight against their feelings for each other, they are forced to run away.

Worth Noting: Not sure if they belong to a creative collective, but having worked for them in front of the camera — the tables were turned on filmmakers Gilles Marchand, Dominik Moll and Serge Bozon who all made appearances in Donzelli’s debut, The Queen of Hearts.

Do We Care?: Donzelli and Elkaïm’s highly personal Declaration of War (2011) has so far been, crowned their top creative effort in their three film filmography which includes The Queen of Hearts (2008) and Main dans la main (2012), and while we’re certain that the talent-backed tale might equate to lauded perfs, we’re more curious as to how the pairing have adapted the text. Will it be villainy, scorching or dyspeptic or the complete opposite?

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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