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The Conversation: Producer Olivier Père

Since joining ARTE France Cinema in 2013, producer Olivier Père has become a prolific fixture on the Croisette. Making a bow in Un Certain Regard as co-producer of Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake and Claire Denis’ Bastards, Père has quickly assumed a formidable position as one of the most notable names associated with projects by world renowned auteurs. 2016 was something of a marathon year for Père and ARTE France Cinema, beginning in Berlin, where it unveiled Things to Come as well as what would eventually take home the Golden Bear, Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea. Père was a groundswell at Cannes as well, involved with thirteen films in the official program (including five in the main competition, such as Staying Vertical, Slack Bay, Sieranevada, The Salesman, and Personal Shopper).

Although we’re still a month away from the official unveiling of Cannes 2017, Père’s most recent co-production credits will most likely find his projects proliferated within the competition yet again. We look forward to the possibility of Michael Haneke’s Happy End, Philippe Garrel’s L’amant d’un Jour (a co-pro with SBS Productions), Ruben Ostlund’s The Square, Santiago Mitre’s The Summit, Sergei Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature, and Serge Bozon’s Madame Hyde all vying for slots (and with a little luck, Père may assist Bozon with breaking into the main comp, much like Guiraudie last year with Staying Vertical). And looking even further ahead, there’s more on the horizon from Père, who we hope to see in Venice with Benoit Jacquot’s Eva (which recently wrapped production and is Père’s third project to feature Isabelle Huppert this year) and at Cannes 2018 with Leos Carax’s highly anticipated Annette.

Here’s an overview of five personal favorites from Olivier Père’s filmography:

5. Bastards (2013) – Dir. Claire Denis
As we await two new Claire Denis titles (the first of which unites Juliette Binoche and Gerard Depardieu, Dark Sunglasses, which may potentially be ready in time), one of her darkest and most perverse statements to date is this tragic familial melodrama featuring Chiara Mastroianni and Vincent Lindon.

4. Sieranevada (2016) – Dir. Cristi Puiu
Although it ultimately went home emptyhanded after playing in the main comp, Cristi Puiu’s droll three hour drama focuses on a Romanian family gathering together after the death of their patriarch. Engrossing and immersive, the film is something of a slow burn, but commands an atmosphere as claustrophobic as it is compelling.

3. Nocturama (2016) – Dir. Bertrand Bonello
One of 2016’s most maligned art-house titles thanks to being locked out of Cannes due to its controversial subject matter, provocateur Bertrand Bonello charts the odyssey of a group of Parisian teens who set off bombs then hide out in a mall as they await their demise. Pouty, chic, and unnerving, Nocturama played in competition at TIFF’s 2016 Platform program.

2. Stranger by the Lake (2013) – Dir. Alain Guiraudie
Guiraudie’s erotic thriller recalls a forgotten era of Gallic psychodramas, an unabashedly queer cousin to the output of 1970s era Claude Chabrol in this scenario wherein someone is killing gay men at a popular cruising spot one sundappled summer. The main protagonist has some suspicions about his latest crush, but can’t seem to resist temptation despite courting death.

1. Things to Come (2016) – Dir. Mia Hansen-Love
Isabelle Huppert’s performance in Elle might have occluded some of the shine which should have equally been afforded Mia Hansen-Love’s most eloquent film to date (which nabbed Love the Best Director prize out of Berlin). As a philosophy professor suddenly at an unexpected crossroads, Huppert is divine in this intelligent, sensitively realized character portrait (which also features the wonderful Edith Scob).

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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