French artist and filmmaker Éric Baudelaire’s Un Film Dramatique which had its international premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in August and played the Toronto International Film Festival followed by New York Film Festival this fall was acquired by Cinema Guild for release in the U.S. In October, Baudelaire was announced as the winner of the Prix Marcel Duchamp, France’s biggest art prize. Cinema Guild will open the film in U.S. theaters in 2020.
Commissioned as a dedicated artwork for the newly constructed Dora Maar middle school on the outskirts of Paris, Un Film Dramatique is a lively portrait of the first class to attend the school, filmed over the course of four years. The group of 21 middle schoolers discuss the drama of their daily lives and experiment with cameras and equipment. They are the film’s subjects and also its makers.
With a refreshingly uninhibited approach, Baudelaire (Letters to Max, The Anabasis of May…) offers a new perspective on the realities of our current socio-political moment that is both playful and purposeful. As the students debate the approaching elections and the immigration crisis, they also seek to answer a key political question-what are we doing here together?
“We worked with the students in a very open-ended manner, with two guiding principles,” said Baudelaire when describing the film. “The first was that I wasn’t there to teach them anything. The second was that we would make a film that starts as a film about them, slowly becoming a film made with them, and eventually, after four years, it would end up as a film by them.” “It means a lot to me, and to the students, that this film will reach an American audience, and I am thrilled to pursue my collaboration with Cinema Guild with this new film,” said Baudelaire.