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Drafthouse Films Acquires Cannes Buzz Title 'La French,' Starring Jean Dujardin

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by Ryan Lattanzio
May 27, 2014 8:00 AM
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'La French'

Drafthouse Films has acquired US distribution rights to director Cedric Jimenez's period crime thriller "La French" starring Jean Dujardin. 

Billed as Europe's answer to "The French Connection," the film ignited a pre-buy bidding war after Gaumont Film Company unveiled eight minutes of promo footage at Cannes this year. It marks the first collaboration between Gaumont and Drafthouse Films. Here's the synopsis:

Marseille. 1975. Pierre Michel, a young magistrate with a wife and children, has just been transferred to help in the crackdown on organized crime.  He decides to take on the French Connection, a mafia-run operation that exports heroin the world over.  Paying heed to no one’s warnings, he leads a one-man campaign against mafia kingpin Gaetan Zampa, the most untouchable godfather of them all.

Based on a true story, "La French" was produced by Alain Goldman and Legende Films, and it could be Jimenez's -- not widely known in the US -- stateside breakout. Dujardin said it was the first film he agreed to do after winning the Best Actor Oscar for "The Artist" (2011).


Drafthouse Films, which has given a home in theaters and on VOD to a surfeit of edgy festival titles (Dutch mind-boggler "Borgman" comes this summer), wants to "get young audiences excited about foreign language film," said CEO Tim League. "Nothing excited us more than 'La French.'" The film was shot in 35mm and will screen, selectively, in its original format.

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