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

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 27, 2014 at 8:00AM

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

This article is related to: Drafthouse Films, Alamo Drafthouse, Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, Festivals, Jean Dujardin

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.