UPDATE: It looks as though Arnaud Desplechin's latest film, Un Conte De Noël (Tale Of Christmas), is set in Northern France and is a family drama in a similar vein of La vie des morts... an in depth article by Pierre Murat in Telerama.fr about the film production (roughly, and I mean roughly, translated by Google) can be found here. The highlights:
"After the triumph of Kings and queen, two years ago, Arnaud Desplechin turns, at this beginning of spring, in these landscapes of the North which he knows well, his new film, entitled A tale of Christmas. A fresco as he likes them, sinuous, tormented, film-multi-stage mixing and buffoonery and rage. A family saga, in fact, which enabled him to join together, once again, the family which he slowly constituted with his preceding films: The Sentinel, How I got into an argument…, Kings and queen. One finds the familiar (Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos, Jean-Paul Roussillon), the new (Melvil Poupaud, Laurent Capelluto) and the almost accessory ones, too briefly met (Anne Consigny, Chiara Mastroianni, Hyppolite Girardot). With, at their head, the French actress that he admires more and with which he had already offered, in Kings and queen, a second role, splendid and extravagant: Catherine Deneuve."
Arnaud Desplechin and Emmanuelle Devos on the set of Un Conte De Noël(Photo: Why Not Productions Jean-Claude Lother)
"To define the young woman, he wrote in the synopsis: 'A very young and serious face: Diane Keaton in Interiors of Woody Allen.' Desplechin proceeds often thus, by cinematographic references: 'To remember the fury, the magic of Scorsese in New York Stories”, he noted concerning the role of the cousin-painter, friend and traitor. And to help Melvil Poupaud to interpret Ivan, the eternally optimistic member of the family... (he) obstinately advised to him to take as a starting point the the character whom Jean Renoir in The Rules of the Game interpreted. The Master took off his hat in front of his actors after each take; if Desplechin does not make it, it is right that he does not have a hat. But his enthusiasm is the same one. And his gratitude. Provided with an ashtray that an assistant empties as quickly as it fills, he observes them, squatted, the eye always with the actors. And if he does not say “'Impressing, impressing! ', like Renoir, he exclaims: “Ah, super beautiful, this plan! ” or even: “Too class! ”, before turning over, smiling, towards his old accomplice, the chief operator Eric Gautier."
I really cannot wait to see it.