David Thion, Producer of Palme d’Or Winner ‘Anatomy of a Fall,’ Prepares Guillaume Senez’ Japan-Set ‘Une Part Manquante’ (EXCLUSIVE)

David Thion, the French producer of Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winning “Anatomy of a Fall,” is reteaming with Guillaume Senez for “Une part manquante,” a Tokyo-set drama which Be For Films is representing in international markets.

“Une part manquante” will also reunite Senez with popular French actor Romain Duris, who starred in his 2018 film “Our Struggles” and earned a Cesar nomination for it. Brussels-based Be For Films had sold Senez’s feature debut “Keeper” and “Our Struggles” in most major territories and presented at a flurry of international festivals.

Duris will play Jay, who hasn’t seen his daughter for nine years since getting separated from his Japanese wife. As a foreigner residing in Japan, Jay was denied custody of his daughter. Hoping to find her somewhere in the city, he abandons his career as a renown chef and becomes a taxi driver. After all these years searching in vain, Jay is about to give up and move back to France when Lily hops in his cab. But she doesn’t recognize him.

Speaking to Variety, Thion, who is a partner at Les Films Pelleas and produced “Anatomy of a Fall” with Marie-Ange Luciani (Les Films de Pierre), said Senez was inspired to write this story after visiting Japan to present “Our Struggles.” “The story depicted in ‘Une part manquante’ isn’t an isolated case. The law in Japan doesn’t allow for shared custody and when one of the parents isn’t Japanese — he or she can be banned from being in contact with the child until the age of 18,” said Thion, who noted that the film will ultimately explore fatherhood as did Senez’s previous film “Our Struggles.”

Citing John Ford’s “The Searchers” as an influence, the producer said the movie will boast suspense and “tackle Japanese and French cultures through the story of an outsider torn by his emotions who tries to find his way in a foreign territory.” Thion said the film will include a lot of shots of Duris’ character traveling the length and breadth of Tokyo in his taxi. A first round of locations scouting was completed and Be For Films’ founder Pamela Leu introduced the buzzy project to buyers at Cannes.

Co-written by Jean Denizot (“The Churchmen”), “Une part manquante” will be distributed in Belgium by Versus and by Haut et Court in France. The film will start filming on location in Japan in mid-October.

Les Films Pelleas is also preparing to start shooting Karim Moussaoui’s (“Waiting For Swallows”) next film “L’Effacement” this fall. The film is co-written by Maud Ameline, based on Samir Toumi’s novel. It’s being co-produced by Niko Films in Germany and Nomadis in Tunisia. “L’Effacement” charts the journey of a young Algerian man from an upper class family who becomes increasingly alienated by his authoritative father and implodes.

“It’s a story shedding light on a young generation caught between founding myths, social injunctions and personal desires, and it’s also a film about a failed transmission between generations,” said Thion, who described it as an “Algerian Taxi Driver.” Mk2 films has boarded international sales while Ad Vitam will distribute it in France.

Thion is also forging bond with rising filmmakers, such as Anne-Sophie Bailly whose short “The Midwife” played at last year’s Telluride. Les Films Pelleas is producing Bailly’s feature debut “Les inseparables” which will star Laure Calamy, the Cesar winning actress of “My Donkey, My Lover & I” and “Call My Agent!”). The movie will revolve around the relationship between a mother, Mona, who raised her disabled son alone and aspires to start caring for herself now that he’s a grown man. But when her son announces that he’s having a baby with his girlfriend, Mona finds herself with another heavy responsibility to bear.

“We’re delighted to be working with Anne-Sophie Bailly who’s so talented. She’s a graduate of France’s film school La Femis and the short she presented at Telluride was actually her graduate film,” said Thion, who described “Les inseparables” as an “emotional story about a single mother caring for her son.”

Besides Justine Triet, Senez, Moussaoui and Bailly, Les Films Pelleas has also been working with Mia Hansen-Love (“One Fine Morning”), Christophe Honoré (“Le Lycéen”), Danielle Arbid (“Une passion simple”) and Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet (“Les Amours d’Anais”), among others.

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