Home > Film library > Highlights > Suite Française

Suite Française

Suite française

FEATURE FILM 108'
War / Drama

COMPLETED

A passionate story of impossible love, set against the tragic backdrop of World War II. Based on the international best-seller by Irène Némirovsky
Videos
Print

Based on the novel by Irène Némirovsky, Editions Denoël

Directed by

Saul Dibb (The Duchess)

Starring

Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn - Golden Globe 2012 for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, Blue Valentine - Academy-award nomination for Best Actress, Brokeback Mountain - nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards and Golden Globes, Shutter Island)
Kristin Scott Thomas MULTI-AWARDED ACTRESS (The English Patient, I've Loved You So Long, Sarah's Key)
Matthias Schoenaerts (Blood Ties, Rust and Bone, Bullhead)
Sam Riley (Maleficent, On the Road, Control)
Ruth Wilson (The Lone Ranger, Anna Karenina, Saving Mr Banks, Jane Eyre and Luther series)
Tom Schilling (Oh Boy, Der Baader Meinhof Komplex)
Harriet Walter (A Royal Affair, The Young Victoria, Atonement, Babel)
Alexandra Maria Lara (Rush, Control, The Downfall, Youth without Youth)
Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Lambert Wilson CESAR AWARDS WINNER for Of Gods and Men (The Odyssey, The Cow)

Production

TF1 Droits Audiovisuels and Entertainment One in association with The Weinstein Company and BBC Films

2014 / Original language: English, German / Color / 2.35 / 5.1 / available in hd & 2k

The modern day. Over fifty years after Irene Nemirovsky’s death in a concentration camp, her daughter musters the courage to read her lost manuscript, and discovers an incredible story...
France, 1940. In the first days of occupation, beautiful Lucile Angellier is trapped in a stifled existence with her controlling mother-in-law as they both await news of her husband: a prisoner of war. Parisian refugees start to pour into their small town, soon followed by a regiment of German soldiers who take up residence in the villagers’ own homes.
Lucile initially tries to ignore Bruno, the handsome and refined German officer staying with them. But soon, a powerful love draws them together and leads them into the tragedy of war.

Print



MAIN CAST

Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee
MICHELLE WILLIAMS is LUCILE ANGELLIER
(Oz, the Great and Powerful, My Week with Marilyn, Take this Waltz, Shutter Island, Blue Valentine, Brokeback Mountain)

European Film Award and BAFTA Award winner, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee
KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS is Madame ANGELLIER
(Only God Forgives, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Sarah’s Key, The English Patient)

MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS is GERMAN OFFICER BRUNO VON FALK
(A Little Chaos, Blood Ties, Rust and Bones, Bullhead)

BAFTA nominee
SAM RILEY is BENOIT
(Maleficent, On the Road, Brighton Rock, Control)

BAFTA and GOLDEN GLOBE nominee
RUTH WILSON is MADELEINE
(Anna Karenine, The Lone Ranger, Saving Mr Banks, Jane Eyre series)

MARGOT ROBBIE is CELINE
(The Wolf of Wall Street)

ALEXANDRA MARIA LARA
(Rush, Control, The Downfall, Youth without Youth)

TOM SCHILLING is KURT BONNET
(Oh Boy, Der Baader Meinhof Komplex)

LAMBERT WILSON is VISCOUNT DE MONTMORT
(Of Gods and Men, The Princess of Montpensier, The Matrix Online, Catwoman)

HARRIET WALTER is VISCOUNTESS DE MONTMORT
(A Royal Affair, The Young Victoria, Atonement, Babel)

EILEEN ATKINS is DENISE EPSTEIN
(Beautiful Creatures, Robin Hood, Last Chance Harvey)


THE CREW

Directed by:
Saul Dibb
(The Duchess)

Written by:
Saul Dibb and Sam Charman

Adapted from the international award-winning best-seller by Irene Nemirovsky, translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries

A TF1 Droits Audiovisuels – Entertainment One production in association with The Weinstein Company and BBC Films

Producers:
Michael Kuhn, Andrea Cornwell, Xavier Marchand, Romain Bremond

DoP:
Eduard Grau
(Buried, A Single Man)

Editor:
Academy Award and BAFTA Film Award Winner
Chris Dickens
(Les Misérables, Slumdog Millionaire)

Music Theme:
Golden Globe Winner and Academy Award nominee
Alexandre Desplat
(Argo, The King’s Speech, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Ghost Writer, The Queen)

Production Designer:
Academy Award nominee
Michael Carlin
(The Duchess, The Last King of Scotland, In Bruges)

Costume Designer:
Academy Award and BAFTA Film Award Winner
Michael O’Connor
(The Duchess, Jane Eyre)

Hair and Make Up Artist
Academy and BAFTA Award winner
Jenny Shircore
(My Week with Marilyn, Elizabeth, The Young Victoria – Academy Award and BAFTA nominee)

Print



Suite Francaise is a bold, ambitious novel - an epic tale of war from the civilians’ point of view. It’s also, of course, a book that was left tragically unfinished.

I’ve chosen to focus my adaptation on the relationships between French women and the German soldiers who’ve come to occupy their village - in particular the forbidden love story of Lucile, the seemingly ‘good’ French wife, and Bruno, a cultured German officer who nevertheless believes in the cause he’s fighting for. This tension sits amid other controversial conflicts - over class and collaboration - with townsfolk turning against each other, widespread distrust and denunciations.

I also chose to book-end the film with the story of the novel’s discovery - how the original manuscript was kept by Irene’s daughter for sixty years until she finally found the strength to read it. To me, it’s very much part of the emotional power of the novel as a whole and mirrors a crucial theme: just as Denise didn’t want to read her mother’s writings and face the painful truths of the past, so too have the French found it hard to look back at the realities of life under occupation. And for both, the end is not defeat but survival and redemption.

Irene was writing with events unfolding around her and in the making of the film I want to capture this strong sense of immediacy and authenticity. The action should feel that it’s happening now - urgent, tense, spontaneous, made with no benefit of hindsight - like we’ve discovered a time capsule. And very far from a safe, stuffy period piece.

The film’s look will also set extreme emotional intimacy against grand cinematic scale, contrasting the closeness of living with the enemy in the very next room with the magnitude of what’s going on outside. So while the love story should feel intense and powerful, the visual impact of the exodus, for instance, is visceral, dynamic, dangerous and at times shocking.

Irene intended to build a structure for her novel around maximum variety of rhythm between the parts, like a symphony (hence her title). I love the ambition of this idea and have applied it in designing the structure of the film - so as each act progresses, it does so with its own distinct pace and tone, defying expectation at each turn.

So the beginning will be fast, lively and dramatic, full of adrenaline, energy and action as Lucile sees polite society disintegrating around her. The middle section is more lyrical and romantic, imbued with a heavy sense of sexuality as a town of young women is swamped by a virile army of fit young men over a hot summer - and forbidden love beckons. The last part gives way to tension and tragedy as the initially benign German occupiers turn on the village, and Lucile and Bruno have to choose which side they’re really on.

The role of music in this film is crucial and I want it to work on two levels. The first is the score - subtle and atmospheric.
The second is Bruno’s on-going composition. This works as a kind of score within a score and - in direct contrast to the first - is naturally much more consciously ‘musical’ in nature. I intend to have Bruno’s piece created by the composer before we shoot and then played by Bruno throughout the film as a developing theme. Not only will this be an integrated part of the story but it also carries the emotional weight of the closing scenes, finally reappearing for the end credits in full, cathartic orchestral form.

In short, Suite Francaise is a film I’m passionate to make. It’s at once a complex exploration of how people behave under the enormous pressure of occupation - and simply a powerful story of two misfits who unexpectedly find each other only to realise they’re unable to detach themselves from the massive events going on around them.

Saul Dibb, July 2012

Print




“Superbly acted war romance” - “ A must see”
Glamour/UK

“KST is exceptional”
Time Out/UK

“Suite Française is handsomely made and boasts two exceptional central performances”
The Independent/UK

“Handsomely crafted, sincerely performed”
“A powerful love affair”
“A blend of romance and suspense”
TVariety



“A lush and lingering romance”
“MW is both sympathetic and convincing”
Screendaily

“A broad romantic epic"
Paris Match

“We can’t help but be touched by this ill-fated passion”
JDD **

“A great adaptation"
L'Express

"Overwhelming"
Le Parisien

“A winning bet"
Metro

“Fascinating film with a top-notch cast”
Ciak/Italie

“French Suite has moments of rare intensity. Classically romantic”
Tu Style/Italie

“A refreshing film that takes a new look at that historical period”
LE SOIR/Belgique



Print



Adapted from the international award-winning best-seller by Irene Nemirovsky, translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries


Available in :

Italian






Click on the pdf file :

  The Best Seller.pdf