Chloé Mazlo’s Feature Film, co-written with Yacine Badday, in theaters on the 30 of June 2021!
Chloé Mazlo & Yacine Badday came to Le Groupe Ouest to develop this film as part as the Annual Selection. Then, they have been selected as Talents of LA SÉLECTION, a co-created event by Le Groupe Ouest and Gan Foundation for Cinema. The feature has been selected at the Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2020.
In April 2016, both co-writers arrived at Le Groupe Ouest with an adaptation of a novel’s project and, within a few days of immersion with the collective and Script Consultants, “everything fell in pieces” says Yacine Badday. “At Le Groupe Ouest, we became aware of the richness – almost romantic – of Chloé’s familial material [with her Swiss Grandmother that went to live in Lebanon as a nurse during the 50’s, and who fell completely in love with the country, then of the director’s grandfather]. We realised that the feature could be far more beautiful than what we thought. The Tell Me of the first session revealed a clearer base, with more emotion, more natural and obvious, even though it has been painful to accept it initially. We arrived with a film project and left with another one… what survived to this first session of collective work is our collaboration and, our desire to talk about Lebanon and the war.”
In this first feature film, César-winning Chloé Mazlo for best animated short film Les Petits Cailloux in 2015, mixes skillfully live action and stop motion. “In our individuals interviews with Script Consultants, pretty quickly came the idea of making abstraction of the technic at this step of development. We really focused on deepen the characters, the story, the esthetic… It’s only on a second time that we brought the technic”, reveals Yacine Badday. Chloé Mazlo specifies: “I decided to use it only when it was necessary (the melting heart, the storks’ hunt…), as a special effect, and never systematically. I hope that this diversity of technics and his artisanal aspect participate at the delight we can take to watch the film. I think it also makes Alice and Joseph’s couple even more endearing, through its fantasy.”
To act this couple evocated by Chloé Mazlo’s, a High-Class duo: Alba Rohrwacher & Wajdi Mouawas. “I was looking for both charismatics and soft actors, that are able to say a lot without talking too much. I had an evidence for Alba Rohrwacher, it is a heart choice. […] For Wajdi Mouawad, it was more an “intellectual” choice: his pieces and books are references, they made me grow, enlightened me about my origins, gave me peace. He was sort of already a part of my family, in an artistic way”, explains Chloé Mazlo.
Skies of Lebanon (Sous le Ciel d’Alice, original title) is produced by Moby Dick Films, co-produced by Arte France Cinéma. The French distribution is piloted by Ad Vitam and international sells by Charades.
In the fifties, young Alice (Alba Rohrwacher) leaves her natal Swiss mountains for the sunny and vibrant shores of Beirut. She falls madly in love with Joseph (Wadji Mouawad), a quirky astrophysicist intent on sending the first Lebanese national into space. Alice quickly fits in among his relatives, but after years of bliss, the civil war threatens their Garden of Eden.