Sunday, September 19, 2004

Arsene Lupin

Arsene Lupin, directed by Jean-Paul Salome, is a big-budget, epic French feature that follows the early life and exploits of a jewel thief and master-of-disguise. Based on the novels of Maurice Leblanc, especially the book La Comtesse de Cagliostro, the movie stars Romain Duris as the title character.

The film opens in Arsene Lupin's childhood, during which a pivotal event occurs that leads him to pursue a life of crime. The movie then jumps forward in time to Lupin as an adult, and sees him get involved with a monarchist plot, a long-lost royal treasure, and the mysterious countess of Cagliostro, played by Kristin Scott Thomas. The movie features constantly shifting allegiances and a breakneck pace as Lupin races to find the treasure first.

Arsene Lupin is an entertaining adventure story, and the charismatic Duris seems well-suited to the role of a charming gentleman thief. The multitude of intertwined storylines can be a bit confusing to follow, but according to some in the audience, the movie seems quite faithful to the novels on which it is based.

Jean-Paul Salome attended a Q&A session after the movie:

- Arsene Lupin is a popular kind of film, and Salome wanted to do it, and had complete freedom in making the film.

- Kristin Scott Thomas told Salome she had so much fun making the movie, and after seeing the final cut, said it was proof that you could have fun a still make a good movie.

- The screening in Toronto was the world premier, as the movie was only finished 2 to 3 weeks ago, and is not slated to open in France until October 13th.

- The film took 17 weeks to shoot.

- One scene is set at the actual Place d'Opera. The film received permission to shoot for one day from 5:00 AM to midnight on August 15, which is a statutory holiday in France. 80 tons of earth had to be brought in to cover the pavement and make it look as it would have in the late 1800's.


My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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