It is a few centimeters taller than the original. But thanks to the magic of the Seventh Art, we will only see fire! Still crowned with his triumph at the Oscars with Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is about to put on the clothes of Napoleon under the direction of Ridley Scott. A filmmaker whom he knows well since he was his Commodus in Gladiator, 20 years ago. If the title of the film, Kitebag, refers to the package of soldiers on the front, the project promises to be as spectacular as it is intimate. David Scarpa’s screenplay indeed promises to show “the rapid and ruthless rise of the emperor through the prism of his addictive and often explosive relationship with his wife and only love, Josephine”. A presentation that forgets all the same that the emperor repudiated his first wife to marry Marie-Louise of Austria.
But the real surprise is that the film will be produced by Apple, which will offer it to subscribers of its Apple TV + platform without giving up, a priori, a theatrical release beforehand, under the aegis of a traditional studio. After offering Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese’s next thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio, or Emancipation, Antoine Fuqua’s film on slavery with Will Smith, the high-tech firm confirms its rise in the world of cinema with one of the historical figures most represented on the screen. With us, it has been played with varying degrees of success by Pierre Mondy, Raymond Pellegrin, Daniel Mesguisch, Philippe Torreton and even Christian Clavier.
Actors now essential
On the Hollywood side, two icons have lent their features to the emperor. Marlon Brando in Desired by Henry Koster in 1954. And before him Albert Dieudonné in Napoleon by Abel Gance in 1927, a silent film classic that the Cinémathèque française launched in 2008, under the direction of director and researcher George Mourier. A long-term job that required picking up scraps of images from all over the world. And who just got a boost thanks to the help of Netflix. The American platform announced on Thursday its contribution to the project, from a financial point of view, but also in participation in the organization of screenings, conferences and masterclasses.
“We plan to complete the restoration in 2021, for the bicentenary of the Emperor’s death“, indicates in a press release Frédéric Bonnaud, the general manager of the French Cinémathèque.”We are pleased with Netflix’s decisive contest for the reconstruction of this great masterpiece of world cinema“, he underlines while the project was originally launched under the impetus of the National Cinematographic Center (CNC), the Napoleon Foundation and a generous private patron. Netflix is not at this stage. its first attempt in heritage cinema since in 2018, the American platform had financed and broadcast On the other side of the wind, the unfinished film by Orson Welles.
In addition to the image issue, the restoration of Napoleon shows how Netflix is now essential for many actors of the Seventh art. And its rise should accelerate further in the coming months in France since under the European SMA (Audiovisual Media Service) directive, which is to apply in the spring, the streaming giants will have to invest a part of their turnover in the hexagonal creation. A contribution which within the framework of Netflix could reach between 150 and 200 million euros per year, according to figures communicated in December by the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot.
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