French film-maker Luc Besson in bailout talks with US studio

French film-maker Luc Besson's loss-making studio EuropaCorp said Sunday it was in talks with US investment fund Vine Alternative Investments, one of its creditors, for it to take a major stake to rescue it.

French film-maker Luc Besson in bailout talks with US studio
Luc Besson. Photo: AFP

The studio, confirming a report in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, said in a statement it was speaking with Vine about “a possible equity participation”.

It cautioned though that it “cannot give any guarantee that this operation will carry through”.

READ ALSO Paris to host free outdoor film screenings (with subtitles in English)

Luc Besson with Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan, Rihanna and Herbie Hancock at the premiere of expensive sci-fi thriller Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. Photo: AFP 

According to the Journal du Dimanche, Besson – the man behind movies such as Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element and the action-packed The Transporter and Taken films – preferred to see Vine take control of EuropaCorp rather than French film group Pathe.

Representatives for Pathe and Vine were not contactable on Sunday by AFP.

EuropaCorp, a 20-year-old studio, located in a northern Paris suburb, has run up losses over the past four years, particularly by failing to recoup its big production costs on a lavish 2017 sci-fi movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, that was a box-office disappointment.

EuropaCorp in May secured a six-month suspension of its debt repayments as it cast around for a rescuer. Its 2018-2019 financial year saw it rack up €110 million in debt, on top of the 82 million in the previous period.

In 2016, China's Fundamental Films injected €60 million in the studio, becoming its second-largest shareholder.

Besson's latest film, a crime thriller titled Anna that he wrote and directed, opened last month to poor reviews but solid audience scores.

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French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.