Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsNewsNRW-funded documentary essay „Francofonia" in Venice’s Competition

NRW-funded documentary essay „Francofonia" in Venice’s Competition

  • French-German-Dutch co-production competing for the Golden Lion
  • Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed film with 85,000 Euros
  • 72nd Venice International Film Festival from 2 – 12 September, 2015

The documentary essay „Francofonia" by Alexander Sokurov is competing at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival in the prestigious competition for the Golden Lion. The French-German-Dutch co-production about the Louvre and its unknown history under the German occupation was backed by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW with 85,000 Euros. Large parts of the archival research and preparation as well as all of the complex postproduction and completion were realised in NRW.

„Francofonia" focuses on Count Franz Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht, the director of the German Kunstschutz organisation to protect works of art, and the Louvre’s director at that time, Jacques Jaujard. The two remarkable men were initially enemies, but then became collaborators. Their ¨collaboration¨ became the  driving force for the preservation of the museum’s treasures. The film explores the relations between art and power and the Louvre as a living record of civilisation. Moreover, it shows what art tells us about ourselves even in the midst of one of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever seen. Alexander Sokurov uses his film to ask about morality and honour and stages a visually engaging mirror of history in the Louvre,

The story of Count Franz Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht is also closely linked with the history of NRW as a region: he grew up in the ancestral home of Schloss Gracht near Cologne and showed interest in Rhenish art and architecture from an early age.

Idéale Audience (FR) and N279 Entertainment (NL) produced the film with zero one film and participation from ARTE Cinema. Funding of 85,000 Euros was provided by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, other backers were the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Eurimages, DFFF and the German-French Funding Committee. Piffl Medien will release the film in German cinemas, with Films Boutique handling world sales.

Sokurov had already received the Golden Lion in 2011 for his feature film „Faust". Last year saw the NRW-funded production „A Pigeon Sitting on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" by Roy Andersson bagging Venice’s highest distinction.

The Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia is being held this year for the 72nd time – it is not only regarded as the world’s oldest existing film festival, but is also one of the three internationally most important of its kind together with Cannes and the Berlinale. The film festival is a part of the Biennale for contemporary art in Venice and annually awards the Golden Lion as its Grand Prix.