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France’s Arras Film Festival ends on a musical note


Belgian Rhapsody, Vincent Bal’s romantic musical comedy about two rival Belgian brass bands, is to close this year’s Arras Film Festival in France (6-15 November). The line-up also includes Jan Bultheel’s animated feature Cafard. Both films are to have a French theatrical release later this year.

In the summer, the Montreal World Film Festival created a precedent by offering Vincent Bal’s Belgian Rhapsody the festival’s closing slot. The Arras Film Festival will end on an equally cheerful note in choosing the musical comedy as this year’s closing film. The storyline revolves around two rival brass bands competing for the European finals. When trumpet player Hugues changes sides, the tension escalates. Amaryllis Uitterlinden and Arthur Dupont make up the main cast. Vincent Bal and Pierre De Clercq wrote the script; Peter Bouckaert of Eyeworks produced the film.

Arras’s retrospective section about the Great War invited Cafard, an animated feature scripted, directed and designed by Jan Bultheel. Based on true events, it is the story of Jean Mordant who enrols in the first Armoured Car Division and embarks on a dramatic journey that will eventually take him all the way around the world.

Cafard was the closing film at the Ostend Film Festival in September, followed by an international premiere at the Busan Film Festival and a North American screening at Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinema. Arielle Sleutel of Tondo Films produced.

Belgian Rhapsody and Cafard received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz. They were also backed by the Screen Flanders economic Fund under the aegis of Flemish Economic Affairs Minister Philippe Muyters and Cultural Affairs Minister Gatz.