Deadline’s annual group of Ones to Watch in Cannes is made up of actors and filmmakers who are all bringing something fresh to the festival. The distinction isn’t always reserved for brand new faces; rather, we’ve selected people who are branching out, or who find themselves in waters where they are liable to make waves. Cannes can be a place of reinvention, after all.
French director, writer and producer Cédric Jimenez is known for his gritty crime thrillers inspired by real-life stories involving specific police departments. They include 2014 Toronto Film Festival debut The Connection (La French) about magistrate Pierre Michel, who waged an obsessive six-year battle to bring down Marseille’s infamous ‘French Connection’ drug ring; and last year’s box office hit The Stronghold (Bac nord), based on a 2012 police corruption case, also in Marseille.
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The latter was acquired by Netflix outside France where it was the No. 2 local movie of 2021 with 2.2 million tickets sold. It also scored seven César nominations. The film began its career out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival last July, and this year Jimenez is returning to the section with Novembre, another work that looks at the police, but through a different lens.
With the emotional subject of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that left some 130 dead as its background, the film is likely to have extra poignancy given the currently ongoing trials of suspects and accomplices involved. Novembre dives into the activities of the French anti-terrorist subdivision of the police during the five days following the attacks. Jean Dujardin (who also led The Connection), Anaïs Demoustier, Sandrine Kiberlain and Jérémie Renier star in the thriller which Jimenez has described as being “about life and the tsunami that hit the police when [the attacks] happened”.
Jimenez has also worked in English, directing 2017’s The Man With The Iron Heart (HHhH), and was at one point attached to the Graham Moore-scripted Mind Fall. But off the back of The Stronghold’s strength and with the potential for Novembre, the Marseille native now seems primed for more significant crossover. He was signed by Range Media Partners in late 2020 and is prepping Verde, about Ingrid Betancourt and Clara Rojas’ captivity in the Colombian jungle.
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