Memento International has boarded Martin Provost’s film portraying the art and epic love of renowned French painters Pierre and Marthe Bonnard.
Titled “Bonnard, Pierre and Marthe,” the movie will star Cecile de France (“Lost Illusions”), Vincent Macaigne (“Irma Vep”) and Stacy Martin (“Nymphomaniac”).
The film charts the colorful relationship and collaboration spanning five decades between Pierre Bonnard, who was mentored by Claude Monet and nicknamed the “painter of happiness,” and his wife Marthe de Méligny. The latter, who was a self-proclaimed aristocrat, became the cornerstone of her husband’s life and work, appearing in more than a third of his paintings. The cast is completed by André Marcon (“Lost Illusions”) and Anouck Grinberg (“The Night Of The 12th”).
Considered as one of the greatest French painters of the 20th century, Bonnard weaved impressionism and abstraction with bold colors and depiction of scenes of everyday life. With fellow painters, Bonnard also formed the group of young French artists known as “Les Nabis” in 1888.
“As a child, my mother had brought me a poster showing Marthe painted by Bonnard,” said Provost, who previously explored the world of French painting in the 2008 film “Seraphine” which won seven César Awards.
“I had pinned it to my bedroom wall so that I could look at it when I went to sleep at night. Something about the image, the sensuality, the strangeness of it, fascinated me,” Provost continued. “It was like a window into another world.”
Now in production, “Bonnard, Pierre and Marthe” is being produced by François Kraus and Denis Pineau-Valencienne at Les Films du Kiosque (“La Belle Epoque,” “How to be a Good Wife”).
“A unique work, Martin’s next film plunges us into a captivating historical arena, telling the story of Pierre and Marthe’s all-consuming love affair, and revealing the major (and little-known) role Marthe played in the creation of his work,” said Les Films du Kiosque, which last collaborated with Provost on “How to be a Good Wife” starring Juliette Binoche.
The prestige period film, which also highlights Paris’ affluent art and literary scene during that era, is being shot by Oscar-nominated and Bafta-winning cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman (“The Artist”). The crew also includes four-time, César-winning costume designer Pierre-Jean Larroque (“Lost Illusions”), and César-winning set designer Jérémie Duchier (“Chocolat”).
Memento Distribution will release the film in France, while Memento International is handling sales and festivals.
“Pierre Bonnard is one of the most famous painter in the world, and yet no feature film has ever been made about him and his wife Marthe de Meligny,” said Memento International, adding that “Martin Provost offers us a fascinating romance, and a brilliant story of creation and love, of fame and secrets.”
Memento International previously launuched “How to be a Good Wife” and “The Midwife” to major territories. “How to be a Good Wife” was one of the rare French box office hits during the pandemic.
“Bonnard” is the newest addition to Memento International’s 2022 slate which includes two Oscar entries “Cinema Sabaya” from Israel, and “Boy From Heaven” from Sweden, as well as “Sick Of Myself,” “The Night Of The 12th” and “Falcon Lake,” among others.
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