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AFI Fest 2012: 'Rust And Bone' aims outside the art house

November 05, 2012|By Mark Olsen
  • Matthias Schoenaerts, left, Marion Cotillard and Jacques Audiard at a screening of "Rust And Bone" at the London Film Festival.
Matthias Schoenaerts, left, Marion Cotillard and Jacques Audiard at a… (Miles Willis / Invision…)

Not every foreign-language film can get one of its stars booked on such high-profile publicity stops as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” So when “Rust And Bone” has the ability to get national television exposure thanks to star Marion Cotillard, that automatically positions the movie as something that could potentially break out beyond an art-house audience.

The Oscar triumph of “The Artist” and the recent worldwide box-office success of “The Intouchables” are also recent signs that French pictures in particular can still resonate more broadly.

The latest movie from filmmaker Jacques Audiard, “Rust And Bone” is set for its Los Angeles premiere Monday night as part of the AFI Film Festival, ahead of opening locally on Dec 7. The film -- which Audiard recently described as “a contemporary melodrama” -- stars Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in a tentative, burgeoning romance between a woman recovering from a crippling work-related accident and an aimless fighter in search of a purpose.

Audiard’s “A Prophet” garnered great critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film, but barely cracked $2 million at the U.S. box office. Audiard’s status as one of the international festival circuit’s most stylish directors plus the international celebrity of Cotillard, seen recently in “The Dark Knight Rises,” gives “Rust And Bone” an air of something potentially bigger.

The presence of rising star Schoenaerts, whose role in the foreign-language Oscar nominee “Bullhead” brought him great acclaim, only adds to the film’s potential commercial chances.

“I actually never think about the audience while I make a film,” Audiard said in a recent translated email exchange. “It is hard enough to think about the film itself. The whole idea of an audience is a mystery to me. Somehow, I think I am making movies in order to talk to people I do not know. After ‘A Prophet,’ the audience for my work got larger and so the mystery grew even bigger.”

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