Most of us regular folks would only know Mathieu Amalric as “that Roman Polanski-looking* fellow in Quantum of Solace,” but the French multi-hyphenate proved himself behind the camera when, in 2010, he took home Cannes’ Best Director prize for On Tour. In making his feature film follow-up, Variety informs us he’s decided to adapt Stendhal‘s 1830 novel The Red and the Black — which was translated to film in 1954 — a (oddly untitled) project that producer Laetitia Gonzalez claims will be Amalric‘s “most ambitious directorial effort” to date.
The original book revolved around Julien Sorel, an energetic teacher whose attempt to step outside societal lines — an attempt instigated with an affair — causes a stir and threatens to bring everything crashing down. Dramatic meat: it’s here in spades. Now, I’m obviously speaking out of turn, making predictions on a project that’s still in the early days, but it’s probable that Amalric, in taking on the book, has decided to retain the period setting — hence, all the ambition that’s being promised here. If nothing else, it could be nice to see a “newer” director extend his grasp; it’d be even better if he pulls that off. But, still, with the screenplay being written at the moment, the possibilities of that are still entirely steeped in assumptions.
Have you read The Red and the Black? Is Amalric a director to look out for?
*In a footnote that’s germane to nothing: Amalric not only bears a striking resemblance to the Polish director, but also has grandparents that hail from the same village.
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