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Lea Mysius to direct French thriller ‘The Birthday Party’ (exclusive)

Source: C. Paul Guilhaume

Léa Mysius

French writer-director Lea Mysius is set to write and direct her third feature, an adaptation of Laurent Mauvignier’s best-selling French thriller The Birthday Party (Histoires De La Nuit).

It is being produced by Marie-Ange Luciani’s Les Films de Pierre, whose credits include the Palme d’Or winning Anatomy Of A Fall, alongside Jean-Louis Livi’s F Comme Film, which produced Florian Zeller’sThe Father.

Set in a hamlet in rural France, the story follows a man and his wife, their daughter and an artist neighbour. As the man plans a surprise for his wife’s birthday, inexplicable happenings begin to disrupt the hamlet’s quiet existence before turning into a nightmarish chain of events when night falls.

Mauvignier’s novel, which translates to “stories of the night”, was longlisted for the 2023 International Booker Prize.

The film is in pre-production with shooting planned for May 2024. 

“It’s a female version of Cronenberg’s A History of Violence,” Luciani told Screen. She described the adaptation as a “a real challenge in terms of writing and direction since the book itself was so strong, but what Lea is doing with it is incredible. It’s a film that really relies on the performance of the actors.”

The cast has yet to be confirmed and a sales company has yet to board. 

Mysius is a Cannes regular: Her debut feature Ava premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2017 where it won the SACD prize, and her second title , the supernatural psychodrama The Five Devils (Les Cinq Diables) premiered at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2022.

Her screenwriting credits include Claire Denis’ Stars At Noon, Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts and Oh Mercy!, and Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District.

Luciani also produced Robin Campillo’s San Sebastian title Red Island and is producing Claire Burger’s upcoming Langue Etrangère starring Chiara Mastroianni and Nina Hoss with Germany’s Razor Film Produktion that is in post-production. She is also reteaming with David Thion of Les Films Pelleas for Triet’s upcoming feature.  

F Comme Film’s Livi also produced Mysius’ Ava And The Five Devils, and is now co-producing Anne Fontaine’s upcoming Maurice Ravel biopic Boléro with Philippe Carcassonne’s Ciné@ and CinéFrance Studios.



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