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RED LIGHTS aka FEUX ROUGES
USA: Wellspring Media
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Carole Bouquet, Vincent Deniard, Charline Paul, Jean-Pierre Gos, Mylene Demongeot, Sava Lolov, Eric Moreau, Igor Skreblin
Director: Cedric Kahn
Language: French (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 105 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong violence and language
USA Release Date: 20 August 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 24 September 2004
Following his great success with the acclaimed ROBERTO SUCCO and his earlier L'ENNUI, Cedric Kahn's new film RED LIGHTS, based on a Georges Simenon novel, was shown In Competition at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival.
Summer in Paris. Antoine (masterfully played by Guediguian regular Jean-Pierre Darroussin) and Helene (Carole Bouquet) are driving to the south to pick up their children at summer camp. The heat and the heavy traffic take their toll and so does the alcohol Antoine has downed several beers to soothe his impatience. After a serious quarrel about Antoine's reckless driving habits the couple get separated during a petrol stop and Antoine picks up a mysterious hitchhiker. It's the beginning of a typical Simenon nightmare...
The original novel was set in the United States but Kahn and his co-screenwriter Laurence Ferreira-Barbosa moved the location to France. They stripped down the book to the core and concentrated all the action on the two leads. As in his previous films, Kahn prefers to tell a gripping story: in the confines of the car where the couple are forced to contend with each other's presence and the tension slowly builds, reinforced by the dark tones of the music (Nocturnes by Debussy). The human side of the tragedy is central to this story: as the night progresses the primitive fear of Antoine colours the film. The ride becomes a nightmare in a world of anonymous roads, cars and neon lights. Nothing is what it seems. Kahn deliberately created a sense of unreality through the film and shot all the night car scenes in the studio.
"The location is the road, the country does not matter. What counted was to communicate my first impression, when I was reading the book, which was a very powerful one. The love story was intense and the suspense very well put together. Within the first few lines, we're gripped. The story is implacable, unavoidable, stronger even than the character". Cedric Kahn.
However, Kahn needed strong actors to play the couple and preferred well-known stars who had never played together before. Especially the actor who would play Antoine would have to go through very strong emotions. He sent the script to Jean-Pierre Darroussin, without telling him his partner would be the beautiful actress Carole Bouquet. She had signed on the project at a very early stage. Darroussin, who normally plays simple characters and Bouquet (known for portraying elegance and sophistication) may seem an unlikely couple, but in RED LIGHTS manage to overcome their differences in a brilliant way.
Cedric Kahn (1966) is one of France's most talented filmmakers. RED LIGHTS is his fifth feature length film. His 1994 feature film TROP DE BONHEUR won his country's coveted Prix Jean Vigo, as well as the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to scripting his own films, he also co-wrote the screenplays for Brigitte Rouan's OUTREMER and Laurence Ferreira Barbosa's LES GENS NORMAUX N'ONT RIEN D'EXCEPTIONNEL.