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Haitian auteur Raoul Peck will direct “Karl Marx,” tracing the young adventures of the German philosopher and revolutionary, producer Jacques Bidou said Thursday.
The picture will cover the period 1830-48, including Marx’s time in Paris before being expelled to Brussels and culminating with the publication of the Communist Manifesto. “Marx was considered a young genius at the time, but it was also a period marked by the birth of a great movement in thinking,” Bidou said.
The story also will encompass Marx’s love for his aristocratic wife, Jenny von Westphalen, and his friendship with Friedrich Engels, with whom he co-authored the Manifesto.
No cast is yet attached, but Bidou said the principal characters will necessarily be young. “Raoul very definitely wants to make this a film for a wide public,” he said.
The English-language movie will be produced by Bidou’s JBA Prods. and, with a budget of about $20 million, will be the Paris-based production house’s most ambitious project to date. The French cinema division of Franco-German cultural channel Arte also is involved, having nurtured the project from the start.
Dreamachine, the recently formed tie-up between Hanway and Celluloid Dreams, is in advanced negotiations to take on international sales for the project and possibly co-producer duties, Bidou said.
The movie is penciled in to begin shooting in February in France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, the latter for co-production reasons, for delivery at the end of next year.
The screenplay is co-written by Peck and Pascal Bonitzer, who collaborated on “Lumumba,” the former’s biography of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, also produced by JBA. A first draft of “Karl Marx” is due to be ready for the Festival de Cannes.
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