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AMI, the French fashion brand founded by Alexandre Mattiussi, has enlisted the talents of auteur Yann Demange and actors Riz Ahmed, Isabelle Adjani, Souheila Yacoub, Sandor Funtek and Suzy Bemba for the short film Dammi دمي Notre sang comme l’amour.
The new work, set to debut later this year, got some shine courtesy of the French Riviera as AMI presented a trailer Wednesday night during the Cannes Film Festival at Le Studio Cannes. Making the rounds at the exclusive soiree were Mattiussi, Demange, Ahmed, Yacoub, Funtek and Bemba, along with guests Xavier Dolan, Noomi Rapace, Jeremy O. Harris, Camille Razat, Djanis Bouzyani, Raika Hazanavicius and Noah Beck.
Written by Demange with Rosa Atab and produced by AMI, Vixens and Wayward Films, Dammi follows the story of a man who returns to his birthplace, Paris, and tracks him as “he moves through the memories of his past and surreal fragments of the present, searching for connection and tribe among a shifting mosaic of characters and places.” He is continually confronted by a question: How does it feel to be at home with others?
The subject matter is particularly resonant for Demange, who left Paris at age 2 with his mother and eldest brother, leaving behind a brother, father and first name, and creating distance with his Algerian heritage.
Dammi is further described as being experimental and something between “documentary and abstract cinema,” as it focuses a lens on real Parisians and representations of the characters of the author’s life, Ahmed, Adjani, Yacoub, Funtek and Bemba.
Mattiussi said that cinema has been a great passion for him since childhood. “And my career in fashion owes a lot to my love of films, which is as much about directing and scenarios as it is about developing character or costumes,” he said in a statement. “On a personal level, for me but also for AMI, there was this strong desire to produce a genuine cinema story.”
He continued: “This was the start of an extraordinary adventure with Yann Demange, a director whom I have admired for a long time. We gave him free rein, and he created Dammi, a magnificent, moving, very intimate short film about his father and his childhood. Now I realize that the values that have been AMI’s since the very beginning — family, friendship, love, sharing — are equally the values that the silver screen tells the best.”
For his part, Demange said he wanted to play with space and time while creating a hybrid movie experience, something “based on the truth of a lived experience, captured through a highly artistic lens, designed to trigger emotions.” He added: “This film is moving, honest, emotional and cinematic, yet never ostentatious: it has the soul and beauty of a poem, told through a diverse film vocabulary, all of its own.”
Demange, born in Paris and raised in London, built a résumé with TV series like Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Dead Set and the acclaimed Top Boy before segueing to feature films with ’71 and White Boy Rick. His other credits include Lovecraft Country and Mogul Mowgli.
Vixens, launched in 2015 by Gary Farkas, Clement Lepoutre and Olivier Muller, has produced or co-produced six films, five shorts and three documentaries, including Sportin’ Life, Lux Æterna, The Giant, Lynn+Lucy and Too Close to the Sun.
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