Altitude Sets Up French Joint Venture to Release Jacques Cousteau Biopic 'The Odyssey'

Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
Audrey Tautou

The British distributor has partnered with France's Pan-Europeenne to release the film, which co-stars Audrey Tautou, in the U.K.

In a bid to overcome difficulties faced by French films in the U.K., British distributor Altitude Film Entertainment has formed a joint venture with the local arm of French production and distribution house Pan-Europeenne to release Jacques Cousteau biopic The Odyssey.

The film, directed by Jerome Salle (Zulu, Anthony Zimmer), stars Lambert Wilson as the famed ocean explorer, filmmaker, scientist and inventor, with Audrey Tautou playing his first wife Simone. The story is told through the eyes of their son Philippe (Pierre Niney), who after years apart sees his father transform from obsessive adventurer to international star and megalomaniac. Together they embark on a voyage to Antarctica in an effort to reunite. Shooting on the pic took place in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Antarctica.

"We are very proud of The Odyssey, definitely one of the most important French films of the year regarding its ambition, casting and budget," said Nathalie Gastaldo Godeau, who together with Philippe Godeau co-founded Pan-Europeenne and last year set up Pan-Européenne U.K. in London. "French films, filmmakers and actors have held a great attraction for U.K. audiences and in moving into the U.K. to work with Altitude, we intend to reach that fan base. With such a partner, the U.K. release is auguring extremely well. We could not expect a better way to start our partnership than with this great movie and embarking on this adventure that we hope will be long and flourishing."

Added Altitude CEO Will Clarke: "Recently the U.K. has been seen to be a difficult market for French films to break into, but it hasn’t always been this way. In working in partnership with Pan-Europeenne U.K., which has made a significant commitment to the U.K. market in setting up here, we are together taking up the challenge of reawakening the audience for French films."

Altitude will launch The Odyssey later this year.