Mathieu Kassovitz stars in ‘The Astronaut’ Bows in Cairo

Local audiences at Cairo Film Festival fell for Nicolas Giraud’s “The Astronaut,”Even though critics were less enthusiastic, there was a lot of applause during the world premiere. But it wasn’t the only sound that accompanied the screening, frequently interrupted by a cacophony of ringtones.

“What we shared here today was this unique experience of watching a film in a theater, together, an experience we need to protect as it’s endangered all over the world. But what I would like to say to you, people from Egypt…,”Hippolyte Girardot was the first actor.

“…Turn off your phones in the cinema! Goddamnit!,” added Mathieu Kassovitz during a Q&A that followed, eliciting a hearty laughter from the room.

Mathieu Kassovitz stars in 'The Astronaut’ Bows in Cairo

“The Astronaut”

The film – produced by Christophe Rossignon and Philip Boëffard (Nord-Ouest Films) with Orange Studio handling the sales and Diaphana Distribution on board – is competing in Cairo’s international competition, with its festival director Amir Ramses describing it as a “really poetic story.”

“It’s about a man belonging to another universe: just like ‘The Big Blue.’ I had the same tears [in my eyes] when I was watching this film,” he told the spectators, referring to Luc Besson’s 1988 take on the rivalry between two champion free divers.

Giraud, however, is now looking up and not down this time.

The story centers on Jim, an aeronautical engineer who dreams of becoming an astronaut. Unable to move on, and despite his family’s reservations, he comes up with a rather surprising idea: he will build his own rocket.

“I don’t know where this story came from. Maybe from the stars,”Giraud was clearly moved.

“If you want to achieve something, you have to stay true to your dream, whatever it is. Me? Before getting here, I was a dental technician, I worked in a cinema selling candy and tearing the tickets. Believe in yourself. That’s the most important thing,”He spoke to the audience.

“To me, making this movie was what building this rocket was to Jim. It felt exactly the same.”

Giraud wrote Girardot and Kassovitz’s characters with the actors already in mind, he said. Stéphane Cabel is credited as a co-writer.

“This [evening] is magical for me, because it’s the first time I am sharing this movie with them,” said Giraud. Hélène Vincent, Bruno Lochet and Ayumi Roux also feature.

Kassovitz, cast as an experienced astronaut who is helping Jim realize his ambitious – or crazy – project, has also delivered a masterclass at the festival. Neben der bekannten Leistung beim Festival, hat Kassovitz auch a Masterclass. “Amélie”And “Munich” – soon adding Terrence Malick’s “The Way of the Wind” to his CV – the actor has also enjoyed a career as a director, making a splash with “La Haine”In 1995, it was back.

But he wouldn’t mind venturing out into space either, even if the odds weren’t exactly in his favor. As in the movie.

“It’s my dream. That’s why I said yes to the movie,”He said.

Kassovitz also worked on a project that was based on a space station in the past. “MNP.”

“I spent 10 years developing it, spending time with astronauts, like Jean-François Clervoy. I had a chance to meet him and I have experienced amazing things with these guys. After a while, because the movie proved to be very complicated, I decided not to do it. My experience with the astronauts was enough [for me].”

“But then the same producer came back, saying: ‘Listen, I have this kid who is going to make the movie you wanted to make, do you want to be a part of it?’ My answer was: ‘Of course.’ I am proud of it.”

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