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Culture - Arts

Giant French movie production shot in Djibouti

afrol News, 13 August - An upcoming film event from the French film industry is being shot in Djibouti during the rest of the year. The action and spy production, "Les Chevaliers du Ciel" (Knights of the Sky), is centred upon the French airforce, which is heavily present in the small Horn desert state. The French military hails the initiative.

In the ongoing "War against Terrorism" small and stable Djibouti has become an important player. Here, large US, French and NATO troops are strategically stationed, mostly engaged in intelligence work. The small desert state thus has become increasingly visible in international media.

Djibouti's visibility as an important military base is only set to increase by the ongoing shooting of a new and costly French film production. "Les Chevaliers du Ciel", which already has been called a French quality version of the Hollywood financial success "Top Gun", focuses its shooting on locations in France - including the Champs Elysées military parade - Britain and Djibouti.

Shooting of the film were noted by the heavy presence of film cameras during the traditional military parade and airshow along Paris most famous boulevard on the French national day, 14 July. The camera and actors' teams are moving to Djibouti and the Farnborough airshow in Britain before shooting is expected to end during December this year.

According to the producers, the filming is strongly supported by the French airforce and Ministry of Defence, which has gone out of its way to assure the best possible conditions for the crew, including opening up its military bases in Djibouti. As the movie will mirror a hero action like image of the French airforce, authorities count on a propaganda effect and on increased recruitment for its armed forces.

The giant production is set to become the most expensive in the French cinema's history so far, with a budget of euro 20 million. Actors Benoît Magimel, Clovis Cornillac and Alice Taglioni feature on the star list. Prestigious film director Gérard Pirès - known from "Taxi", "Riders" and "Double Zéro" - heads the production, which he calls "the most ambitious aviation film ever made in France."

Originally, the story is based on a comic created for the journal 'Pilote' in 1959 by the authors Jean-Michel Charlier y Albert Uderzo - the latter also being the text writer of the famous Asterix series. The well-told story in the late 1960s became a popular TV series, which again was reproduced in a new version twenty years later.

This year, the version of text writer Gilles Malençon of the adventures of Tanguy and Laverdure for the first time are going to the cinema in a production that is expected to be shown world-wide. Tanguy and Laverdure, two French military pilots this time stationed in Djibouti, are to save the world from terrorism in a production that is said to imitate the action genre as produced by the Hollywood industry.

According to information released by Unifrance, the international promotion agency of French cinema productions, one expects that the new prestigious movie will be released on France's national day next year, 14 July 2005 - at least for the French cinema audience.

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