Finding a compromise between blockbuster and arthouse is really hard. However, some directors see the sense of their filmography in that binomial. James Cameron, Christopher Nolan and many others.
In this article we will talk about Denis Villeneuve, Canadian filmmaker born in 1967, and one of the most interesting directors of his generation. We will try to take stock of his career so far, focusing on what he said, the reaction of critics and earnings at the Box Office. We remember:
1 – Un 32 août sur terre
We are in 1998 and the 31-year-old director from Canada begins with a very intimate debut. The film tells the story of Simone, a young model who survives a violent car accident in the middle of nowhere. Surely some reality had already noticed a talent, in fact A “32 août sur terre” is presented in the second most important section of the Cannes Film Festival, namely A certain regard.
2 – Maelström
Two years later, in 2000 the second feature film by Denis Villeneuve was released. This first phase of his career did not have great results at the box office. The authoritative portal IMDB shows the box office of “Maelström”. The earnings are about 254,380 dollars, really few in short. Again, the film wins several awards, especially the FIPRESCI award at the Berlin Film Festival.
What does the film tell about? One rainy summer evening, Bibiane accidentally hit a passer-by with his car. The wounded, a fifty-three-year-old fishmonger, returned home, slowly died. From that moment on, Bibiane’s life slid into unimaginable chaos.
3 – Polytechnique
Nine years have passed since the last film and finally in 2009 the third feature film by the Canadian filmmaker has been released. “Polytechnique” recounts the massacre that occurred on 6th December 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, when 25-year-old Marc Lépine shot and killed 13 students and a university employee, for a total of 14 young women, and then he took his own life.
Also in this case, Villeneuve’s film is presented at the Cannes Film Festival, in the section Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. He won nothing at the French festival but in Canada he won many awards.
4 – Incendies
The last film of the Canadian period before Hollywood and the famous actors. “Incendies” is released in 2010. The film tells of the twins Jeanne and Simon, who listen to the last wishes of their mother Nawal Marwan of Middle Eastern origins. Again, the film is well received by critics and “Incendies” is nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.
Despite this, the result at the box office is really poor, because against a budget of about 6 million and 800 thousand dollars, the film grossed 7 million by recovering the budget without counting the promotional expenses.
5 – The Hollywood Age
“I was born in science fiction,” said director Denis Villeneuve of why he took on cerebral sci-fi “Arrival”. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, this movie is the thinking person’s “Independence Day”. Villeneuve finally found a subject, and a script, whose magnitude matches the weight he assigns to it. All it took was an alien species’ appearance on Earth. This movie is the smartest big-budget sci-fi film in that years with $47 million.
The Hollywood period projects Villeneuve in the most important filmmakers of today’s scene, managing huge budgets like those of “Blade Runner 2049”. It was also shot in Hungary, in particular in the former Budapest Stock Exchange Palace, located at 17 Freedom Square (Szabadság tér in Hungarian), one of the city’s most impressive squares surrounded by magnificent historic buildings.
Speaking of money, “Blade Runner 2049” cost around $150 million and grossed $259,334,548 million. A good revenue, not particularly satisfying but enough to keep Denis Villeneuve to be a great director of Blockbuster.
“Dune”, the director’s next long-awaited film, was also filmed in Hungary. This movie is legendary in its difficulty in getting made. Firstly, David Lynch tried (and many would say, failed) with his adaptation, and unlike Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky didn’t even get to see his version make it to the big screen. In Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” the main roles are played by Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson and Jason Momoa and we are all looking forward to seeing it.
If the seemingly stellar roster isn’t good enough, Warner also making a spinoff series for its own streaming service. “Dune: The Sisterhood” series will take a look into the lives of the Bene Gesserit Order, an all-wizarding order of sorceresses. As an added bonus, Jon Spaihts, who wrote the script for the remake, will write the screenplay and Villeneuve will direct the pilot. The premiere date is still unknown but it would be nice to welcome him back again in Hungary.