Estonian film puts Jeanne Moreau back up in lights

French actress's return to the big screen lights up the Locarno Film Festival.

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The 84-year-old French actress Jeanne Moreau lit up the big screen at the Locarno Film Festival on Saturday, in a film inspired by a story of friendship between two Estonian women in Paris.

The Estonian filmmaker Ilmar Raag based An Estonian in Paris on the story of his mother, who came to the French capital in the 1990s to look after an elderly suicidal woman. Once in Paris, his mother, Anne, ended up remarrying at the age of 56, "happy like never before", Raag said.

Some 300 Estonians lived in Paris in the 1990s - now the population numbers around 1,000 and includes a large number of artists. "Serious Estonians leave for the US, Canada and Germany, where they can earn a lot of money. Artists come to Paris," said Raag.

Saturday's screening will also showcase Mobile Home, the first feature film by the young Belgian director Francois Pirot, pitched as the "first non-moving road trip movie in cinematic history".

In the film, childhood friends Simon and Julien drop everything to tour the world. But Julien meets Valerie and no longer wants to go, leaving Simon to travel solo. "I wanted to tell a story that is almost out of date nowadays, that of two slightly immature thirty-somethings," said Pirot.

"Simon and Julien do the trip in their heads, as soon as they decide to go away," said the actor Arthur Dupont, who plays Simon and is a friend in real life of the actor that plays Julien, Guillaume Gouix.

Both films have been selected for the festival's international competition and are vying, along with 17 others, for the Golden Leopard. The festival runs until August 11. * AFP