Home Entertainment Cannes Competition Title ‘Grand Tour’ Debuts Trailer, Director Miguel Gomes’ Next Film...

Cannes Competition Title ‘Grand Tour’ Debuts Trailer, Director Miguel Gomes’ Next Film to Be ‘Savagery’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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Variety has been granted exclusive access to the trailer (below) for Portuguese director Miguel Gomes‘ “Grand Tour,” which will have its world premiere in Cannes Film Festival’s Competition section. Variety can also exclusively reveal that that distribution on “Grand Tour” will be handled in France by Tandem, and in Italy by Lucky Red, and that Gomes’ next film will be “Savagery.”

“Grand Tour” kicks off in 1917 in Burma. It centers on Edward, a civil servant for the British Empire, who runs away from his fiancée Molly the day she arrives to get married. During his travels, however, panic gives way to melancholy. Contemplating the emptiness of his existence, the cowardly Edward wonders what has become of Molly… Determined to get married and amused by Edward’s move, Molly follows his trail on this Asian grand tour.

The film stars Gonçalo Waddington and Crista Alfaiate, and the cast also includes Cláudio da Silva and Lang Khê Tran. It is being sold by The Match Factory.

“Grand Tour” is produced by Uma Pedra No Sapato (Portugal) in co-production with Vivo Film (Italy), Shellac Sud (France) and Cinema Defacto (France), in association with The Match Factory (Germany), Rediance (China) and Creatps Inc. (Japan), and with the participation of ZDF/ARTE and RTP.

Crista Alfaiate stars as Molly in “Grand Tour.”
Courtesy of Uma Pedra No Sapato, Vivo Film, Shellac Sud, Cinema Defacto

Gomes was previously in Cannes in 2015 with “Arabian Nights” and in 2021 with “The Tsugua Diaries.” His 2012 film “Tabu” played at the Berlinale.

Speaking to Variety, the film’s producer Filipa Reis explains how the project came together.

It was over dinner with Reis that Gomes first presented his idea for the film, in which narrative sequences shot in a studio would be intercut with footage of contemporary Asia. “The idea was… I don’t know… very appealing and charming,” says Reis, who was a co-producer on “The Tsugua Diaries.” Gomes then asked her to produce it.

The plan was for Gomes to take a small documentary-style crew to seven Asian countries – Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Japan and China – shooting in 16mm so “that we could build this archive and then to write the script according to what was found,” Reis says.

“Grand Tour” incorporates contemporary footage shot in Asia by Miguel Gomes.
Courtesy of Uma Pedra No Sapato, Vivo Film, Shellac Sud, Cinema Defacto

They started pre-production in 2019, and Gomes then commenced his own grand tour of Asia, beginning in 2020. The shoot was interrupted by COVID, just as they were about to travel by boat to Shanghai, and then a local crew finished the shoot in China at the start of 2022, with Gomes directing remotely from Portugal. Gomes then completed the script and Reis submitted applications for funding in Portugal, Italy and France, as well as from the Eurimages program.

Once those funds were in place, Gomes shot the narrative sequences in studios in Portugal and Italy in early 2023.

Reis says it was a “challenge” to do the Asia trip without a script, adding “it’s not as it’s meant to be in the industry, but it was also very appealing.” She adds that it required “a risk” to be taken to shoot the archive footage before applying to the production funds.

Asked how working with Gomes compares with working other directors, she says: “He’s very unique. And I think to work with him, you really have to be very confident about what he’s doing, because it can be a proposal that’s a bit outside the box compared with the way you are used to doing things, and the way the funds and the industry thinks things are supposed to be done.”

During the studio shoot they had “links to some rough edit archive footage, so that when you read the script, you could understand at least how [the narrative footage] crossed over with the archive,” she says. The narrative sequences are in Portuguese, except for one character who speaks in French. The archive footage is in the language of the country that the crew were shooting in.

Although the story takes place in Asia during a time of imperial rule in many countries colonialism isn’t the theme, Reis says, in contrast to “Tabu.” “I would say that it’s something new. Of course, ‘Tabu’ is a great film, but I think this one will be surprising,” she says, enigmatically.

As to the tone of “Grand Tour,” Reis says that it contains both comedy and tragedy, “but it is also melancholic, and it is courageous.” She adds: “I think it has a lot of emotional elements for us to make a connection with it.”

Crista Alfaiate and Lang Khe Tran in “Grand Tour.”
Courtesy of Uma Pedra No Sapato, Vivo Film, Shellac Sud, Cinema Defacto

The film was finished in October, and shown to Cannes in November. A world premiere at Cannes was always “Plan A,” Reis says, adding: “I feel as a producer that it’s where the film is supposed to be, and where Miguel is supposed to be.”

At present no preview screenings are planned, although that may change, and Gomes isn’t doing press interviews before the world premiere. “We would like it if the film was discovered by everyone at the same time,” Reis says. “I’m a bit anxious to see how it will be received, and we are very curious about that. So it would be nice if we could make a surprise and share our enthusiasm and our surprise with the audience.”

Reis says that her next project as a producer will be Gomes’ Brazilian-set film “Savagery,” which will be co-produced by Tatiana Leite in Brazil. Further details about the project will be released at a later date.

Gomes had been developing “Savagery” prior to shooting “Grand Tour,” but put it on ice due to the pandemic and the difficult environment for filmmakers in Brazil during the rule of former president Jair Bolsonaro. “We think that with the new government in Brazil, and with this selection [in Cannes] of ‘Grand Tour’ now is the moment for us to go forward with it,” she says.