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GIFFONI EXPERIENCE 2014 - 18.27 July

Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2014


It’s the end of the school year: the long-awaited holidays have finally arrived. Little Nicolas, his parents and granny hit the road heading for the sea, and move into the Beau-Rivage Hotel. At the beach, Nicolas wastes little time making new friends: Blaise, who lives there; Fructueux, who eats anything; Djodjo, who talks funny because he’s English; Crépin, the constant crybaby; Côme, who always wants to be right and is annoying. Nicolas also gets to know Isabelle, a little girl who follows him everywhere. Nicolas panics: he suspects the grown-ups want that he and Isabelle get married. Luckily his pals are there to help him, and to cause trouble. Between the beach, the hotel and the forest, with his friends, his family, the beach attendant and the swimming coach, Nicolas is really going to enjoy a holiday to remember.

Category Out of competition
Section Premiere
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 97’
Production Year 2014
Nationality France
Directed by Laurent Tirard
Screenplay Laurent Tirard, Grégoire Vigneron
In collaboration with Jaco Van Dormael
Based on the book “Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas” (ed. italiana Donzelli)
by René Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé
Director of photography Denis Rouden
Editor Valérie Deseine
Production Design Françoise Dupertuis
Costume Design Pierre-Jean Larroque
Sound Eric Devulder
Music Eric Neveux
Main cast Mathéo Boisselier (Nicolas/Nicholas)
Valérie Lemercier (la madre di Nicolas/Nicholas’ mother)
Kad Merad (il padre di Nicolas/Nicholas’ father)
Dominique Lavanant (Mémé)
François-Xavier Demaison (Le Bouillon)
Bouli Lanners (M. Bernique)
Produced by Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier

Regista Nicholas-on-HolidayLaurent Tirard

Born 1967, France. He studied film making at New York University. He worked as a script-reader for Warner Bros and as a journalist for the French Film Magazine “Studio”. In 1997 he left “Studio” and began writing scripts for film and TV. In 2004 he directed his first feature film, THE STORY OF MY LIFE (MENSONGES ET TRAHISONS ET PLUS SI AFFINITÉS...). Later he directed the feature films MOLIÈRE (2007), LITTLE NICHOLAS (LE PETIT NICOLAS, 2009), ASTÉRIX AND OBÉLIX: GOD SAVE BRITANNIA (ASTÉRIX & OBÉLIX: AU SERVICE DE SA MAJESTÉ, 2012).








Director’s statement

“Nicolas is a series, so we thought about a follow-up early on. It became obvious after the success of the first film. The holiday theme reminded me of the films of my childhood such as MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY (LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT) or HOLIDAY HOTEL (L’HÔTEL DE LA PLAGE); I thought this theme would allow us to move into a completely different world, evoking the carefree feeling of the holidays of the ’50s and ’60s. It is precisely this aspect, this change of world and tone, which made me want to do it again. Making the first movie was a powerful emotional experience that left a strong memory: working with children was magical. I was torn between the dread of potential disappointment and the powerful attraction of doing it again. And I made the right choice: it has been another great joy”.
“As a child reading the books I identified strongly with Nicolas. I used to compare myself to this kid who looks at life in a quirky way, through the prism of his imagination”.
“For the first film Grégoire Vigneron (co-writer) and I felt the weight of responsibility to write an adaptation that had to be as faithful as possible to the original. This time we had less material, as only one book tells the story of the summer Nicolas spends on holiday. That allowed us greater freedom. Having shown our abilities, gained the trust of Anne Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé and the public, and having made the character our own, we felt we could be freer and more inventive”.
“We had to avoid the succession of little stories of the books and find a single plot with one main theme. But by telling several stories in parallel – Nicolas and Isabelle, their parents, Nicolas’ father’s relationship with his boss – we were able to include more narrative threads than in first film”.
“In LITTLE NICHOLAS (LE PETIT NICOLAS) a lot of the anecdotes came straight from my own childhood. In this second film I preferred to insert my cinematic references: Tati for one but also nods to Kubrick, Bardot, Fellini, Hitchcock… in particular PSYCHO for the shower scene. The film is a sort of homage to the kind of cinema I grew up with and that nurtured me”.
“I saw about fifteen kids for the lead but it didn’t take long. Casting children is a very different exercise: since they are not aware of what’s at stake, they are not under too much pressure and are more spontaneous. It’s a bit like bringing friends together one by one so they can play. I always try to make it as enjoyable as possible, with games and improvisations. I have a lot of fun doing it and I am always full of ideas”.
“Unlike adults, children mustn’t intellectualize a scene: if they assimilate too much they won’t be able to be spontaneous and natural. So you have to try to communicate with as few words as possible. Since everything you say is important, you have to find whatever little trick will help the kid keep his intuitive side so that it all remains a game”.
“I wrote the part of the Italian producer for Luca Zingaretti, whom I loved directing in ASTÉRIX AND OBÉLIX: GOD SAVE BRITANNIA (ASTÉRIX & OBÉLIX: AU SERVICE DE SA MAJESTÉ). In Italy he’s known for acting in very dark films but I thought he had great comic potential”.
“Having used black and red as the main colours for the first film, we made a point of pushing yellow and blue to the fore in this one. I didn’t have to give too many indications: I’ve worked with the same crew, the same production designer since MOLIÈRE. It saves a lot of time: they know my tastes in colour, materials and design… we understand each other very quickly”.



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