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Playtime Boards Olivier Assayas’ ‘Suspended Time,’ a Lockdown Comedy Tipped for Berlinale Competition

Playtime has boarded Olivier Assayas’ “Suspended Time,” a COVID-era comedy about two couples spending lockdown together. Produced by Olivier Delbosc of Curiosa Films, and by Assayas’ own Vortex Sutra, the pandemic farce is hotly tipped to compete at the Berlin Film Festival next month.

Recent Assayas stalwart Vincent Macaigne leads the cast as Etienne, a filmmaker – and once again director stand-in – locked down with his music journalist brother, Paul (Micha Lescot, “Forever Young”), and locked in the family home with respective spouses, Morgane and Carole (Nora Hamzawi, Nine D’Urso).

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“Every room, every object, reminds them of their childhood, and the memories of [those] absent,” reads the synopsis. “This compels them to measure the distance that separates them from each other and the roots they share, those of their ground zero. As the world around them is becoming increasingly unsettling, unreality, and even a disturbing strangeness, invades their daily gestures and actions.”

The project furthers the director’s ongoing partnership with Macaigne and Hamzawi, who both starred in Assayas’ 2018 feature “Non-Fiction” as well as his 2022 limited series “Irma Vep,” while the subject and synopsis call to mind the filmmaker’s more wistful sibling dramas like “Summer Hours” and the uncanniness of “Personal Shopper.”

Ad Vitam Distribution will handle the film’s French release, while Playtime will presumably tout the project at this week’s Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris ahead of next month’s European Film Market launch.

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