"APOCRYPHAL", THE LATEST MANZOR’S NOVEL. A THRILLER IN THE 1ST CENTURY
Golgotha. 30 AD.
In the driving rain, three crucified men fight so that each new breath will not be their last. The downpour causes the last few bystanders to scatter. All but one.
A seven-year-old boy who has escaped adult supervision. He never takes his eyes off the man nailed to the central cross. The child does not cry. His expression even betrays resentment towards this redeemer who gave everything to others and so little to him.
His name is David of Nazareth. And this is his story.
Against this epic and ultra-realistic backdrop, "APOCRYPHAL" blends fiction and reconstitution, giving life to characters who were until now only historical figures.
"DEADLY GAMES" NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE AT THE AUSTIN FANTASTIC FEST
DEADLY GAMES (3615 CODE PÈRE NOËL) is the terror version of HOME ALONE. A 9-year old kid in his house, tormented by a demented Santa Claus, fights for his survival by setting traps. Christmas will never be the same again.
I was 15 years old when DEADLY GAMES (3615 CODE PÈRE NOËL) was released in theaters and on that day I saw the film three times in a row at the local cinema. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing : a genre film where a kid turns into a warrior to save himself from an intruder dressed as Santa. 3615 had a huge impact on a whole generation of filmmakers in Europe because René Manzor, the director, broke a taboo. Christmas is a holy event - you don’t degrade it and you definitely don’t turn it into a nightmare. Manzor’s Santa Claus, although not necessarily a bad guy at the start, turns into a boogeyman who robs a 9-year old of his childhood.
The Minitel, a basic version of the internet, was invented in France in the ‘80s and allowed access to commercial and private addresses, along with chat rooms. The code to access some of these services was “3615” and then the name of the company. The Minitel died in 2012, replaced by the internet as we know it, but while it lasted it was an awesome tool. Yet, as always with technology, it can be misused. Manzor had the perfect evil tool and made a brilliant job turning it into a kid’s worst nightmare.
Thomas is a 9-year-old whose mom is the CEO of a toy store. The lucky kid gets to try all the toys and transforms his home into a battlefield where he chases his dog JR around and treats his grandpa as a prisoner. With his mom not coming home for Christmas night, he logs onto the Minitel and starts chatting with Santa, inviting him to visit - with fatal consequences.
I have to mention that this film is a family collaboration. Manzor’s son plays Thomas, and his two brothers score and produce the film. One thing’s for sure : producing such a film in France in the ‘80s was certainly not an easy feat, and we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to present a French-German restoration and the North American premiere of this French gem to you, dear Fantastic Fest audience, made possible by Le Chat qui Fume in France and Camera Obscura in Germany. (ANNICK MAHNERT)
With Director René Manzor in Attendance.
LAURENCE FISHBURNE COPRODUCES "DESTINATION MARS"
MakingProd which first mooted Rene Manzor’s ambitious drama series "Destination Mars" last November is now teamed with Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions, Russia’s Star Media and Poland’s Cynergy Films as co-producers.
The 10-part development project, especially timely given the release of Ridley Scott’s Martian this weekend, follows the daily struggles of a group of international astronauts after they crash land on the red planet. Alone, facing the unknown and struggling with even basic communication between themselves, the survivors face their worst fears ; discovering that Mars may not be as dead as they believe. The story also follows their families back on Earth as they try to understand what’s happening, whilst uncovering the conspiracy behind the crash landing.
(Deadline October 2, 2015)
BUF PARTNERS WITH RENÉ MANZOR TO CO-DEVELOP OKSA, THE TV SERIES
The special effects creator Pierre Buffin and his company BUF (Avatar, Matrix, Harry Potter) partners with René Manzor to develop "OKSA, the TV Series" an international series based on Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf’s saga (XO Editions).
First step, the production of a clip based on René Manzor’s bible, setting the look and feel of the series in order to convince future producers.
"HE WHOSE NAME IS NO MORE" ("Celui dont le Nom n’est plus") : the new thriller by René Manzor.
Publication date : May 26th, 2014
Published in French by Editions Kero and in eBook format by Editions de l’épée
Dawn breaks over London. A man’s body lies on a table - minus its internal organs. The murderer is an old lady with a spotless reputation. What could have led her to kill a man she raised as her own son ? It makes no sense - and yet everything points to her as the culprit.
The next day, the same thing happens again : a man is killed in a similar fashion by the person who loves him more than anyone else. And so it goes on, with a new victim every twenty-four hours. All the murders are linked by a common thread : disoriented suspects and epitaphs in letters of blood :
"May these sacrifices bring peace to the soul of He whose Name is no more".
Amid these inexplicable murders, three destinies become interwoven. McKenna is an Irishman : a veteran detective with Scotland Yard, father of four boys, widowed a year ago and still grief-stricken. Dahlia Rhymes is an American criminologist who specializes in ritual and satanic murders, assigned to fathom out what makes these killers tick. Nils Blake is a semi-retired barrister who is willing to return to court to defend these unlikely perpetrators. Three destinies - and three lives irreversibly changed.
THE TALE IS PACKED WITH BREATH-TAKING SUSPENSE, LARGER-THAN-LIFE CHARACTERS AND A COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED FINAL TWIST. ON THE BORDERLINE BETWEEN LOVE AND DEATH, THIS THRILLER WILL LEAVE ITS MARK ON YOU.
A SEQUEL TO "LE PASSAGE"
"L’Express" magazine (French equivalent to "Newsweek") gently but persistently pushed René Manzor to imagine what would be the first minutes of a sequel to his debut movie "LE PASSAGE" ... Read at the following address :
"LES ÂMES RIVALES" : Ranks # 3 on amazon.fr E-Book Best Seller list
January 1st-October 13 2012
"LES ÂMES RIVALES" : a first novel by René Manzor.
The ultimate duel between two rival souls in pursuit of the same woman
Release date : May 14th, 2012
published in French by Editions Kero and in eBook format by Editions de l’épée
Louisiana, 1975. In a dark church, a little girl begs a priest for help : a strange man who claims to be her friend has been following her. But she is the only one who can see him and no one believes her ! Her name is Cassandre and she is terrified, but the priest is at a loss for words. The little girl runs away. Ten years later, in New York City, when Cassandre falls madly in love her past catches up with her : the phantom that has haunted her since childhood will never accept the existence of a rival...
Born with a passion for storytelling, René Manzor started out in the cinema and television. After making two films in France, he was spotted by Steven Spielberg’s producer who invited him to Los Angeles, where George Lucas hired him to make two episodes of the prestigious The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles series. His Hollywood career was off to a start and he would stay there for ten years. This novel, which René has been working on for over two years, reveals a lively writing style that possesses great sensitivity and a mysterious universe. Emotion and thrills guaranteed.
"A captivating story that never falls into clichés and skillfully juggles paradoxical situations ; the suspense never slows down and the reader is left breathless. The brilliant literary début of a talented filmmaker."
Alain Schlockoff, L’Écran Fantastique
LE FIGARO’s REVIEW
A First Supernatural Thriller.
RENÉ MANZOR : French filmmaker who worked for years in Hollywood offers us a story of love beyond death.
Once you start this novel, you’ll never put it down. No need to look hard for words to express our enthusiasm for Les Ames Rivales, the book is simply fabulous. In every aspect. The story’s twists and turns will leave you breathless ; the descriptions (Brooklyn, New Orleans, Manhattan, seasons, neighborhoods) are outstanding ; the dialogues subtly speak of sentiments yet convey humor ; and the characters are psychologically solid and complex (even though they change identities and bodies !). An unbelievable story and yet you believe it - and that’s where the author’s genius lies. Don’t forget, this might be René Manzor’s first novel, but he is a proven master in genre cinema and television.
An amnesic lawyer
Les Âmes Rivales tells an impossible love story which takes place beyond time - and beyond death. There is Jahal, an Amerindian shaman who is in love with the stunning Cassandre-Onienta. There is Father Arthur, the confidant. And there is Thomas Wells. Wells is a young, single father and philosophy professor who teaches in a derelict neighborhood (the one he grew up in). He is trying to raise his daughter Melly, your run-of-the-mill teenager, as best he can. Twenty-seven years later, he is a famous congressman whose wife tries to kill him, which only enhances his political image. And lastly, there is a lawyer, a wonder boy who suffers from amnesia. As he goes deeper into the case, he will discover clues about his own past, and his own destiny. Amidst this backdrop, Manzor’s brilliantly manipulated intrigue is what stands out. He uses the supernatural, flashbacks, and changes of angle with brio.
It is impossible to resume this tale which is worthy of The Sixth Sense, Night Shyalaman’s fabulous film. With this novel, René Manzor proves that he plays in the same league with the great Anglo-Saxon thriller novel writers.
Mohammed Aïssaoui, 14 juin 2012
"LES ÂMES RIVALES" : an interview with René Manzor
"Les Âmes rivales" is your first novel, but you’ve written (and directed) a number of movies. How did the transition from the camera to literature come about ?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always written. In a sense, a film is the result of a series of writings ; the script is only the first part. The shooting, directing, editing and mixing of a film are all a series of "rewrites" that are put off until later at the moment of the script’s conception. Whereas with a novel, nothing can be put off. Everything has to be said. The plot and dialogues are only tip of the iceberg ; the characters’ frames of mind and innermost thoughts are revealed to the reader. When you write for the camera, you have to be objective. When you write a novel, subjectivity wins out.
Exactly. And so what pushed you to write Les Âmes rivales as a novel rather than a film ?
Ever since I was a small child, I’ve had the same recurring dream, with an abandoned amusement park along a boardwalk, a Victorian manor eaten away by climbing vines, and a suspension bridge in the snow. For years I wondered what these settings devoid of human life, these snatches of stories wanted from me. But try as I might to ignore them by creating other images with the camera, the dream was still there. And whenever fatigue kicked in, it would resurface. It is my wife who finally freed me from my obsession by convincing me that the story was perhaps meant to be written without a camera, with words as my only ally. And two years later, here’s the book !
At the onset of the project, did you seek to position yourself in any specific literary movement or genre ?
No. I simply continued exploring my favorite themes. "MYSTERY" has always been my favorite word. Death, a beyond you can come back from, and defiance of the inexplicable are themes that are present in almost all of my work. And this novel is no exception. But what interests me most about literature is that it allows you to explore the story’s characters and their emotions in greater depth, and examine their reactions in the face of an intrigue that baffles them, as well as the choices they will have to make, even if it means standing in the way of their own destinies. Les Âmes rivales is supernatural thriller, but more importantly, it is the story of an impossible love that questions whether or not sentiments have an afterlife. Two men have battled for the love of the same woman since the dawn of time. One of them is a ghost. Does part of us survive after death ? And if yes, what does this part become ? Does it retain a memory of the feelings it had, or does it have to start all over from scratch ?
Let’s go back to your "past life" in the cinema. Your first film, The Passage, was a great success in France. Were you expecting that ?
The success of "The Passage" took many people by surprise : a first film with Alain Delon, where a 25-year-old kid gets the chance to prove himself, it sounds like a fairytale... And yet it took me six years of pounding the pavement to get this first film made. I finished writing it when I was 19, and from 19 to 25, I knocked on doors, went to see people, harassed them, and lay siege to production companies. It was like an assault course... So no, I didn’t expect this success, but I firmly believed in the story’s legitimacy.
After that you left for the United States, where you worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. How did you land there ?
It all started with my second film, “Père Noel.” I had written a dark story about a child’s encounter with a psychopathological Santa Claus, and thanks to the success of "The Passage", I was able to make it. The film became a cult movie ; it won many awards and was sold all over the world, except in France. I couldn’t get it released in my own country... The closed circle of French cinema wouldn’t open its doors to me. However, Kathleen Kennedy, Spielberg’s producer, spotted this off-the-wall film. She invited me to Hollywood, where I was asked to do the remake. The American dream has never been my dream. I simply wanted to work, and in France, I didn’t have this possibility. In the United States, it was the very opposite. I had proposals, work, and I encountered enthusiasm. I stayed there for ten years. During that time, I made movies for television and the cinema, and I continued writing a great deal, for myself and others.
Do you have any writing "masters," or in any case people who have influenced you ?
Of course. British novelists such as Daphné du Maurier, French ones such as Pierre Boulle and Barjavel, and Americans such as Cornell Woolrich, Theodore Sturgeon and my very favorite, Pat Conroy. Generally speaking, these writers combine supernatural mystery and well-thought-out plots with characters who ooze humanity, all in a definitely literary style.
Is this novel a turning point for you ? Will you try to manage the two activities, filmmaker and writer, at once ?
I would like to. Some writers dream of making movies. I always dreamed of writing novels. It’s the most wonderful way to tell a story. The most direct. There is not the slightest barrier between you and the reader. You don’t need to make the slightest concession. The reader is your accomplice. Not a spectator, rather a spect’actor. By lending you his imagination, he co-directs your story with you.
"TOTAL BLACKOUT" Review
The making of honest movies has become so rare that René Manzor’s ensemble film Total Blackout surely is a "must-see". It delivers more kinetic excitement, more emotionally charged scenes than all the brain-dead, visually incoherent wrecking derbies hogging mall screens. Partly it’s a matter of subject. This is not your silly 2012-type disaster flick. The movie focuses on the destiny of ten ordinary people in the midst of a global power failure. It is a compelling, ultimately hopeful mediation on the accidents of chance that make up our lives. Manzor’s direction gets every detail of human nuance in the close-up confrontation of man and fate, while keeping us alert to the volatile wraparound reality of an ineluctably hostile environment. This is exemplary moviemaking. You don’t need CGI to enjoy it, just a human eye. This smart, provocative film has no aliens or cool spaceships, and the effects (mostly consisting of pyrotechnics) aren’t all that special ; instead, the material is character- and story-driven, centering on excellent, multilayered performances.
—Terry Young, Jan 15, 2010
They say we can survive three minutes without air, three days without water.
How long can we live without power ?
LABYRINTH banks Swank. Oscar winner to star in French thriller redo
(VARIETY) (July 26, 2006)
Hilary Swank will star in a remake of the 2003 French thriller written and directed by Rene Manzor « DEDALES » aka "Labyrinth"
The psychological thriller revolves around a mental patient with multiple personalities who holds clues to the whereabouts of a serial killer.
René Manzor will write the script.
MANZOR’s revamped version of « ALICE NEVERS » well ahead of PRISON BREAK !
On thursday prime time, while M6 was launching Prison Break season 3, Alice Nevers, le juge est une femme was a ratings winner for TF1 with the two episodes directed by René Manzor, pulling in 6,898 million viewers.
Marine Delterme returning in the title role as an examining magistrate attracted a 28,1% share between 9pm and 11pm, according to audience ratings.
(Toute la Télé.com May 30, 2008)
May 29 2008, 20h50 on TF1- "Une Vie dans l’Ombre"
April 24, 2008, 21h40 on TF1- "A Coeur et à Sang"
October 25, 2007, 21h40 on TF1- "Cas d’Ecole"
October 18, 2007, 21h40 on TF1- "Liquidation Totale"