Obviously Xavier Giannoli‘s Marguerite, a French-Belgian-Czech co-production based on the life of notoriously mediocre opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins, has beaten the Meryl Streep-Stephen Frears version of the same story to the punch. The Giannoli film will play at the Telluride Film Festival right after its big debut at the Venice Film Festival, having shot in the Czech Republic between September and November of last year. The Frears-Streep version only began shooting in London last May, and will most likely open in the fall of ’16.
Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins.
Both versions have been described as comedy-dramas, which seems logical. The Wiki page for the Giannoli version is said to be “loosely” based on the life of notoriously mediocre opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. The Frears-Streep version, which is being produced and distributed by Pathe, is directly based on the Jenkins saga. What’s the difference? The Streep factor, of course. Many more people (in this country and in England, at least) are going to sit up in their seats and pay close attention when Florence Foster Jenkins opens next year than the Giannoli version, I can tell you that.
But the Giannoli version is said to be pretty good (at least according to Europe-based critics who’ve recently seen it). And the Giannoli will benefit from a feeling of freshness (something the Frears-Streep can’t hope to deliver). And it will presumably enjoy a hearty reception in Venice and Telluride and probably open commercially before the Frears-Streep.