Celine Sallette’s Debut ‘Niki’ About French-American Artist Niki de Saint-Phalle Boarded by Pulsar Content (EXCLUSIVE)

Pulsar Content has acquired “Niki,” a film about the famous French-American artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, for international sales. The Paris-based banner will introduce the period project to buyers at the Cannes market with exclusive first stills.

“Niki” marks the feature debut of popular French actor Céline Sallette and stars Charlotte Le Bon (“The Walk” “Saint-Laurent”) as de Saint-Phalle.

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Le Bon recently made her feature debut with “Falcon Lake” — which bowed at Cannes last year — and previously starred in Robert Zemeckis’s “The Walk,” as well as Terry George’s “The Promise” and Jalil Lespert’s “Saint-Laurent.” Le Bon stars in “Niki” opposite Damien Bonnard (“Les Misérables).

The movie will portray Saint-Phalle from the age of 23, when she’s still a model and an aspiring actor who is married and has a two-year-old daughter, Laura. Together, they flee the U.S. during the oppressive McCarthy era and come to France, where they experience a short-lived euphoria. Soon, distant and frightening memories begin to emerge in Niki’s mind. Her vocation as an artist will be her salvation.

Saint-Phalle was born in Neuilly but spent most of her childhood in New York. One year after she got married at the age of 18, she suffered from severe depression that led her to be institutionalized in psychiatry. A few years later, she met the sculptor Jean Tinguely, who became her husband in the 70s, and she became part of the “Nouveau Realisme” movement alongside Klein, Deschamps and Christo. Her latest works include the “Tarot Garden in Toscana” and Queen Califaʼs “Magical Circle in California.” When she turned 64, she revealed in her autobiography, “My Secret” that she had been victim of incest and was raped by her father at the age of 11. She died in 2002 in California.

Sallette is one of France’s best known actor who broke through in Bertrand Bonello’s “House of Tolerance,” which competed at Cannes in 2011, and also starred in Audrey Diwan’s “Losing It.” Salette made her directorial debut with a short film “L’Arche des canopées,” which premiered in Cannes.

“We are thrilled to accompany Céline Sallette on her first feature and start this collaboration with both Cinéfrance Studios and Wild Bunch Productions,” said Pulsar Content in a statement. “Niki de Saint-Phalle is an internationally renowned artist mostly for her ‘Tirs’ paintings and ‘Nanas” sculptures.”

The sales company said the “film will allow us to discover the childhood traumas sheʼs battled all her life and which led her to be this great artist.”

“Niki” is currently being shot and set to be completed by the end of 2023. It will be released in France by Wild Bunch distribution.

Pulsar Content’s current slate includes “The Opera,” the adaptation of Orpheus and Eurydice as an on-screen opera musical, as well as the female soccer biopic “Marinette.”

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