Sébastien Laudenbach Sébastien Laudenbach

Sébastien Laudenbach, director of The Girl Without Hands, is readying his latest feature. Prends garde à toi! (Be on Your Guard!) will adapt Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen and the eponymous novella by Prosper Mérimée on which it is based (the title comes from a famous refrain in the opera).

In Seville, beautiful, free-spirited Carmen encounters the controlling soldier Don José, as in the opera. But the film will focus on two teenagers who learn that Carmen is fated to be killed by a man who tries to make her fall in love with him. It is described as a “socially committed, feminist” retelling of the classic tale, aimed at eight-year-olds and up.

Prends garde à toi! is set up at Folivari (Pachamama, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales), the prominent French studio led by Didier and Damien Brunner. Pierre-Henri Leon is co-producing at France’s La Garde Montante. Enticingly, renowned French comics artist Cyril Pedrosa (Portugal) is onboard as art director.

Laudenbach has directed numerous shorts and one feature, 2016’s The Girl Without Hands, which won a prize at Annecy and a César nomination; Laudenbach animated the entire film alone in an improvisatory way. He is currently co-directing his second feature, Chicken for Linda!, with Chiara Malta. Production on the latter family comedy will begin in October at France’s Miyu.

Prends garde à toi! is a new step in my work, which should prove to be full of discoveries and new experiences,” said Laudenbach. “I wish, unlike for The Girl Without Hands, to be surrounded by an extensive team. This piece is meant to be collective, which will result in a very different creative process. We want to reach a large target.”

Variety first reported the news.