“Knock” (original French title, “Knock ou le Triomphe de la médecine”) is a French satirical play written in 1923 by Jules Romains. It follows the ambitious Dr. Knock who arrives in the rural village of Saint-Maurice to succeed Dr. Parpalaid, an honorable man, but with very few patients, because the people of the district are all in excellent health. Realizing that he was duped by his predecessor before taking the job, Dr. Knock is able to convince the people of Saint-Maurice that they actually are not in good health, and are in fact in need of medical care, but don’t realize it.
So Dr. Knock begins offering free consultations to the townsfolk and diagnoses them with exotic illnesses in order to prescribe treatment. His practice thrives as the townspeople turn into hypochondriacs. Naturally, it doesn’t end well.
The play has been adapted for the screen a few times since its debut on the Paris stage, including a British television version for the BBC in 1966.
Now French superstar Omar Sy, who continues to split his time between Los Angeles and Paris, is starring in a new film adaptation of “Knock.” This version won’t deviate much from the original story, as Monsieur Sy stars as Dr. Knock, a doctor who convinces the healthy inhabitants of a small French village that they are suffering from previously undiagnosed illnesses, in an effort to make more money for himself.
French screenwriter, film and stage director, and playwright, Lorraine Lévy is directing the film, which is currently being shopped to international distributors at the ongoing European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, which kicked off yesterday, February 9, and runs through the 19th.
TF1 Studio, the newly branded, vertically integrated French film banner, is presenting “Knock” (or “Dr Knock”) at the EFM, where it has closed several pre-sales to key territories (according to Variety, who say it’s being described as an “upbeat,” “feel-good” crowd-pleaser) including Germany, Austria (Wild Bunch), Switzerland (Pathe), Spain (Filmax), Greece (Seven Group), Portugal (Lusomundo), Russia (Top Film), Israel (New Guys), Middle East (Empire), Latin America (California Filmes), and Hungary (Vertigo). No USA pick-up at this time, which isn’t a surprise. But the night is still young, so to speak.
In the meantime, Omar Sy continues to be one of the hardest working cross-continental actors today, starring in films both in his native France and in Hollywood-backed productions as well. He most recently appeared in Ron Howard’s “Inferno,” based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Dan Brown, which was released in the USA on October 28; and he’ll next be seen in French director Hugo Gélin’s “Two Is A Family,” which opened in France on December 7, but has yet to cross the Atlantic, westward.
A first image from “Knock” is at the top of this post.