Palace Films announces Cannes acquisitions
Press Release from Palace Films
Following a strong and diverse showcase of international cinema presented across both the Official Selections and marché of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, leading Australian independent distributor Palace Films is pleased to announce the acquisition of a record 14 new titles.
Among the new projects secured for Australian and New Zealand distribution are the latest highly-anticipated offerings from a trio of heralded French auteurs: Olivier Assayas’ semi-autobiographical evocation of idealistic youth Something in the Air; Mia Hansen-Løve’s romantic drama Goodbye, First Love, and Philippe Lioret’s powerful and humanistic All Our Desires. Notably, Palace Films released the previous works of all three (Summer Hours, Fauther of my Children and Welcome), which collectively grossed over $2.3 million at the local box office.
Palace also secured two titles that were awarded major prizes in the Festival sidebars: Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize winner Elena from Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return), plus Bouli Lanners’ riotous crowd-pleasing fable from Directors’ Fortnight The Giants, which scooped both the Art Cinema Audience Prize and SACD Prize. Both films screened as the closing night titles of their respective sections, and both drew critical and audience raves.
Further acquisitions from France are the likely-to-be controversial drama Elles starring Academy Award-winner Juliette Binoche; The Look, an intimate and highly revealing documentary on the life of actress Charlotte Rampling; and romantic comedy Paris-Manhattan from debut director Sophie Lellouche, starring the gorgeous Alice Taglioni as a young woman whose choices in life and love are shaped by the philosophies of her favourite auteur: Woody Allen.
One of the most talked-about films of Un Certain Regard was Beauty, by director Oliver Hermanus. The first Afrikaans feature to receive Official Selection at Cannes, this brave and compelling film was awarded the Queer Palm of the 2011 festival, with its powerful depiction of a severely repressed businessman whose attraction to a young Adonis spirals completely out of control.
As co-presenters of the annual Lavazza Italian Film Festival with sister division Palace Cinemas, Cannes 2011 was a bumper year for Palace Films, where deals were finalised on four new titles, including: the forthcoming sequel to Marco Tullio Giordana’s internationally celebrated drama The Best of Youth, Longlasting Youth; the directorial debut of I Am Love actress Alice Rohrwacher Corpo Celeste (awarded the Citta Di Roma prize after its well-received Directors’ Fortnight premiere); Venice Film Festival selection Sorelle Mai by Marco Bellocchio; and recent winner of the Best Film and Best Screenplay at the 2011 ‘Italian Oscars’ (David Di Donatello awards), We Believed (Noi Credevamo). Deals are pending on a further four titles, and detailed information on the full Italian Film Festival selection will be announced shortly.
Finally, Palace acquired the gripping rights-of-passage drama King's of Devil Island, directed by Marius Holst and starring Stellan Skarsgård, which recently broke box office records in its native Norway and is considered an early candidate for next year’s Best Foreign Film awards race.
Palace Films General Manager Nicolas Whatson declared Cannes 2011 Palace’s best-ever showing at the festival, saying “It’s no secret we’re long-time French cinema aficionados, so to secure the new projects from the directors of three of our most recent successes is a huge thrill. But it’s equally exciting to present extraordinary new works from Italy, Russia, Belgium, South Africa and Scandinavia. We’re committed to supporting foreign language film distribution in Australia and New Zealand – I’m rapt with this selection, and can’t wait to share it with local audiences.”
Something in the Air (In pre-production)
Dir: Olivier Assayas
Cast: To be announced
Sales agent: MK2
At the beginning of the seventies Gilles, a high school student in Paris, is swept up in the political fever of the time. Yet his real dream is to paint and make films, something that his friends and even his girlfriend cannot understand. For them, politics is everything, the social struggle all-consuming. But Gilles gradually becomes more comfortable with his life choices, and learns to feel at ease in this new society.
Something in the Air is the second feature from Assayas to be acquired by Palace Films, having previously released his Cesar-nominated family drama Summer Hours in 2009.
Goodbye, First Love (In post-production)
Dir: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast: Lola Créton, Sebastian Urzendowsky
Sales agent: Films Distribution
An exploration of the power and repercussions of a passionate, youthful romance, the film follows teenagers Camille (Créton) and Sullivan (Urzendowsky) as they fall into the throes of first love, fall apart, and then meet again several years later.
Goodbye, First Love is Hansen-Løve’s third feature and the second to be acquired by Palace Films for Australian and New Zealand distribution, following the success of Father of My Children, which received the Special Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2009.
All Our Desires (In post-production)
Dir: Philippe Lioret
Cast: Marie Gillain, Vincent Lindon
Sales agent: Other Angle Films
Inspired by a true story, social drama All Our Desires centres on the relationship between Claire (Gillain), a young 30-year-old judge at Lyon magistrates’ court, and Stéphane (Lindon), a seasoned but disenchanted colleague who becomes drawn into her fight for justice for citizens impacted by unscrupulous practices of the financial services industry, despite battling incredible personal odds.
Lioret’s previous feature Welcome, also starring Vincent Lindon, was released by Palace Films in 2010.
Dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Cast: Andrey Smirnov, Nadezhda Markina
Sales agent: Pyramide
Middle-aged couple, Elena and Vladimir, come from different walks of society. He is a well-off businessman; she is a former medical worker, now a housewife. Having met late in life, each has children from previous marriages. Elena’s son is unemployed and constantly asking for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman whose contact with her father is irregular and strained. Their worlds rupture when a heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital and he makes a significant decision: his daughter will be the only heiress of his wealth. The shy and submissive Elena's hopes of helping her son and grandchildren secure a better life are crushed, triggering a desperate plan.
Elena is the highly anticipated third feature from Andrey Zvyagintsev to be released by Palace Films, after his acclaimed debut feature The Return and follow-up the Banishment.
Dir: Bouli Lanners
Cast: Zacharie Chasseriaud, Martin Nissen, Paul Bartel
Sales agent: Memento
It’s summertime. Brothers Zak (16) and Seth (“13 and three quarters”) have again been left to fend for themselves by their absentee single mother at the family’s cottage in the lush (but isolated) Luxembourg countryside. Just like every holiday before, they’ve resigned themselves to another shitty summer, but things shift dramatically after they strike up a friendship with local kid Danny, and their money runs out. Together, they begin what will become the most perilous – and greatest – journey of their lives.
Dir: Malgorzata Szumowska
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Anaïs Demoustier, Joanna Kulig
Sales agent: Memento
Anne (Binoche), a journalist for Elle Magazine, leads a perfectly bourgeois life in Paris, juggling family, work and leisure. Her research for an article on student prostitution cracks this serenity, as she meets Alicja (Kulig), a Polish student whose persona is troubling and seductive and Charlotte (Demoustier), a French woman, more reserved, who exercises her trade as part of a bitter social struggle. Little by little their stories lead Anne to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.
Dir: Angelina Maccarone
Cast: Charlotte Rampling
Sales agent: MK2
Part biographical documentary, part series of musings on life and art, Angelina Maccarone’s revealing portrait of renowned actress Charlotte Rampling is uncovered via a series of fascinating discussions between the subject and a collection of photographers, writers and filmmakers, including Peter Lindberg, Paul Auster and Jürgen Teller.
Dir: Sophie Lellouche
Cast: Alice Taglioni, Patrick Bruel
Sales agent: SND
Debut writer/director Sophie Lellouche’s romantic comedy revolves around a wistful thirty-something pharmacist (Alice Taglioni) who’s so obsessed with Woody Allen that she even prescribes DVDs of his films to her patients. Her increasingly concerned family finally steps in to cure her fixation in an age-old tradition: by setting her up with a fine French gentleman.
Country: South Africa
Dir: Oliver Hermanus
Cast: Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan
Sales agent: MK2
François (Deon Lotz) lives a skillfully controlled, well-managed life, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Father of two daughters and a devoted husband, he is wholly unprepared when a chance encounter unravels his clean and ordered existence. That trigger is Christian (Charlie Keegan): the 23-year-old son of a long lost friend, and the personification of a handsome young man in the prime of his life. François is so disarmed by the young man that it instantly ignites within him an all consuming infatuation and misplaced lust.
Despite his careful concealed self-disgust, François pours out the lost emotions he has despised all his life in what becomes a desperate attempt at taking from the world that which he has always secretly wanted: happiness.
Dir: Gianluca Maria Tavarelli
Cast: Paola Cortellesi, Antonia Liskova, Claudio Santamaria, Daniela Giordano
Sales agent: RAI
The sequel to Marco Tullio Giordano’s hugely successful 2003 masterpiece The Best of Youth (also scripted by Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli), Longlast Youth is an astonishing story of a contemporary Roman bourgeois family that drifts apart, shattered by betrayals and compromises. It is also the story of how the family is put back together again, thanks to the presence – and influence – of new lives.
Dir: Alice Rohrwacher
Cast: Yile Vianello, Salvatore Cantalupo, Pasqualina Scuncia
Sales agent: RAI
13 year old Marta is struggling to resettle to the south of Italy after ten years growing up in Switzerland. Bright-eyed and restless, she observes the sights, sounds and smells of the city but feels very much an outsider. Marta is about to undergo the rite of confirmation and she takes catechism but confronts the morality of the local Catholic community. From experiencing her period to making a bold decision to cut her hair, Marta begins to shape her own life for the first time since moving back to Italy.
Dir: Marco Bellocchio
Cast: Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Elena Bellocchio and Donatella Finocchiaro
Sales agent: Celluloid Dreams
Marco Bellocchio returns to his hometown Bobbio, and to the house in which he shot “Fists in the Pocket”, to narrate the story of the hopes, disappointments and yearnings of his own family. Bellocchio’s daughter Elena stars with other family members Maria Luisa, Letizia and Piergiorgio, as well as professional actors Donatella Finocchiaro and Alice Rohrwacher. A personal, intimate project shot over a period of ten years with evocative references to some of his most famous films.
Dir: Mario Martone
Cast: Luigi Lo Cascio, Valerio Binasco and Toni Servillo
Sales agent: RAI
Loosely based on real historical events and on Anna Banti’s eponymous novel, We Believed is an ambitious fresco about the Risorgimento wars for independence. Winner of the Best Film and Best Screenplay at the 2011 David Di Donatello Awards and imbued with the music of Verdi, Bellini and Rossini, it covers the ill-fated lives of three young conspirators from Campania, who are fighting for Italy’s unity.
King of Devil's Island
Dir: Marius Holst
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Benjamin Helstad
Sales agent: Films du Losange
Based on a true story, this thrilling tale is a timeless story of courage and strength, which also forms a chilling mediation on class, youth and the totalitarian rule of an unchecked state.
When rebellious young Erling (Benjamin Helstad) arrives at the prison-like Bastoy Boys Home in 1915 he is confronted with the cruel discipline, exhausting manual labor and collective punishment dolled out by the guards at the direction of a condescending school governor (Stellan Skarsgård). His thoughts immediately turn to plans of escape. But on witnessing the helplessness of his fellow inmates, and the unraveling of a dramatic series of events, Erling finds himself the unappointed leader in a uprising which tests how far he is willing to go to attain freedom for all.