Mads Mikkelsen, last year’s Cannes best actor winner – and TV’s Hannibal – plays the titular Michael Kohlhaas in the Arnaud des Pallières drama. Chicago-based Music Box Films has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights in what is the first North American deal on a Competition title since the fest started on Wednesday (Worldwview picked up Jimmy P. ahead of the proceedings). The film is freely adapted from the 1811 Heinrich von Kleist novel which served as the inspiration for E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. It’s being sold by longtime Michael Haneke collaborator Les Films du Losange, whose chief, Margaret Ménégoz, produced Amour. The story follows a prosperous and honest 16th century horse merchant who falls victim to an injustice and raises an army to restore his rights. Produced by Les Films d’Ici (Waltz With Bashir), the movie sold ahead of its first market screening. This is des Pallières’ first film to secure U.S. distribution. The cast also includes Bruno Ganz, Sergi Lopez and Holy Motors‘ Dennis Lavant. The deal was negotiated by Music Box consultant James Brown and Films du Losange’s Agathe Valentin. Music Box plans a 4th quarter 2013 theatrical release.
Here’s another title hailing from the super-hot Nordic territories, and from sales outfit TrustNordisk which had a sizzling Berlin EFM with several of its films. The company will handle pre-sales in Cannes on English-language Danish western The Salvation, which has just cast up and started shooting in Johannesburg. Joining the previously announced Mads Mikkelsen are his Casino Royale co-star Eva Green along with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce, Eric Cantona (Looking For Eric), Mikael Persbrandt (The Hobbit 2 & 3), Douglas Henshall (The Eagle) and Michael Raymond-James (Jack Reacher).
Fear Me Not and The King Is Alive director Kristian Levring is helming. (He was one of the signatories of the Dogme95 manifesto started by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg to create films based on traditional values without elaborate effects.) Susanne Bier collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen penned the script that pays tribute to classic Westerns, but also is inspired by the Nordic sagas. The story is set in 1870s America where a settler kills his family’s murderer and in so doing unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader. Betrayed by his corrupt and cowardly community, the peaceful pioneer must turn vengeful hunter, slay the outlaws and cleanse the town’s black heart.
Mads Mikkelsen, hot off winning the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for The Hunt and scoring the villain role in Thor 2, has been cast as the title character in NBC’s upcoming drama …
It’s all over now, and really all over at Cannes for the American contingent of five competition entries plus English-language films like Walter Salles’ On The Road and David Cronenberg’s not-well-received Robert Pattinson starrer Cosmopolis. The Cannes Jury led by italian actor-director Nanni Moretti has spoken and Americans hoping for a repeat of last year when the single U.S. entry, The Tree Of Life actually won the Palme d’Or, are crying in their french onion soup. At the post-awards press conference American jury member Alexander Payne was asked if he thought the ‘Americannes’ snub said anything about the overall quality of the country’s movies. He snapped back that one festival does not speak for the state of cinema in any one country.
The closest thing to a film American audiences won’t need subtitles for is Ken Loach’s wonderful The Angels’ Share which is set in Glasgow and features accents so thick the filmmaker decided to add English subtitles. It is also the only comedy to take a prize as the jury mainly favored some of the more dour, serious-minded films in the race. Cannes juries often do that. Backstage Loach was elegant when he said his film shows solidarity with all those in Europe who resist austerity and believe “another world, a better world is possible”.
There’s also one head-scratcher just about every year and this year it’s a beheaded scratcher, Post Tenebras Lux from Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas in which a man rather remarkably manages to twist off his head using only his hands. There’s also a pointless orgy scene thrown in but even its defenders are hard-pressed to say what this film is about. So of course they gave him a major prize, Best Director. At the press conference at least two of the jurors strongly defended the film. They were so convincing they had me believing that I must have seen a different film.