Palm print on ‘Evil’

U.S. rights to Chabrol's latest pic secured

Palm Pictures has acquired all U.S. rights to Gallic veteran Claude Chabrol’s sly tale of guilt, culpability and family secrets, “The Flower of Evil,” continuing the distrib’s acquisitive streak with French features.

World-premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in January and since released in France to critical and commercial success, Chabrol’s latest feature is set in the Bordeaux region and centers on a respected upper middle class family whose perfect image is shattered when murder occurs.

Baye, Magimel in cast

The multi-generational ensemble cast includes Nathalie Baye (“Catch Me if You Can”) and Benoit Magimel, who won the Cannes fest best actor award in 2001 for “The Piano Teacher,” as well as Suzanne Flor, Bernard Le Coq, Melanie Douty and the director’s son Thomas Chabrol.

“Palm Pictures has been interested in this film since Berlin,” said head of acquisitions and production David Koh and head of theatrical distribution Ryan Werner. “This is an extremely pleasurable and funny film that again shows that Chabrol is a master of social analysis. We are thrilled to bring his genius to an American audience.”

Koh and Werner negotiated the deal with Florence Stern, head of sales for Paris-based producer MK2. Palm plans a fall release followed by DVD/video launch next year. The acquisition follows Palm’s buy of Claude Berri’s French box office smash “The Housekeeper” and Olivier Assayas’ recut corporate cyber thriller “demonlover.”

Block tapped

In related news, Palm has appointed Neal Block as manager of theatrical distribution, reporting to Werner; and has upped Nicolette Aizenberg from film division administrator to publicity and marketing manager.

Block formerly was distribution coordinator for Independent Distribution Partners (IDP), working on such releases as Peter Sollett’s “Raising Victor Vargas,” Henry Bean’s “The Believer” and Carlos Carrera’s “El Crimen del Padre Amaro.” Block previously worked with Werner in distribution at Shooting Gallery.

Palm Pictures is Island Records founder Chris Blackwell’s audio/visual entertainment company, which produces, acquires and distributes independent film and music projects with a particular focus on DVD.

Upcoming releases include cult artist Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster” cycle, Danny and Oxide Pang’s Hong Kong supernatural thriller “The Eye,” and John Walters’ Sundance award-winning art docu “How to Draw a Bunny.”

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