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Focus leads sales safari for Benigni’s ‘Snow’ job

Tragicomedy set against the backdrop of Iraq War

LONDON — Focus Features is selling international rights for Roberto Benigni’s latest movie, “The Tiger and the Snow.”

Pic just finished shooting in Italy and Tunisia and will be released in Italy Oct. 14 via RAI Cinema. Focus will handle sales outside Italy, with North American rights yet to be sold.

Written and directed by Benigni, who also stars alongside his wife and producer, Nicoletta Braschi, the audacious tragicomedy is set against the backdrop of the Iraq War.

Benigni plays to type as Attilio, an irrepressible poet whose unrequited love for Violetta (Braschi) leads him into ludicrous situations in a desperate bid to win her over.

Jean Reno and Emilia Fox co-star.

Focus negotiated the international sales deal with Braschi and New York attorney Sue Bodine.

Benigni’s Oscar-winning “Life Is Beautiful,” distributed in the U.S. by Miramax, grossed $139 million worldwide. His follow-up, “Pinocchio,” was a box-office smash in Italy, but flopped outside, where it was sold by Miramax Intl.

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