China nabs French-Arab war pic ‘Glory’

Distrib CGH makes revenue share deal for pic

In one of the Market’s more unusual deals France’s Films Distribution has pre-sold Arabic and French-lingo war pic “Days of Glory” to — of all places — China.

Reckoned a strong contender for a slot in the upcoming Cannes, $17 million “Glory” stars a bevy of France’s biggest North African-origin stars including Jamel Debbouze and Roschdy Zem.

Rachid Bouchareb-helmed film tells the neglected story of North Africans who fought alongside French soldiers in World War II.

Arabic chatter on the battlefield will undoubtedly cause aficionados of old English-lingo war pics to do a double-take.

But what are the Chinese going to make of it?

While “Glory” has a clear political dimension in Gaul, home to five million Muslims, “to the Chinese buyers it is simply a big-budget war film with high production values,” Film Distribution’s topper Francois Yon said on Wednesday.

He added: “Because of China’s censorship restrictions on anything involving religion, politics and sex there’s a lot of material on the market they can’t touch. But ‘Days of Glory’ doesn’t contain anything sensitive for the Chinese.”

Interestingly, the deal will rep Films Distribution’s first foray into theatrical.

The film sold directly to Chinese distribber CGH, rather than to an intermediary, under a 80%-20% revenue share deal.

Film Distribution has sold a handful of other titles to China recently, including Oscar- nommed “Merry Christmas.”

“China is starting to fill the Asian gap left by Korea,” Yon said.

Outfit’s other deals include the sale of Forum-screened gay murder docu “Beyond Hatred” to U.S. distribber First Run.

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