Italo distrib takes local rights to Rodriguez pic

In the Venice festival’s first announced deal, Lucky Red has snapped up Italian rights to Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete.”

With Sony rolling out the pic in many international territories but not Italy, a deal with one of Italy’s premier distribution companies was perhaps inevitable. “Machete,” one of the fest’s titles with the biggest B.O. potential, hit Venice Wednesday playing out of competition at a midnight screening.

Toplining Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo as a machete-wielding Mexican ex-Federale who slices and dices through much of the Texas population on a rampage of revenge and redemption, “Machete” created a new sub-genre, Rodriguez claimed at his press conference Wednesday.

“There have been blaxploitation films. So I thought, Why not a Mex-ploitation film?”

According to Rodriguez, pic’s principal idea is one of Mexican empowerment: to create a Mexican action hero.

“If you’re going to explode stereotypes about Mexicans, it’s best to do it with a sense of humor,” said Jessica Alba, who plays an immigration officer in the film.

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