Damiens stars in Coen brothers-style comedy

PARIS — Gallic mini-major Bac Films has taken French rights to crime comedy “Borderline,” the next production from Gaul’s Quad Films.

Paris-based Quad leapt to prominence teaming last year with Focus Features Intl. to produce romantic comedy “Heartbreaker,” with Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. Sold by Kinology, the pic proved a runaway hit at January’s Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous.

Bac Films Intl. has also taken foreign rights outside France to “Borderline.”

The pic turns on an honest but lowflying suburban lawyer, who stumbles across a suitcase of cocaine and a cell phone with non-stop calls from eager clients.

Co-produced by France’s Chaocorp, pic is the feature film debut of France’s Alexandre Coffre, who wrote the screenplay.

French-language “Borderline” is based on Matthew Kneale’s short story “Powder.” The film transfers the action from London to Paris and gives it a slightly lighter tone.

“We just kept the pitch of the short story. The film’s more like a Coen brothers comedy, but not as dark as ‘Fargo,’ ” Quad producer Yann Zenou said.

Francois Damiens (“Little Nicholas”) plays the lawyer, Pascale Arbillot (“Let It Rain”) his lovely wife, Gilles Cohen (“A Prophet”) a drug gang honcho.

Pic is produced by Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Bruno Chiche and Zenou for Quad.

“Borderline” has pulled down prebuys from France-based paybox Canal Plus and TPS, and Euros 445,000 ($628,340) from the Ile de France regional film fund. Quad puts the budget at $5.2 million. Pic rolled Jan. 2.

Bac’s Berlin sales slate includes Isabelle Czajka’s twentysomething drama “Living on Love Alone,” Jesper Moller and Sinem Sakaoglu’s stop motion pic “The Sandman,” a big Christmas 2010 release in France, which is co-produced by Bac parent Millimages, and femme-skewed “Hidden Diary.”

Directed by Julie Lopes-Curval, a Cannes Golden Camera-winner in 2002 for “Seaside,” women’s story “Diary” stars Catherine Deneuve, Marie-Josee Croze and Marina Hands (“Lady Chatterley”). It grossed $1.4 million in France from a 142-print release.

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