'Here Below' preems at Paris Rendez-Vous

Pyramide Films has acquired French rights to William Friedkin’s Venice Competition hit “Killer Joe.”

Sold by Voltage Pictures, which also produced with ANA Media, “Joe” stars Matthew McConaughey as a Dallas detective hired by a drug dealer (Emile Hirsch) to kill his mother for a $50,000 insurance policy.

A black comedy crime thriller with memorable violence, “Joe” scored top marks in a Venice critics’ poll. Liddell Entertainment has U.S. distrib rights.

For French critics and auds, “Joe” has many things going for it: A Hollywood director whose ability to make multi-prized films within the Hollywood system — “The Exorcist,” “The French Connection” — ranks him as a serious auteur; plus film noir overtones, which appeal to a country with its own film noir tradition.

” ‘Joe’ is a bit out-there. Some scenes can achieve cult-status. French critics should love it,” said Pyramide prexy Eric Lagesse.

One of France’s top arthouse labels, Pyramide has also acquired French distribution and foreign rights to “Here Below,” from Jean-Pierre Denis, whose latest movie, “Murderous Maids,” played Berlin’s Panorama.

Preeming at the 14th Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous, which begins Wednesday, “Below,” based on true events, toplines fast-rising actress Celine Sallette (“House of Tolerance,” “Rust and Bone”) as a nun who falls for a French Resistance fighter.

The story of “increasingly desperate, destructive love,” in Denis’ words, bows on around 50 prints in France Jan. 18.

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