MADRID – Pacting with Wild Bunch, Enrique Gonzalez-Kuhn’s Madrid-based Caramel Films has acquired Spanish rights to Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Assassin,” Cannes ‘ best director winner, one of the best reviewed of its 2015 competition titles and Variety’s favorite – like many others’ – for Sunday’s Palme d’Or.
Buys come as Caramel topper Enrique Gonzalez-Kuhn has teamed with Laurent Danielou to launch Loco Films, a new Paris-based sales company unveiled at Cannes focusing on world cinema and TV series.
In other buys Caramel has also tied down Iranian Ida Pananhandeh’s “Nahid,” joint-winner on Saturday of a Un Certain Regard Special Prize for a Promising Future, and Naomi Kawase’s Un Certain Regard opener “An,” one of five Official Selection films sold by Paris-based MK 2.
From 1994’s “The Puppetmasters” through 2007’s “Flight of the Red Balloon,” Hou’s films have punched €33,000-€47,000 ($36,300-$51,700) in Spain. A switch of gears, in Hou’s own words, his first film in eight years, and a Well Go USA Ent. pick-up for North America, “with a Stateside release already secured and passionate critical response assured, it should emerge as one of Hou’s more commercially successful and internationally well-traveled efforts,” Justin Chang wrote in his Variety review.
Meanwhile, Kawase’s “An” is a soft-centered ode to the virtues of patience, tolerance and bean-filled pancakes that is easily her most accessible film to date,” wrote Variety’s Guy Lodge.
Caramel has also acquired for Spain Italian Paolo Virzi’s latest, the Bac Films-sold dramedy “Like Crazy” reteaming Virzi with “Human Capital’s” Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, and also staring Micaela Ramazzotti.
Founded by Enrique Gonzalez-Kuhn, the longtime head of acquisitions at Alta Films, Caramel’s films range widely. I “simply buy what I like,” said Gonzalez-Kuhn.
Often auteur films which are a reflection of society, and slightly broader in audience potential than high-art fare – think Italian Robereto Anro’s “Long Live Freedom,” and the upcoming “The Second Mother,” from Brazil’s Anna Muylaert, which Gonzalez-Kuhn first saw at Locarno’s Carte Blanche, some titles have scored noteworthy grosses in Spain for such a tough arthouse market, such as Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s “The Salt of the Earth,” which ounched €730,362 in Spain, ($803, 398).
Buying films from two women directors, Gonzalez-Kuhn is highly enthusiastic about the Noori Pictures-sold “Nahid,” Iranian Panahandeh’s debut feature, with “A Separation’s” co-star Sareh Bayat, about a woman’s confrontation with the bureaucratic labyrinth of divorce and re-marriage in Iran. “Panahandeh can be the new bright talent of Iranian cinema,” he said.