Cannes: France’s Wide Adds ‘La Vanite,’ ‘Loev,’ ‘Manina’

Sales agent hits Cannes with big new slate, four Cannes selections

Loic Magneron’s Wide Management, a Paris-based sales-production-distribution shingle, will hit Cannes with one title in Official Selection, “Panama,” and a heavily refreshed 17-title sales slate, including three unannounced acquisitions: Lionel Baier’s “La Vanite,” “Loev” from Sudhanshu Saria, and Willy Rozier’s “Manina.”

Fruit of Wide’s drive into new directors from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, seen in another Wide pick-up, “Barbarians,” first-time Serb director Pavle Vuckovic’s “Panama” portrays Serbia’s young generation, and how social media, pornography and vanity can obstruct the true emotions of love.

Playing as a Special Screening, it turns on a young man, Jovan, who dedicates his life to clubbing and casual sex until he meets Maja, a girl who posts home video clips on the Internet and place-marks on the Internet. One day he learns Maja has moved to Panama and he realizes, shocked, that what he had with Maja was love.

Produced by Belgrade’s Collapse Films, “’Panama’ depicts coming of age through a destructive love affair,” said director Vuckovic. “It portrays the fear, pain and joy that appear when two lovers, who are spiritually, emotionally and physically bound – suppress their emotions,” he added.

“La Vanite” is one of two Wide films selected for Cannes parallel section ACID (Association for Independent Cinema and its Distribution).

Six of the 15 first-run movies on Wide’s slate are first-time feature, including Paris-born Jordan Goldnadel’s “Happy,” a coming of age romance dramedy. Movies derive from France, Switzerland and Sweden, but also India, Yemen, Serbia, Bulgaria, Germany and the U.K. Despite their diverse origins, few could be described as straight arthouse.

A case in point: Lionel Baier’s euthanasia comedy “La Vanite.” Scheduled for a September bow in France (Happiness Films) and Switzerland (Frenetic), and helmed by established but versatile Swiss auteur Baier (“Stupid Boy,” “Longwave”), “Vanite” stars Patrick Lapp, Carmen Maura and Ivan Georgiev. Lead producing is Bande a Parte, the Lausanne-based company Baier set up with fellow filmmakers Ursula Meier, Jean-Stephane Bron and Frederic Mermoud.

“With La Vanite, I believe that Lionel has came back to his roots,” said Magneron, Wide having sold successfully Baier’s 2004’s fiction feature debut, “Stupid Boy.” “Lionel is a strong auteur with a personal style and works very well with his actors.”

Shot in English and Hindi, and produced by Germany-India joint venture Bombay Berlin Film Production, “Loev,” the feature debut of Sudhanshu Saria (aka Suds), weighs in as a slice of life friendship dramedy set in Mumbai.

To be presented in a re-mastered version, 1953’s “Manina,” a Corsica-set romantic adventure, marked Brigitte Bardot’s first femme lead role as a wide-eyed innocent. Her skimpy bikini set her on the road to stardom.

“Wide’s slate this year is really eclectic, with brand new films with strong humanistic stories and also a few older films like ‘My Skinny Sister’ and ‘The Lesson,’ which were so successful. We should close the few territories left in Europe to make a Media Distribution grouping with enough European territories for beginning of July,” Magneron said.

Four Wide movies make Cannes’ cut: “Panama,” “La Vanite,” “My Skinny Sister” and “Cosmodrama.”

Met by large applause when it world premiered at Sweden’s Goteborg Fest, Swede Sanna Lenken’s debut “My Skinny Sister,” the story of two siblings, one with an eating disorder, went on to win Goteborg’s Audience Award for best Nordic film and a Berlinale Crystal Bear. Pic plays Cannes Ecrans Juniors.

A second ACID player, which screened at January’s Rotterdam Fest, the slightly absurdist, low-fi sci-fi “Cosmodrama” from France’s Philippe Fernandez (“A Faint Trembling of the Landscape”), has seven French astronauts wakeup on a spaceship, muse on the meaning of life.

Starring Josh O’Connor, Hannah Arterton, Rea Mole,

Among Wide highlights: the San Sebastian Kutxa Best New Director winner “The Lesson,” from Kristina Grozeva and Peter Valchanov,one of the best reviewed of Wide films in recent years; Dubai Fest winner “I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced,” a social issue meller turning on a Yemen child bride; and “Anton Checkov – 1890,” the last film from France’s Rene Feret, who died April 28. Per reviewers, it attempts something of the subtle subtexts of Chekhov himself, and largely pulls it off.

“Wide’s slate this year is really eclectic, with brand new films with strong humanistic stories and also a few older films like ‘My Skinny Sister’ and ‘The Lesson,’ which were so successful. We should close the few territories left in Europe to make a Media Distribution grouping with enough European territories for beginning of July,” Magneron said.

He added: “René Feret was like the Last of the Mohicans: He produced, directed and distributed his films in-house. I think that “Anton Checkov” could have the same success and appeal to audiences as “Nannerl, Mozart’s Sister,” which Wide also sold.

 

 

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