BERLIN– Chicago-based distributor Music Box Films has acquired all U.S. rights to Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” (formerly “Agnus Dei”), which world premiered at Sundance.
Set in Poland in December 1945, “The Innocents” stars Lou de Laâge (“Breathe”) as Mathilde, a young French Red Cross doctor based in Warsaw who crosses paths with a nun seeking her help. Entering into a cloistered Benedictine convent, she soon discovers that the entire order has been profoundly traumatized and several other nuns are pregnant from a series of brutal sexual assaults by the “liberating” Red Army. Although Mathilde is a non-believer, she becomes the nuns’ only hope.
“We were riveted by Anne’s richly humanistic, deeply moving, beautifully shot new film,” says Edward Arentz, Music Box managing director. “It was one of our primary acquisition targets leading into Sundance, and it’s a pleasure to be working with Anne, Mandarin Films and Films Distribution again.”
Music Box is planning a U.S. theatrical release in July.
One of France’s most prominent filmmakers, Fontaine is best known for directing “Coco Before Chanel” with Audrey Tautou and most recently “Gemma Bovery” with Gemma Arterton and Fabrice Luchini. She’s also directed “Two Mothers,” with Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, which premiered at Sundance.
Deal was negotiated at the Sundance Film Festival by Music Box Films’ president William Schopf and managing partner Nicolas Brigaud-Robert at Films Distribution.
“We are now regular partners with Music Box. We shared great successes with them like ‘Monsieur Lazhar.’ and ‘Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem’ and also ‘Francofonia.’ There is no doubt that Music Box is a major player today in the U.S. market for the type of international high-quality movies that we sell,” says Nicolas Brigaud-Robert.
“The Innocents” is produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer of Mandarin Films. Mars Distribution will handle the French bow on Feb. 10.
Music Box’s distribution slate includes Pablo Larraín’s Golden-Globe nominated “The Club” and Spirit-nommed “Meru,” directed by Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin.