Magnolia puckers up for ‘Lips’ rights

Pic to be released in summer

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights, excluding French-speaking Canada, to “Read My Lips,” directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Vincent Cassel (“Brotherhood of the Wolf”) and Emmanuelle Devos.

Pic, to be released this summer, tells story of an unlikely alliance between a downtrodden secretary and an ex-con who are drawn into each other’s worlds.

“I’m incredibly excited about ‘Read My Lips,’ ” said Magnolia Pictures prexy Eamonn Bowles, who negotiated the deal along with VP of acquisitions and distribution Ryan Werner. “This is a fantastic thriller …I think both audiences and critics will flip for it.”

Pathe’s head of sales Pascal Diot negotiated the pact on behalf of the pic’s producers Philipe Carcassonne and Jean-Louis Livi.

During the past year, “Read My Lips” won three Cesars, including actress for Devos, screenplay and sound.

Pic premiered at the 2001 Toronto Intl. Film Festival and most recently screened in the Panorama section of the 2002 Berlin Intl. Film Festival. It was the opening-night pic of the Gotham series Rendez-vous with French Cinema, which ended Sunday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.

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