‘Barbarian’ at the gates of Miramax

Pic won awards for actress, screenplay at Cannes

CANNES — Miramax Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “The Barbarian Invasions,” a French-language tragicomedy from Montreal-based filmmaker Denys Arcand. Pricetag was said to be about $1.5 million for the pic, which premiered in competition last week at the Cannes Film Festival and was popular with both critics and audiences.

Story follows an estranged son who reunites with his divorced parents when his father faces a life-threatening illness. Along the way, he turns the hospital’s system upside-down in order to bring his father anything and anyone that might make him feel better in his final days.

In Cannes, pic received awards for actress (Marie-Josee Croze) and screenplay (Arcand). The film was produced by Denise Robert and Daniel Louis, from Cinemaginaire, and co-produced by Pyramide’s Fabienne Vonier.

Sequel to ‘Decline’

“Barbarian Invasions” is a sequel to 1986 arthouse success “The Decline of the American Empire.” Two of the leads in “Barbarian Invasions,” as well as several supporting actors, portrayed the same characters in a previous Arcand title.

“Denys Arcand is a great filmmaker whose work stood out high above the rest of the films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival,” Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said. “The film is full of humanity and shows a fascinating perspective on friendship and family. We are pleased to be in business with Denys, Denise and Daniel.”

U.K.-based veep of acquisitions Maeva Gatineau and exec VP of acquisitions and co-productions Agnes Mentre brought the film into Miramax.

Repping “Barbarian Invasions” was Eric Lagesse of French sales agency Flach Pyramide Intl. Charles Layton, executive vice president, office of the co-chairman, and Mentre negotiated on behalf of Miramax.

Miramax’s only fest buy

“Barbarian” was the only buy for Miramax out of the Cannes festival and one of very few at the just-wrapped event.

Samuel Goldwyn acquired the Toni Colette starrer “Japanese Story,” which screened in Un Certain Regard, while Lions Gate Films bought another competition title, Lars Von Trier’s “Dogville.”

Miramax made another purchase on the Croisette in Dutch helmer Ben Sombogaart’s WWII drama “Twin Sisters,” but that buy came out of the Cannes market.

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