‘Bunny’ finally finds hutch in U.S.

Sevigny scene still the talk of the town

Exactly a year after it became the scandale of the Cannes Film Festival, Vincent Gallo’s “The Brown Bunny” has finally landed a North American distribution deal with Gotham-based specialty operator Wellspring.

Premiered in competition last year to a loudly derisive response, Gallo’s sophomore feature, shorn of a half-hour, subsequently went on to bow at Toronto and other fall festivals to considerably more favorable reviews. The edited and now final version won the Fipresci international critics prize at the 2003 Viennale fest.

The tragic love story stars Gallo as a motorcycle racer traveling across America by van for a race in California and wooing every woman he encounters on the way in an attempt to erase painful memories.

Co-star Chloe Sevigny features in the film’s infamous final scene, one of the most explicit fellatio depictions ever to figure outside a porn movie.

“Vincent Gallo has made a hauntingly beautiful film with one of the frankest portrayals of sex I have ever seen in the cinema, and a truly magnificent and fearless performance by the most interesting actress in American movies, Chloe Sevigny,” said Wellspring head of theatrical distribution Ryan Werner.

Gallo was director, producer, writer, cinematographer, production designer and editor of the film, in addition to starring.

Wellspring is expecting the U.S. release to spark the same kind of debate engendered by the Cannes premiere. Distrib will bow the film Aug. 27 in New York and Los Angeles with national rollout to follow.

Long-brewing deal was finalized by Wellspring’s head of acquisitions Marie Therese Guirgis and Werner with Gallo on behalf of production company Kinetique.

In Cannes this year, Wellspring has director Jonathan Caouette’s “Tarnation,” which has been one of the hits of the Directors Fortnight.