Chicago-based Music Box Films has acquired all U.S. rights to Martin Provost’s “Seraphine,” the biopic of the difficult and ultimately tragic life of French painter Seraphine de Senlis.
Music Box plans to release the pic in U.S. theaters this summer.
Provost’s film begins with Senlis, who lived 1864-1942, an untutored housemaid and artist, painting country scenes with driven obsession.
The film records her discovery by art collector William Unde; how she achieved modest fame as part of France’s “naif” movement; and her descent into madness, which saw her living out her last years in an institution for the insane.
An out-and-out art film dominated by the performance of Yolande Moreau as the awkward, always near-crazed Senlis, “Seraphine” has emerged as one of France’s art film standouts of the past year.
Grossing $4 million in France, its Stateside deal follows sales to the U.K. (Metrodome), Australia (Rialto) and Spain (Golem), among multiple territories.
“Seraphine” is nominated for four Lumiere Awards — France’s equivalent of the Golden Globes — while Moreau is being talked up as a shoo-in for a Cesar nom.
Music Box’s “Seraphine” pickup follows on from its success with another French film, Guillaume Canet’s mystery thriller “Tell No One,” which grossed $6.1 million at the U.S. box office.