China Surprises With ‘Nightingale’ Entry Into Oscar Race

BUSAN — “The Nightingale” (“Le Promeneur d’Oiseau”), a French-Chinese co-production has been selected as China’s contender for the foreign-language Oscar race.

The surprise choice is directed by veteran French helmer Philippe Muyl. Front-runners had previously appeared to be Zhang Yimou’s Busan gala film “Coming Home,” and Diao Yinan’s “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” which was the Golden Bear winner in Berlin.

“Nightingale” is an odd-couple road movie about an old man and his spoiled grand-daughter. It is also a remake of the director’s own 2002 film “The Butterfly.”

Production was by Lightshades Film, Stellar Mega Films, Envision Films and Pan Eurasia Films. International sales are handled by France’s Kinology.

“We’ve had the information confirmed from the producer now,” Gaelle Mareschi, international sales and acquisitions executive for Kinology told Variety in Busan. “The film is charming and works irrespective of language. It makes you really want to visit the Chinese countryside.”

“Nightingale” is only the second to be made using the bilateral co-production treaty between France and China.

“It has sold quite nicely worldwide. The selection by China may now help us achieve in the States what we have long wanted for the film,” Mareschi said.

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