SAN SEBASTIAN – The Match Factory has rolled out sales over most of the world on Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix,” which played Monday in main competition at San Sebastian. It was one the most early awaited titles to segue to the Spanish fest after its world premiere as a Special Presentation at Toronto.
Among new territory deals, “Phoenix” has closed Japan (New Select), Australia/New Zealand (Madman), Canada (Filmswelike), Brazil (Imovision), and Argentina (Alfa Films). Also sold: Austria (Stadtkino), Switzerland (Look Now! Distribution), Greece (Seven), Portugal (Leopardo Filmes), and Taiwan (Swallow Wings).
IFC Films/Sundance Selects acquired the U.S., Soda Pictures U.K. France (Diaphana), Italy (BIM Distribuzione), Spain (Golem) and Benelux (A-Film) figure among other pre-sales.
There is now strong interest from further territories, particularly in Latin America , where a deal was closed with Cine Colombia for Colombia in the immediate aftermath of the San Sebastian screening, The Match Factory reported Tuesday. That leaves only a few larger territories left to sell.
Set like “Barbara” in German’s none-too-distant past, though it exchanges the German Democratic Republic of the 1980s for shattered post-World War II Berlin – and, like “Barbara,” starring Nina Hoss, a Petzold regular – “Phoenix” turns on a concentration camp survivor who returns to Berlin to find out whether her husband betrayed her or truly loves her still.
But in one of several major twists, her husband has presumed her dead: Since she has undergone major facial surgery after a war wound, he fails to recognize her.
“Phoenix” attracted rave reviews from some critics at Toronto who placed it in a lineage of questioning identity-themed films running from “Vertigo” down to “The Skin I Live In”; as San Sebastian hits mid-stride, “Phoenix” currently ranks behind Spanish favorite “Marshland” and Michael Roskam’s “Drop” in a Spanish critics’ poll.
“I am delighted to work again with Christian Petzold and Schramm Film producers Florian Koerner von Gustorf and Michael Weber on such a fascinating movie as ‘Phoenix.’ Christian’s special visual style and outstanding sense of storytelling makes us very proud to represent his new film,” Michael Weber (no relation), The Match Factory’s managing director, said at San Sebastian.
The Match Factory’s has a long relationship with Petzold which takes in selling “Barbara,” “Jerichow” and “Yella.” “Phoenix” will play at the BFI London Film Festival.