PARIS– Winning one of Cannes’ significant bidding wars, Bac Films and Distrib Films have co-acquired French distribution rights to Scandinavian helmer Ruben Ostlund’s “Force Majeure,” a festival hit that won Un Certain Regard’s Jury prize. 

Sold by Philippe Bober’s Coproduction Office, “Force Majeure” (“Turist”) is a tragicomic tale of a Swedish family weathering a crisis while on vacation at a ski resort. A sharp character study, “Force Majeure” starts out with a spectacular avalanche scene which reveals the family man’s cowardice (or self-preservation instincts) as he flees, leaving his wife and children behind. 

A buzzed-about and provocative Swedish helmer, Ostlund previously directed  “Involuntary,” which premiered in Un Certain Regard in 2008, and was back in Cannes in 2011 with the controversial drama “Play” that screened at Directors Fortnight. 

Coproduction Office fielded multiple offers from a wide range of French distributors. Bac Films and Distrib Films eventually snatched up the critically-aclaimed pic, spending over €100K ($136K), according to industry sources. 

“‘Force Majeure’ is a hilarious and ultimately very moving study of human instincts. I think the film will crossover beyond arthouse audiences since it is very engaging and has audiences ponder a very simple question: What would you do in that situation?” said Mathieu Robinet, Bac Films’ managing director.  

François Scippa Kohn, Distrib Films’ managing director, added that “Force Majeure could, thanks to its amazing mix of social analysis, humor and gorgeous cinematography, strike a large art-house audience in a way that can only happen in France.”

Variety’s Peter Debruge gave the film a strong review, describing it as “Michael Haneke meets Scenes From a Marriage,” as well as “visually stunning even in its most banal moments and emotionally perceptive almost to a fault.”

Since being tapped managing director of Bac Films, Robinet has scored various high-profile acquisitions, including Sundance hit “Infinitely Polar Bear” with Mark Ruffalo. He’s also picked the next films by German director Wim Wenders and Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

Bac’s Cannes slate boasted Thomas Cailley’s romantic comedy  “Love At First Fight,” which won a record three Directors’ Fortnight prizes: the Art Cinema Award, the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers’ SACD Prize and the Europa Cinemas Label. It also nabbed the FIPRESCI nod for best film.