PARIS– French major Gaumont has closed key sales deals on “Diplomacy,”  Volker Schlondorff’s WWII drama that’s set to open in the Berlinale’s Special Gala section.

In the run up to Berlin, “Diplomacy,” which centers on the real-life story of a German officer who saved Paris from destruction, has sold to Brazil (Providence), Spain (A Contracorriente), Greece (Odeon), Benelux (Lumiere), Portugal (Lusomundo), Former Yugoslavia (Cinemania) and Middle East (Four Star). It was previously snatched up by Koch Media for Germany and German-speaking territories, JMH for Switzerland and Metropole for Canada.

Yohann Comte, Gaumont’s deputy head of sales, said the company was also in negotiations to close Italy.

Taking place on the day Paris was liberated by the Allies, “Diplomacy” chronicles the tense confrontation between the Swedish ambassador (Andre Dussollier, “Same Old Song”) and the German military governor of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup, “A Prophet”). The latter was ordered by Adolf Hitler to blow up the city, but he chose to ignore the Fuhrer’s command after being convinced by the ambassador.

“Buyers who picked up ‘Diplomacy’ found that it was fascinating story played by two actors of top of their art, with an elegant ‘mise-en-scene’ which captivates audiences from beginning to end. Plus, it has a clear pitch and a easily-identifiable target audience — and Paris as a supporting actress!” said Comte. 

“Diplomacy”‘s gala screening will take place on Feb. 12 at the Zoo Palast.

Pic is produced by Marc de Bayser and Frank Le Wita at Gaul’s Film Oblige. Gaumont co-produced and will distribute in France on March 5.

A critically-hailed German helmer, Schlondorff has presented three films in competition at Berlin: “The Legend of Rita” in 2000, which won a Blue Angel nod, “The Handmaid Tale” in 1990 and “Germany in Autumn” in 1978.