Berlin: Fortissimo’s ‘Songs’ Heard by Diaphana

France’s Diaphana Films has bought French distribution rights to “Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” a U.S. drama that earned high praise after its debut at the recent Sundance film festival.

The film, by first-time director Chloe Zhao, is produced by Forest Whitaker’s Significant Prods. and is represented by Hong Kong- and Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, which picked it up at the Park City fest.

“Songs” is a low-key portrait of life on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Beijing-born Zhao directed from her own script.

Fortissimo is selling the picture at Berlin’s European Film Market, along with two other new pickups that play in different sections of the Berlinale: “Breathe Umphefumlo” and “Sergio Herman: F***ing Perfect.”

“Breathe” is a musical feature based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Boheme,” but with songs in Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa. It is written and directed by Mark Dornford-May, who previously won the Golden Bear in 2005 with “U-Carmen.” “Breathe” plays as a Berlinale Special screening.

“Sergio Herman, F***ing Perfect,” a documentary by Willemiek Kluijfhout about an obsessive Dutch chef, has its world premiere in Berlin’s Culinary Cinema section. It follows the ups and downs of Herman, who is one of only two cooks ever to obtain a 20/20 score from the Gault et Millau food guide. But after reaching the top with his Oud Sluis restaurant, Herman decides that he has sacrificed too much and closes down the world famous eatery.

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