Artsploitation Acquires French Thriller ‘Fever’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Murder story loosely based on Leopold and Loeb true-life crime which anticipated Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope”

Continuing its focus on unsettling and unconventional films from all over the world, as well as its recent bevy of French-language films pickups, Raymond Murray’s Artsploitation Films has acquired all North America rights to “Fever,” a Gallic riff on the Leopold and Loeb true-life murder scandal that features admired performances by France’s Martin Loisillon (“Mysteries of Lisbon,” “Something in the Air”) and Pierre Moure (“Paris”).

Bowing internationally at the 2014 Montreal World Film Festival, “Fever” won Loisillon best actor at the Mumbai Film Festival. It is currently screening at Cinequest, where it has its American premiere.

The debut of photographer-actor Raphael Neal, and distantly based on Leopold and Loeb by way of the same-titled novel from France’s Leslie Kaplan, “Fever” was produced by Jean-Philippe Rouxel, Neal’s partner at Paris-based Strutt Films, and sold by Samuel Blanc at France’s Jour2Fete.

Artsploitation plans a theatrical release in the summer, followed by the film’s DVD and VOD bow this fall.

Popular on Variety

“Fever” centers on two rich teenage philosophy students who, on a lark, kill a young woman they’ve just met. There is no motive. As time wears on, they realize they may have got away with murder. But the crime begins to affect the young men in startlingly different ways as they throw themselves into studying World War II – the figure of collaborator Maurice Papon, Hannah Arendt on Adolf Eichmann  — in a attempt to sublimate their crime.

French singer Camille, whose “Le Fil” won the 2006 Victoires de la musique Revelation of the Year award and its 2009 Female Group/Artist of the Year plaudit, composed “Fever’s” soundtrack.

“’Fever’ is a startling film,” said Artsploitation president Raymond Murray. “Rather than go for a standard and violent tale of amoral teens who kill, director Neal goes instead for a subtle psychological approach, one that produces an intensely disquieting but exhilarating film experience.”

Artspolitation’s recent French pickups for North America include Romain Basset’s “Horsehead,” sold by Reel Suspects, and Jean-François Davy’s “Transgression,” from Wide Management.

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