Music Box Films has acquired North American rights to “The Club,” a Berlin 2015 Grand Jury Prize winner, which also marks the latest film from Chile’s Pablo Larrain, one of the most talked about of young Latin American filmmakers.
Deal was struck with Larrain’s long-term sales agent, Peter Danner at Funny Balloons, which has also confirmed a slew of sales on “The Club,” a step in Larrain’s confirmation at the forefront of Latin American cinema. Larrain will go into production in June on “Neruda,” co-starring Garcia Bernal, one of the biggest and highest-profile of projects currently coming out of Latin America.
In his first three major films – “Tony Manero,” “Post Mortem” and Gael Garcia Bernal starrer “No” – Larrain took on the impact – direct, indirect, political, social and cultural – of Pinochet’s dictatorship.
With ‘No,’ ‘The Club’ has been Larrain’s best-received film by critics – Variety’s Scott Foundas called it “an original and brilliantly acted chamber drama” and the industry at large.
“The Club,” as its title implies, turns to the group dynamics of four men who live together in a secluded house in a small, seaside town. Each of them has been sent to this place to purge sins from the past. Their routine is disrupted by the arrival of a fifth man, a newly disgraced companion, bringing with him the past they thought they had left behind. Lending “The Club” immediate social point, the five men are priests.
“I was raised in Catholic schools. Of the priests I met, some have remained honorable, respectable. Some are in jail or have legal issues. And some are lost. This is about the lost ones,” said Pablo Larrain, adding that “The Club” was about “love, passion, redemption.”
Chile’s Guillermo Calderon, a playwright, and writer-film critic Daniel Villalobos penned the original screenplay with Larrain.
An ensemble piece, “El Club” features distinguished Chilean actors who have already acted in Pablo Larrain movies or Fabula productions: Alfredo Castro, the star of “Tony Manero” and “Post Mortem” and a co-star in “No,” Antonia Zegers, the femme lead of “No” and “Post mortem,” Jaime Vadell (“No”), Alejandro Goic (“Gloria”) and Francisco Reyes (“Profugos”).
Produced by Juan de Dios Larrain at Chile’s Fabula, “The Club” has now been licensed to over 25 territories, including Benelux (Cineart), U.K. (Network), France (Wild Bunch), Germany (Piff Medien), Italy (Bolero), Portugal (Alambique) and Scandinavia & Baltics (NonStop.
Other territories sold: Spain (Caramel), ex-Yugoslavia (Demiurg), Poland (Aurora), Greece (Strada), Turkey (Fabula), Taiwan (FlashForward), Brazil (Imovision), Colombia (Babilla Cine) and Central America (Palmera). Mexico, Japan and Korea are currently in negotiation.
“We’ve followed Pablo Larrain’s impressive body of work closely over the years and ‘The Club’ further establishes him as one of the most masterful filmmakers in the world today. We’re excited for the opportunity to bring this dark, mordant yet compassionate film to North American audiences,” said Ed Arentz at Music Box Films.
“We are extremely pleased to have Music Box Films on board as the North American distributor of ‘The Club.’. The response to the film has been amazing ever since it premiered at the Berlinale in February 2015 and Music Box Films has repeatedly proven its expertise at distributing powerful films,” added Danner.
Larrain is also attached to direct “Jackie,” set up at Wild Bunch’s L.A.-based Insiders, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy.