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Venice Winner ‘Francofonia’ Bought by Music Box for U.S.

Music Box Films has acquired U.S. rights to Alexander Sokurov’s “Francofonia,” which won the Mimmo Rotella Award after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Francofonia” recounts how the Louvre’s artwork was saved from harm during World War II, followed by a cinematic essay on the precariousness of art, culture and civilization.

The story focuses on Louvre director Jacques Jaujard and Nazi Occupation officer Count Wolff-Metternich, whose unlikely alliance would become the driving force behind the preservation of the museum’s treasures.

The deal for U.S. distribution was finalized at the Toronto Film Festival, where “Francofonia” had its North American premiere, between Berlin-based Films Boutique and Music Box Films, who plan a spring theatrical release. The film opens in France in November.

“In ‘Francofonia,’ Sokurov does for the Louvre what he did for the Hermitage in ‘Russian Ark’: he makes a museum a vivid, living dramatic personae,” said Music Box Films managing director Edward Arentz.

Jay Weissberg said in his review for Variety that the film is “a dense, enriching meditation.”

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