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Berlin: Pathe Intl. Marks Big Sales for ‘United,’ ‘Cezanne’ and ‘Eternity’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Pathe Intl. is winding up a bullish EFM market with a diverse slate of French and English-language pics, headlined by Rosamund Pike starrer “A United Kingdom,” Daniele Thompson’s “Cezanne et moi” and Tran Anh Hung’s “Eternity.”

Based on true events,  “A United Kingdom” tells the story of Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), the King of Botswana, who fell in love with London office worker Ruth Williams (Pike, “Gone Girl”) in 1947. Amma Asante directs. Adapted from Susan Williams’ “Colour Bar,” the movie was penned by Guy Hibbert (“Five Minutes of Heaven”).

After showing a promo of “A United Kingdom,” Pathe’s sales team, headed by Muriel Sauzay, sold nearly all key territories, including Germany (Telepool), Italy (Videa), Australia/New Zealand (Transmission), Scandinavia (Mis Label), Portugal (Cinemundo), Greece (Feelgood), Turkey (Bir Film), Middle East (Gulf Film) and Benelux (Paradiso). Deals with Spain and South Korea are still in negotiation.

Pathe will distribute “A United Kingdom” in the U.K. and France.

“Cezanne et moi,” a 19th century period drama starring Guillaume Gallienne as painter Paul Cezanne and Guillaume Canet as Emile Zola, was acquired for Scandinavia (Njuta Films), the Middle East (Gulf Films), Portugal (Cinemundo), Greece (Feelgood) and Turkey (Bir Film) after Pathe unveiled the first promo of the movie at the EFM. Pathe is in negotiations to close deals in Italy and Spain.

The movie, which charts the lengthy friendship and eventual falling out between Cezanne and Zola, was snatched up for Germany (Prokino), Korea (Green Narae), Taiwan (Joint Entertainment) at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous With French Cinema, where Pathe co-hosted a guided tour of the Musee d’Orsay’s extraordinary impressionist art collection.

“Many buyers are interested in true stories that deal with meaningful issues in an emotionally gripping way. Even so, the whole creative package — director, actors, crew, script, etc. — still has to be compelling in order to close sales,” said Sauzay.

“Eternity,” starring Melanie Laurent, Audrey Tautou and Berenice Bejo, is based on Alice Ferney’s novella “L’Elegance des veuves” and marks Hung’s French-language debut. Pic sold to Australia/New Zealand (Transmission Films), Scandinavia (TriArt Film), France (Pathe), Portugal (Cinemundo) and Turkey (Filmarti Film). Pathe is closing Italy and Taiwan shortly.

Set in the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century, the movie follows three generations of women and their children throughout 100 years. Hung previously won Venice’s Golden Lion for “Cyclo” and Cannes’ Camera d’Or for “The Scent of Green Papaya.”

“The film is a homage to a French family who took him in when he first arrived in France from Vietnam as a teenager,” said Sauzay, who unveiled a promo of the pic at the EFM.

Pathe has also scored a flurry of sales on its high-concept French comedy titles such as “One Man and His Cow.” The cross-cultural laffer was nabbed for Germany (Alamode Film), Italy (Teodora Films), Latin America (IDC), Canada (Christal Films), Belgium (Alternative Films), Middle East (Gulf Film), Turkey (Filmarti Film) and Greece (Feelgood). Produced by Quad Films, the shingle behind “Le Intouchables,” and actor/producer Jamel Debbouze, “One Man and His Cow” turns on an Algerian farmer who travels to France by foot with his cow to fulfill his dream of attending the Paris Agricultural Show. Pic won two awards at the Alpe d’Huez Intl. Comedy Film Festival in January, and will be released on Feb. 17.

Meanwhile, Pathe sold Eric Lavaine’s dramedy “Retour Chez Ma Mere” to Germany (Alamode Film), Spain (A Contracorriente Films), Belgium (Alternative Films), Canada (AZ Films), the Middle East (Gulf Film), Portugal (Cinemundo), Israel (New Cinema), Turkey (Sinema TV) and Italy (Officine UBU).

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