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Music Box Films Nabs Venice Competition Movie ‘Frantz’

Chicago-based Music Box Films has picked up all U.S. and Canadian rights to François Ozon’s “Frantz,” which is competing at the Venice Film Festival before playing at Telluride and Toronto.

Inspired by Ernst Lubitsch’s lesser-known film “Broken Lullaby,” “Frantz,” which opens in the aftermath of Germany’s WWI defeat, follows Anna (Paula Beer), who’s still mourning her fiancé Frantz, who was killed the year before in a battle in France. A tale of guilt and forgiveness, the film centers on Anna’s unexpected relationship with a mysterious Frenchman (Pierre Niney) who claims to have been Frantz’s friend from before the war.

Sold by Paris-based Films Distribution, “Frantz” was produced by Mandarin Films, the producer of Ozon’s films since “Potiche,” which was also released in the U.S. by Music Box.

“Frantz” is the latest in a string of Mandarin-produced French films acquired by Music Box. The outfit recently released Anne Fontaine’s Sundance-premiering “The Innocents,” also repped by Films Distribution.

“This is an eloquent, evocative, and stunningly emotional film by a master filmmaker operating at the highest level. We’re very pleased to be working again with François, Mandarin, and Films Distribution,” said Music Box managing director Ed Arentz.

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“François Ozon’s ‘Frantz’ stirred strong interest from U.S. buyers over the summer, but in the end we decided to put the movie in the hands of Music Box Films, a trusted partner and truly one of the leading foreign language distributors in North America. We know they will do great with it, just as they have done on our previous collaborations,” said Films Distribution co-founder Nicolas Brigaud-Robert.

Music Box is planning a theatrical rollout in the Spring. “Frantz” will play at Toronto in the special presentation section.

The deal was negotiated by Films Distribution’s Nicolas Brigaud-Robert and Music Box Films’s William Schopf.

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