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San Sebastián: Wide Racks Up Sales on Constantin Popescu’s ‘Pororoca’

Movie emerges as a San Sebastián competition frontrunner according to Spanish critics' poll

SAN SEBASTIAN —  Loic Magneron’s Paris-based Wide Management has closed a flurry of deals, including rights in China and Spain, on Constantin Popescu’s drama “Pororoca,” a title which is shaping up as a competition front-runner at this week’s San Sebastián Film Festival.

With the event, the highest-profile festival in the Spanish-speaking world, now entering its second half, Popescu’s portrait of a family tragedy has scored the highest mark to date on a Spanish critics’ poll compiled by Basque newspaper El Diario Vasco. The 65th edition of the San Sebastián Festival wraps Saturday, Sept. 30, with prizes announced at its closing gala ceremony.

The third feature by Popescu, a figure in the so-called New Romanian Cinema, “Pororoca” deepens into a subject willing in contemporary international films: the impact on core social units, here the family, of a sudden and overwhelming event beyond the characters’ comprehension and control.

Film details how a young Romanian couple’s happy family life is swept away – hence the title – by the disappearance of their young daughter and how they attempt to battle the irrational event and its emotional consequences.

A France-Romania co-production, “Pororoca” teams Liviu Marghidan’s Scharf Advertising in Bucarest with Lissandra Haulica’s Paris-based Irreverence Films.

Wide Management has sold the film to Hualu in China, Barton Films in Spain, Discovery Film (Former Yugoslavia territories) and Mirada Distribución (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay). Rights for Latin America and four more European territories are under negotiations, Wide president Magneron said at San Sebastián.

In an early deal struck by Wide, which was reported at Cannes, Paris distributor New Story pre-bought French rights.

“Pororoca” is “problematic for the distributor to send to exhibitors because is long [152 minutes], which means there are less screenings, so what is amazing with the film is that we succeeded to make sales which has to be put down to the film’s very high quality,” Magneron said.

“As the film is so good and it has something special, even if the market is difficult, distributors are taking the risk,” he added.

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