New York-based Big World Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Julia Murat’s “Pendular,” the FIPRESCI Best Film prizewinner at the 2017 Berlinale’s Panorama.
A chronicle of a dancer and sculptor’s attempt to negotiate boundaries and balance between art and love, preserving a sense of creative freedoms, “Pendular” was sold to Big World Pictures by Paris sales agent Still Walking.
Produced by Murat and Bubble’s Project Tatiana Leite, it also marks the second feature from a buzzed-up Brazilian women director whose caught attention with her 2011 debut, “Found Memories.” “Pendular” has played at the Lincoln Center/MoMA’s New Directors/New Films in New York and will screen at November’s Los Angeles AFI Fest, among others. It will also now play U.S. festivals, building up to an early 2018 theatrical release, Big World Pictures announced Thursday.
Written by Murat and Matías Mariani, her real-life partner, “Pendular” kicks off with a young couple taping an orange strip to the floor in an large abandoned industrial warehouse where they also live, which gives half of an open space his sculpture atelier and half to her contemporary dance studio. But, as art, performance and intimacy mingle, the characters slowly lose their capacity to distinguish between their artistic projects, their past and their romantic relationship, calling into question their identities as artists and as a couple, the film’s synopses suggest.
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Drawing comparisons with “La La Land” – both after all are about artists in love – “Pendular” took a year of rehearsals, to create the dance choreography and sculptures, then with the main actors to create a sense of intimacy – the film includes quite steamy sex scenes. Picturing the dancer creating her choreography, “Pendular” is one of few fiction films that shows the artist just at work.
“Usually, they have that moment of inspiration—it’s all a very romantic way of looking at an artist,” Murat told website Remezcla.
She added: “That was something we didn’t want to do at all. We wanted to have that real moment of people just working.”
Justifying its award for best film in Berlin’s Panorama section, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury declared that the film’s “expression of the modern and bold choreography of human relations in the story connects perfectly with the aesthetic and dramatic originality of the film.”
“Pendular” was produced by Brazil’s Syndrome Films, Bubbles Project and Esquina Produçoes, Argentina’s Cepa Audiovisual and Still Moving in France.
Founded in 2013, Big World Pictures’s previous releases include Tsai Ming-liang’s “Rebels of the Neon God” and Eric Rohmer classics “A Summer’s Tale” and “A Tale of Winter.” Two of its releases from Easter Europe – Radu Jude’s “Aferim!” and Maya Vitkova’s “Viktoria” – featured on prominent critics’ lists of Top 10 Films of 2016.
Headed by Pierre Menahem and Juliette Lepoutre, Still Moving’s sales late includes the imaginary and sometimes near surrealistic migration fable “The Last of Us,” from Tunisia’s Ala Eddine Slim. Tracking a Sub-Saharan man through the desert to North Africa where he steals a boat, it won a Lion of the Future for best first feature at 2016’s Venice Festival.