Terry Gilliam’s ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ Sells to China

Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” the disaster-plagued film set as the closing night movie of the Cannes Film Festival, is heading to China via the Middle Kingdom’s Turbo Film.

Directed by Monty Python troupe member Gilliam, the film stars Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard and Olga Kurylenko. International sales are handled by Paris-based Kinology. The film has significant finance from Amazon Studios. Kinology and Turbo both confirmed the Chinese sale with Variety.

The film has been in the pipeline for nearly 20 years and is still the subject of a legal dispute over its  ownership. That legal dispute, with prolific French-based producer Paolo Branco, who was previously set as co-producer, could still upset Cannes’ plan to screen “Don Quixote” on May 19.

Turbo, which has until now specialized in small-scale imported titles, plans a major launch of the film later this year.

Chinese audiences are rapidly warming to a variety of international films from non-Hollywood sources. Indian titles “Dangal and “Secret Superstar” both topped $100 million at the mainland box office. Over the past 18 months, a public-private partnership between exhibitors and distributors has launched a nascent art-house cinema circuit. That has imported films including “Manchester by the Sea.”

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” was presented to the festival by Gilliam, sales company Kinology, and distributor Ocean. Cannes said it was informed of Branco’s decision to initiate legal action as that presentation took place last winter.

“The Festival de Cannes’ mission is to choose works purely on artistic grounds and the selection must, above all, be with the agreement of the film’s director,” the festival’s organizers said. “This is the case here. Past experience had made us aware of possible legal action and of the risks we were running, but as it happens, when we took our decision, there was no opposition to the screening of the film at the festival.”

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