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Netflix Buys Cannes Winners ‘Happy as Lazzaro,’ ‘Girl’ for North America, Latin America

Netflix has bought North American and Latin American rights to a pair of awards winners at the Cannes Film Festival — “Happy as Lazzaro” and “Girl.”

The streaming service made the announcement Saturday, the closing day of the 71st edition of the world’s most glamorous film festival. The festival created a stir in April, by announcing that Netflix movies wouldn’t be eligible for in-competition slots — which prompted Netflix to pull all of its titles for consideration, including out-of-competition screenings.

Variety reported on May 7, the day before the festival opened, that Netflix executives had expressed interest in acquiring Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” the opening night film. On May 11, Netflix closed a deal for the animated robot movie “Next Gen” at Cannes. The deals for  “Happy as Lazzaro” and “Girl” were handled by The Match Factory.

“Happy as Lazzaro” premiered in competition and was awarded best screenplay for Alice Rohrwacher in a tie with Nader Saeivar for “3 Faces.” The Camera d’Or for best first film was awarded to Lukas Dhont for “Girl” — which premiered in Un Certain Regard, where it was awarded best actor for Victor Polster. “Girl” also received the Queer Palm Award as the best of LGBTQ-themed films across the official selection, Un Certain Regard, Directors’ Fortnight, Critics’ Week and the unofficial ACID section.

“Happy as Lazzaro” is set in a pastoral village dominated by the terrible ­Marchesa­ Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. The story is centered on a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping.

Cast includes Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher, Agnese Graziani, Tommaso Ragno, Sergi Lopez, Natalino Balasso, Gala Othero Winter, David Bennent and Nicoletta Braschi. The producer is Carlo Cresto-Dina and co-producers are Tiziana Soudani, Alexandra Henochsberg, Grégory Gajos, Arthur Hallereau, Pierre-François Piet, Michel Merkt, Michael Weber and Viola Fügen.

“Happy as Lazzaro” is an Italy-Switzerland-France-German production. It’s a Tempesta production with Rai Cinema in co-production with Amka Films Prods., Ad Vitam Production, KNM, Pola Pandora, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera, ARTE France Cinéma, ZDF/ARTE.

“Girl” is centered on 15-year-old Lara, who is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara’s adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy.

Besides Polster, the cast includes Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart, Tijmen Govaerts, Katelijne Damen, Valentijn Dhaenens, Magali Elali and Alice de Broqueville. Dirk Impens is the producer of the Belgium-based film. Production companies are Menuet, Frakas Productions and Topkapi Films.

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