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BUENOS AIRES — UGC Distribution has beaten out all other suitors to clinch what had became by Friday morning the most anticipated deal of this year’s Ventana Sur market: All rights to France on Argentine Mariano Cohn’s “4 x 4,” sold by Latido Films and distributed throughout Argentina by Disney.

After mounting speculation about which distributor would finally win out on France, the deal was closed by UGC’s Thierry Decourcelle and Latido Films Juan Torres.

The sale vindicates Latido and the producers’ decision to bring “4 x 4” onto the market at a private screening at Ventana Sur, attended this year by more than 100 French executives.

Stoking the drama of Thursday’s screening, it took place in torrential rain, but top-class screening conditions.

One of the biggest new titles at Ventana Sur, sitting in the mid-ground between arthouse and mainstream – it’s a thriller but makes caustic social comment about the vindictiveness of the rich – the deal adds to offers on the table from Russia, and strong interest from, among other territories, Japan, Switzerland and Canada, Torres reported.

“4 x 4” has also been pre-sold to Cree Pictures in Korea, Taiwan’s H20, Vietnam’s Mango Films and Lemon Tree in China – deals which suggest buyers responding to the movie’s thriller edge.

Produced by Gastón Duprat, Cohn’s directing partner since at least 1991, and from a Duprat-Cohn screenplay, “4 x 4” begins with a luxury 4 x 4 stationed on the pavement in a humdrum Buenos Aires district.

A petty car thief (Peter Lanzani) prizes open the door, but when he tries to get out, he can’t. The doors, won’t open. The 4 x 4’s like armored bunker: It was a trap.

Dady Brieva, a stand-out in “The Distinguished Citizen” as the Nobel Prize-winner’s doltish old-school friend, plays the owner of the vehicle; veteran Luis Brandoni (“El hombre de tu vida”) is a police officer.

“We’re very happy with what happened yesterday,” said Torres. “Despite the rain, the theater was full for the special market screening. ‘4 x 4’ was already a very promising project but the market premiere outdid our expectations,” Torres said.

He added: “The importance and reach of a circuit like UGC confirms the commercial potential of the film.”

Marking Cohn’s follow-up and first solo outing after “The Distinguished Citizen,” which won Oscar Martinez a Volpi Cup best actor award at 2016’s Venice Festival and swept the 2017 Platino Awards, the big question about “4 x 4” is if it can now join the elite lineage of what represents, with movies made by Chile’s Fabula, the fount of the most consistently performing Latin American movies in theatrical around the world.

That’s a movie line made up of films by top Argentine auteurs directing crossover movies with high production values, benefitting from Hollywood studio distribution in Latin American, an Argentine star, major Argentine B.O. potential, and European co-production finance.
“4 x 4” ticks these boxes, starring Lanzani (“The Clan,” “Un gallo para Esculapio”) and produced by Cohn and Duprat’s Televisión Abierta and Spain-based Mediapro Group, rapidly consolidating as one of the biggest independent film-TV forces in Europe.

Now “4 x 4” just needs, like “Wild Tales,” “The Clan” and “El Angel” before it, a big fest berth to become on paper a major Spanish-language theatrical performer of 2019.

In further Latido Films sales at Ventana Sur, the sales company struck an early sale on Mexican Hari Sama’s “This Is Not Berlin,” a favorite among movies in Ventana Sur’s Copia Final strand whose acquisition was announced by Latido in mid-market. The buyer, Solopan, acquired rights to Poland. Argentine Carlos Sorin’s “Joel” also made is market premiere at Ventana Sur, also selling to France, being picked up by Paname.