×

Wild Bunch, Le Pacte Board Cannes’s Competition Film ‘Yomeddine’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Wild Bunch and Le Pacte are joining forces on Egyptian-Austrian director A.B Shawky’s drama “Yomeddine,” the sole feature debut set to world premiere in competition at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

Wild Bunch has taken international sales on the feature, while Le Pacte has acquired French distribution rights.

Yomeddine,” produced by Dina Emam at Egypt’s Desert Highway Pictures and Mohamed Hefzy and Daniel Ziskind at Cairo-based production company Film Clinic, is an adventure-filled drama about a Christian Egyptian leper, Beshay, who lives in an aging leper colony in the middle of nowhere. After the death of wife, he bravely decides to leave the colony for the first time since he was abandoned there as a child, and embarks, along with his Muslim apprentice and beloved donkey, on a journey across Egypt to his hometown to find out why his father never kept his promise to return.

Reacting to Cannes’s official announcement, Shawky thanked “the cast and crew who endured the difficult conditions, lack of money, unusual distant locations and language barriers.” He also thanked his wife, Emam, who produced “Yomeddine” and “believed in this film and couldn’t have been a better partner to make this a reality.”

A NYU Tisch graduate, Shawky previously directed several politically-minded shorts including “The Road to Atalia” about an Egyptian family destroyed by the loss of three sons who attempted to migrate to Italy, and the documentary short “Martyr Friday” about dramatic events during Egypt’s revolution in 2011.

Cannes Film Festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux described the film as “reminiscent of a Italian neorealist film.” “(“Yomeddine”) sheds light on the depths of Egypt. It’s a unique and poetic work of art. And as many films do, it enlightens us by pondering on who we are, who are the others, what the world is like,” said Fremaux, who rarely selects feature debuts to compete at the festival.

“Yomeddine” is one of the four films competing which Le Pacte will release in France. The three other films on Le Pacte’s distribution slate are David Robert Mitchell’s “Under The Silver Lake,” Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”

Jean Labadie, Le Pacte’s founder and president, previously worked with Ziskind on Egyptian director Marwan Hamed’s critically acclaimed feature debut “The Yacoubian Building” in 2006, when he was at the helm of Bac Films.

Wild Bunch has five other films slated for Cannes, notably Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book,” Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s “Shoplifters” and Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum” which will world premiere in competition; Bi Gan’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in Un Certain Regard; and Gaspar Noe’s “Climax” in Directors’ Fortnight.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fiddlin'

    Film Review: 'Fiddlin''

    Not many forms of music have “old-” actually built into their name as a prefix. So it’s a given that the practitioners of the 200-year-old genre known as “old-time music” will wear their antiquity proudly in “Fiddlin’,” a documentary set in and around the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. What may not [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Jonah Hill Passes on Role in 'The Batman'

    After being offered a role in “The Batman,” Jonah Hill has moved on from the project. Why exactly Hill is passing is currently unknown, and insiders tell Variety that when the news was initially reported, it was very early in the negotiations and that a deal was far from closing. The news comes after Zoe [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Elizabeth Moss

    SCAD Savannah Film Festival Honorees Include Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss

    Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss, Danielle Macdonald, Aldis Hodge, Valerie Pachner, Samantha Morton, Alan Silvestri and Olivia Wilde are set to be honored at the 22nd Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Breakout Award honorees include Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Jharrel Jerome, Mena Massoud and Camila Morrone. Macdonald, who appears on Netflix in “Unbelievable” and the upcoming [...]

  • Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman. Alexander Skarsgard,

    Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard to Reunite for Robert Eggers' 'The Northman'

    With his latest film “The Lighthouse” set to bow this weekend, Robert Eggers’ next film has cast two leads, “Big Little Lies” alums Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård. The pic, titled “The Northman,” is described as a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. In talks to join Kidman [...]

  • Jessica Henwick

    'Matrix 4' Taps 'Iron Fist' Star Jessica Henwick

    Jessica Henwick is in final negotiations to star in the upcoming fourth installment of the “Matrix” franchise. She joins Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, who will be reprising their roles in the film, as well as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who was tapped as one of the leads last week. Neil Patrick Harris also just joined [...]

  • Frozen 2

    Record 32 Animated Feature Films Submitted for Oscars

    “The Addams Family,” “Frozen II,” “Toy Story 4,” “Abominable” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2” are among the record 32 movies submitted for the animated feature film category at the 2020 Oscars. Last year’s Academy Awards race boasted 25 entries, while 2017 had 26 and 2016 had 27 (a then-record). The list of contenders [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content