CANNES — August Diehl, star of Terrence Malick’s Cannes competition player “Hidden Life,” acquired by Fox Searchlight during the festival, will head the cast of Tom Schreiber’s upcoming “Beautiful Souls” (“Schöne Seelen”).
Lead produced by Ingmar Trost at Sutor Kolonko in Germany, and structured as a domestic co-production with Maze Pictures, “Beautiful Souls” has just been set up as an international co-production with Spain’s Fasten Films and Topkapi Films in the Netherlands.
At an initial financing stage – though the prospect of an international sales agent boarding early on look good – “Beautiful Souls” is scheduled to go into production in late summer 2020.
Described as a goofy drama set in the pop trash of the 1990s,“Beautiful Souls” portrays the impact of macro historical change on a motley German community of inveterate individualists seeking happiness down on Spain’s Costa Brava coast.
It turns on Freddy, a perpetual juvenile chancer who’s never grown up or had a proper job and, now aged 37, plans to start a new, more relaxed life in a Spanish holiday resort far away from cold Germany. At first he imagines he really has stumbled upon Paradise. He gets a job working for Herbert, who owns a restaurant and a strip club, falls for Nico, who works as “Tank Girl” – filling the glasses of partying tourists with overpriced lager from her beer pistol – and whose sensual dance act casts a spell over Herbert as well as Freddy.
But before the first season is over Freddy suddenly finds himself at the center of the morbid self-destruction of the drop-out community. Freddie, who has studiously avoided any kind of commitment, is forced finally to take a stand and suggest to himself and the world what kind of person he is.
Channeling the burgeoning “me-first” spirit of rampant capitalism, the characters chase individual happiness, when that is always found with others, Trost. observed at the Cannes Film Market.
The film is also set at the dawn of another age, after the 1985 Schlengen Agreement and 1989 German reunification, with the rise of the Interneta nd the build up to 9/11, as borders fall and Russian and Eastern European mafia money sluices the club scene on the coast.
“With all its lightness of touch, ‘Beautiful Souls’ is intended to be unscrupulous, hedonist and at times downright dirty,” said Trost.
“We want to depict contradictory characters with all their flaws, even the moral ones,” he added, saying that “our failed heroes and heroines are soldiers of fortune who come to grief because of their own ideas and capabilities. We follow their development with great empathy and no trace of malice. A moving spectacle with great entertainment value. That is our aim.”
Johanna Ingelfinger plays female lead Nico. “Beautiful Souls” is written by Julia Meyer and Schreiber, produced by Trost and co-produced by Jörg Schulze, Adrià Monés, Laurette Schillings, Arnold Heslenfeld and Frans van Gestel.
Trost said at Cannes Film Market that the producers would welcome further equity. “Beautiful Souls” is already an example of movie, which is the case of titles at Cannes this year ranged from Roland Emmerich’s $150 million “Moonfall” downwards, of movies seeking investment in a weakening pre-sales environment and as domestic TV finance drops off for international art films.
In the case of higher-profile foreign-language art films, this phenomenon is seeing the emergence of a pedigree class of international producers whose involvement in emerging auteur titles not only brings finance and expert opinion to the table but serves for the market as an indication of a project’s artistic and commercial caliber.