Paris-based Bac Films International has scored a fresh round of sales on Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” which this week had its Middle East premiere at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival after world premiering at Venice in September.
The pic, combining art world satire with the plight of refugees, is about a Syrian who accepts to have a large Schengen visa, the document he desperately needs to enter Europe, tattooed on his back by a famous artist, thus becoming a human artwork to be exhibited in a Brussels museum.
“The Man Who Sold His Skin” has now sold to Switzerland (Trigon Film), Portugal (Paris Audiovisuals), Denmark and Norway (Another World Entertainment), Taiwan (Creative Century) and Brazil (Providence Filmes).
Prior to Venice, Bac had presold the pic – which stars Syrian actor Yahya Mahayni as the protagonist and a platinum blonde Monica Bellucci as an icy art world operator – to the Netherlands and Belgium (Cinéart), Turkey (Bir Films), Taiwan (Creative Century) and Russia (Ten Letters).
Bac Films will distribute “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” which is in English, Arabic and French, in France. Prior to France’s recent new restrictions due to coronavirus, which have shut down cinemas, the company had set a Dec. 16 French theatrical release date for the film.
“We are in very tough times; it’s not easy to distribute a movie,” the director told Variety, noting that Bac is still seeking a U.S. distributor for “Skin.”
Mahayni won the best actor award in the Venice Horizons section for his role as the Syrian refugee who strikes a Faustian pact to become a human canvas.
Nadim Cheikhrouha at Paris-based Tanit Films and Habib Attia at Tunis-based Cinétéléfilms lead produced “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” in association with Guillaume Rambourg, Lassaad and Rafik Kilani with the support of co-producers Twenty Twenty Vision, Kwassa Films, Laika Film & Television, Metafora Media Production, Sunnyland Film (ART Group), Film I Vast, Voo & Be Tv and Istiqlal films.
Ben Hania previously made a splash with “Beauty and the Dogs,” the drama about the rape of a young Tunisian woman by policemen that created an impact at Cannes in 2017 and sold widely.