French distribution company ARP has picked up rights to “Streetwise,” the Chinese film that will have its world premiere next week at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Un Certain Regard section.

Directed by first-time feature maker Na Jiazuo, the film is a detailed look at the lives and predicaments of young people in China in the early 2000s who did not migrate to the big cities. A tough love tale, it is also a film about the possibly of changing and redemption.

The story follows a small-town youth who becomes the henchman to a debt-collector. His life is complicated by a cold and estranged parent-child relationship, and an ambiguous relationship with a young woman.

“We were mesmerized by the film, its tone and its style, the way it navigates between cruelty and longing, elation and melancholy, hope and despair. Na Jiazuo is definitely a new voice in Chinese cinema,” said ARP co-founder Michèle Halberstadt.

“We are thrilled to have ARP as our partners and really look forward to unveil the film to distributors around the world very soon” said Sébastien Chesneau from Cercamon which is handling international rights sales.

The film plays next week as part of the festival. Cercamon is arranging a buyers-only screening on Thursday 8 July, 2021 at the Olympia 4 theater.