Radu Jude’s “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn,” which won the Golden Bear for best film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, has sold to major territories for Heretic Outreach, Variety has learned exclusively.
The Romanian writer-director’s latest feature is an irreverent satire about a schoolteacher, Emi (Katia Pascariu), who finds her reputation under threat after a personal sex tape is uploaded on the internet. Forced to meet the parents demanding her dismissal, she refuses to surrender. “Bad Luck Banging” is a film in three loosely connected parts: a walk in the city of Bucharest, then a playful essay on obscenities, all culminating in an incendiary sitcom.
Heretic Outreach has closed deals for France (Météore Films), Italy (Lucky Red), Portugal (Films4you), Lithuania (Kino Pavasaris), Estonia (Must Käsi), Israel (Lev Cinemas), Brazil (Imovision), and Hong Kong (Edko Films Limited). Previous sales from the Athens-based sales outfit include Germany (Neue Visionen), Taiwan (Swallow Wings), Poland (New Horizons), ex-Yugoslavia (MCF Megacom), Greece (Cinobo) and Russia (Capella Film).
Romanian rights were also acquired from the producers by microMultilateral.
Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge described “Bad Luck Banging” in a favorable review as a “bad-taste assault on the notion of obscenity,” calling Jude’s “provocative and unapologetically profane Buñuelian prank” one of the first examples of a “genuine auteur work to emerge in a world upended by COVID-19.” He added: “It should get plenty of [virtual] festival play as a result.”
Speaking to Variety before the film’s premiere, Jude said he wanted to use the premise of a leaked sex video to examine notions of obscenity in everyday life. “What is obscene? What is immoral? We are used to acts which are much more obscene, in a way, than these small [sexual] acts,” he said.
“If society is so full of obscenity, then let’s face it: that video is not obscene anymore. This was my idea, to show that the one so-called obscenity in the porn video is nothing compared with what is around us. But we don’t pay attention to it. And cinema can help us to see things better.”
Jude last triumphed in Berlin in 2015, when he won the Silver Bear for best director for “Aferim!”, a raucous, Romanian Western about the pursuit of a runaway gypsy slave in 19th-century Wallachia. Last year “Uppercase Print” and “The Exit of the Trains,” which Jude co-directed with Adrian Cioflâncă, world premiered in the Berlinale’s Forum sidebar.
“Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” is produced by Ada Solomon of Romania’s microfilm, in co-production with Paul Thiltges Distributions (Luxembourg), endorfilm (Czech Republic) and Kinorama (Croatia).