Cannes title “Petrov’s Flu” has been picked up for the U.K. and Ireland by Sovereign Distribution.
The U.K.-based producer-distributor bought rights for Kirill Serebrennikov’s film from French sales agent Charades. The sci-fi drama, which was written and directed by the Russian helmer, enjoyed its world premiere at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d’Or, earlier this month.
Charades has closed deals for the title in France (Bad Films), Benelux (Imagine), Greece (Weird Wave), Italy (I Wonder Pictures), Portugal (Films4you), Poland (Gutek Films), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Film Europe), Baltics (Kino Soprus) and ex-Yugoslavia (Megacom), Israel (Lev Cinema/Shani Films), Turkey (Fabula Films), Mexico (Cine Canibal) and Indonesia (Falcon Pictures).
Adapted from the novel “The Petrovs In And Around Flu” by Russian author Alexey Sainikov, the film was described by Variety as a delirious, deadpan romp through post-Soviet Russia. The story depicts a day in the life of a comic book artist named Petrov and his family. While suffering from the flu, Petrov is carried by his friend Igor on a long walk, drifting in and out of fantasy and reality.
The cast includes Yuriy Borisov, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Yuliya Peresild, Chulpan Khamatova, Aleksandra Revenko, Timofey Tribuntsev, Semyon Serzin, Aleksandr Ilin, Varvara Shmykova, Elene Mushkaeva, Ivan Dorn and Ivan Ivashkin.
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The film marks the first feature for Serebrennikov since he was released from a 20-month period of house arrest on embezzlement charges that were widely considered to have been trumped up by the government. The 51-year-old helmer is banned from leaving Russia and was unable to attend the world premiere of his film, instead thanking the audience via video message.
“Petrov’s Flu” is Serebrennikov’s third feature to premiere in Cannes following religious drama “The Student,” which played in Un Certain Regard in 2016 and won the François Chalais Award, and Palme d’Or nominee Russian rock scene drama “Leto” in 2018.
The director’s other credits include the Venice Golden Lion nominee “Izmena” in 2012; the Tribeca Film Festival Jury Prize nominee “Playing the Victim” in 2006; and drama mystery “Yurev den,” which won the Don Quixote Award at the Locarno International Film Festival and the Grand Prix at the Warsaw International Film Festival.
“I was not planning to shoot this movie. He came to me, captured me and I became his prisoner with great pleasure,” said Serebrennikov. “It came at a rather difficult time in my life, as an enforceability, an essential joy, even as a kind of lifeline.”
Andreas Roald, managing director of Sovereign Film Distribution, said: “‘Petrov’s Flu’ is a remarkable film from a remarkable filmmaker, and Sovereign are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring it to U.K. audiences.”
Carole Baraton, co-founder of Charades, added: “We are extremely excited about this first collaboration with Sovereign Film Distribution. Charades is thrilled to accompany this new venture with this very special movie and we hope this is the first of many!”
“Petrov’s Flu” is produced by Moscow-based Hype Film in co-production with Charades Productions, Logical Pictures, Bord Cadre films, Razor Film Production and Sovereign Films, with the support of Kinoprime, Arte France Cinema and ZDF. International sales are handled by Charades.
Sovereign recently acquired U.K. and Ireland rights to Radu Jude’s “Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn,” which won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year. The film was acquired in the U.S. by Magnolia.