The Italian-language film, which tracks the decades-long friendship between two Italian boys named Pietro and Bruno — one from the city, the other a shepherd boy from the Alps — was praised as “quietly magnificent” by Variety critic Jessica Kiang.
Kiang also praised the pic’s “slow, gradual accretion of detail that builds to a spectacular vista across the ridges and troughs, the spires and valleys of a lifelong, life-defining friendship.”
The drama about friendship, mountains, growing up, and our changed rapport with the planet in the wake of the pandemic stars Italian A-lister Luca Marinelli (“Martin Eden”) and Alessandro Borghi (“Devils”) — respectively as Pietro and Bruno — as well as Filippo Timi (“Vincere”) and Elena Lietti (“Three Floors”).
Based on an Italian novel of the same title by Paolo Cognetti, “The Eight Mountains” marks the first foray into Italian-language filmmaking for Van Groeningen who, prior to “Beautiful Boy,” his English-language debut, broke out with Oscar-nominated “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” which is in Dutch, followed by the Sundance prize-winning “Belgica.”
The film is produced by Mario Gianani and Lorenzo Gangarossa for Wildside, a Fremantle company, co-produced with Belgium’s Rufus and Menuetto, France’s Pyramide Productions and Vision Distribution and produced in collaboration with the U.K.’s Elastic and with Sky.
“We are thrilled with this news,” the directors said in a statement, adding: “We admire Sideshow and Janus Films for their exquisite taste and talent to bring the world’s most special films to a broad audience.
Sideshow and Janus recently partnered on the North American release of Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning “Drive My Car.” They also recently picked up Jerzy Skolimowski’s “EO,” which tells the story of a donkey’s life, out of Cannes.
The distributors are planning to release “The Eight Mountains” theatrically at the end of 2022.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch, Mario Giannani and Lorenzo Gangarossa to bring this special film to North America,” said Sideshow and Janus reps.
The deal was negotiated by CAA Media Finance and Vision Distribution on behalf of the filmmakers with Janus Films and Sideshow.