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Kino Lorber Buys Pietro Marcello’s ‘Scarlet’ Ahead of New York Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

Scarlet (L'Envol)
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Kino Lorber has acquired North American distribution rights to Pietro Marcello’s sprawling post-WWI film “Scarlet,” which opened Cannes’ Directors Fortnight.

Represented in international markets by Orange Studio, “Scarlet” will have its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival, before a theatrical release in 2023.

A loose adaptation of Alexander Grin’s novel, “Scarlet” marks Kino’s second collaboration with Marcello. It follows “Martin Eden,” which competed at Venice, won best actor for Luca Marinelli and went on to play at Toronto.

Marcello, who rose to prominence as a documentarian with his film “The Mouth of the Wolf,” penned the script for “Scarlet” with his regular screenwriting partner Maurizio Braucci (“Martin Eden”) and Maud Ameline, with the participation of novelist Geneviève Brisac.

“Scarlet” was produced by Charles Gillibert (“Personal Shopper,” “Annette”) and Ilya Stewart. The film stars Raphaël Thiery and Juliette Jouan as father and daughter, alongside Louis Garrel, Noémie Lvovsky and Yolande Moreau.

A magical realist fable, “Scarlet” unfolds in northern France following the First World War, and it tells the story of Juliette, who was raised in rural Normandy by her father Raphaël (Raphaël Thiery), who’s a widower and a veteran. The film spans 20 years in the life of Juliette, who became passionate about singing and music at a young age and never stopped believing in a witch prophecy promising her that she would one day leave her village.

Variety’s Peter Debruge described the film as a “charming French language fable” and a “tender father-daughter story” which “recalls the work of Jacques Demy.”

The deal for “Scarlet” was negotiated by Kino Lorber senior VP Wendy Lidell and Charlotte Boucon for Orange Studio.

“We are thrilled to be following up our 2020 release of Martin Eden with another brilliant film by the great Pietro Marcello,” said Lidell. “Pietro has an unrivaled ability to find beauty in everyone and everything he films, matched only by his ability to portray emotion with subtlety and nuance.”

Marcello pointed the film was “adapted from a novel by 20th century Russian pacifist writer Alexander Grin.” “It represented a new challenge for me in several ways — as the first work that I have made outside of Italy, with foreign actors, and a female protagonist,” said the Italian helmer, adding that he “was interested in the depiction of a relationship between a father and daughter, especially when it breaks down and she becomes an independent woman.”

Macello said that for Martin Eden, his “references were the Swedish trade unionist Stig Dagerma and the Neapolitan anarchist Enrico Malatesta,” while for “Scarlet,” he took inspiration from Louise Michel.

“We remain on the ground of anarchy, but between these two films is a progressive shift in my point of view from the masculine to the feminine,” explained Marcello.

Charlotte Boucon, director of world sales of Orange Studio, said the company “couldn’t have dreamt of a better home for the US release of ‘Scarlet.’” Boucon praised Kino Lorber for having demonstrated over the years “its unique ability to not only curate the best of contemporary world cinema from major international film festivals but also its ability to display the best strategy for each title to meet its audience and beyond.”