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Music Box Films has picked up U.S. rights to Rebecca Zlotowski’s “Other People’s Children,” the affecting drama starring Virginie Efira (“Benedetta”). The movie world premiered in competition at Venice and is slated to make its U.S. debut in the Spotlight section at Sundance later this month.

Also starring Roschdy Zem and Chiara Mastroianni, “Other People’s Children” played in the Special Presentation section at Toronto. Music Box Films will release the French movie in theaters and on home entertainment platforms in spring 2023.

Efira, one of France’s leading actors, delivers a strong performance as Rachel, a dedicated high school teacher. She falls in love with Ali (Roschdy Zem), and it’s not long before she also falls for his 4-year-old daughter Leila. Although she feels like a mother, Rachel is not allowed to forget that Leila is another woman’s daughter. She begins to long for a child of her own, but as a 40-something woman, she is abundantly aware that she has limited time to begin a family. Rachel contemplates whether to embrace the inherent entanglements of her current situation, including the looming presence of Ali’s ex-wife Alice (Chiara Mastroianni) or strike out again on her own. 

Efira, who emceed last year’s Cannes Film Festival, will receive the French Cinema Award during the Unifrance Rendez-Vous, a week-long showcase of French movies. The honorary award will pay tribute to the local and international success of Efira, who was born in Belgium but has become one of France’s most popular and bankable actors.

“Other People’s Children” will have its Sundance premiere on Jan. 20, followed by a Q&A with Zlotowski and producer Frédéric Jouve. 

The critically acclaimed film marks Zlotowski’s fifth feature, and her first to screen at Sundance. Her previous credits include “An Easy Girl” and “Planetarium.” 

Variety’s Guy Lodge wrote in his review that the film was a “wise, human story of second-degree parenting,” and a “bittersweet and beautifully observed study” of a “child-free woman’s growing attachment to her boyfriend’s daughter.” Lodge added that it was the best film to date from Zlotowski.

“Rebecca’s compassionate new film is a delicate exploration of the complicated emotional bonds that can form between adults and the children of their romantic partners,” said Brian Andreotti of Music Box Films “We have been admirers of her work for some time, and we are certain her latest will find a receptive audience in the U.S. that will be as moved by the film as we were,” Andreotti continued.

Jouve, who produced “Other People’s Children” through his banner Les Films Velvet, described Zlotowski as “one of the prominent contemporary directors in France.”

“’Other People’s Children’ topped the arthouse box office in France and stands out as an award contender for French and foreign journalists,” Jouve continued. He added that Zlotowski’s latest feature “brought the Venice Film Festival to tears and has received critical acclaim and public success.”

Music Box Films previously worked with Efira on the 2020 release of Justine Triet’s “Sibyl.” The company also recently acquired Alice Winocour’s “Revoir Paris,” another well-reviewed drama starring Efira.

The deal was negotiated by Brian Andreotti from Music Box Films, CAA Media Finance and Eva Diederix from Wild Bunch International.