EXCLUSIVE: Film Movement has picked up U.S. rights to Andrei Konchalovsky’s Paradise which is shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The Russian-German co-production is set during WWII and looks at the Holocaust from the perspective of three characters. Paradise debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year and won Konchalovsky the Silver Lion for Best Director. ARRI Media International is handling sales.
Shot in black and white by cinematographer Alexander Simonov, the drama tells the story of Olga, Jules and Helmut, whose paths cross amidst the devastation of war. Olga (Julia Vysotskaya) is a beautiful Russian aristocrat émigrée and member of the French Resistance; Jules (Philippe Duquesne) is a French Nazi collaborator who is assigned to investigate her case; and Helmut (Christian Clauss) is a high-ranking, yet naïve German SS officer who once fell madly in love with Olga and meets her again when she is shipped to a concentration camp. While they recount their stories, the film flashes back to the end of World War II and the days when their destinies crossed.
Film Movement President Michael E Rosenberg calls the film “stunningly shot and emotionally rich… We are honored to have another important auteur’s work join our slate for this year, alongside films by Andrzej Wajda and Hirokazu Kore-eda.” Film Movement will release Paradise in the summer, followed by a digital and home video release.
Paradise is written, directed and produced by Konchalovsky and was co-produce by Russia’s Andrei Konchalovsky Studios and Germany’s Drife Filmproduktion.
The film also won the Founder’s Award at the 2016 Chicago Film Festival; Best Director of Photography for Simonov, Best Actress and the Young Jury Award for Best Actress — both for Vysotskaya — at the 2016 Gijón International Film Festival; the Silver Astor Award for Best Screenplay at 2016 Mar del Plata International Film Festival; and The Schoumann Award for Jewish Cinema at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
ARRI has also sold it to Artfest (Bulgaria), Time in Portrait (China), MCF Megacom (Ex-Yugoslavia); SevenGroup (Greece), Contact Film (Belgium & Netherlands), Legendmain (Portugal) and Film Buro (Spain). Alpenrepublik have the rights for Germany, and Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing CIS is the distributor in Russia. France and CIS rights are represented by Antipode Sales, UK rights are handled by the producers directly.
Film Movement last year had its first Academy Award-nominated film with Theeb. Oscar nominations will be announced this year on January 24.