'Lourdes' on a roll after Venice

Several distributors sign on to handle pic

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TORONTO -- Jessica Hausner's "Lourdes," a darkly comic but compassionate look at miracles and faith, has closed multiple territories following its crowd- and critic-pleasing Venice bow.

Palisades Tartan picked up U.S. rights for the Austrian-German-French co-production from sales group the Coproduction Office, with NFP in Germany, Alta Films in Spain, Gussi in Mexico and Greek distributor Nutopia also signing on.

"Lourdes" follows the pilgrimage of Christine (Sylvia Testund), confined to a wheelchair since birth, who travels to the iconic French site, hoping for a miracle. But her apparent cure only provokes envy and resentment among the other pilgrims.

The film won the FIPRESCI international critics prize in Venice, two religious awards -- the Signis and the La Navicella -- and the Brian Award, given by the union of atheists and agnostics.

"This will be a labor of love for Palisades and myself personally. Lourdes is an important film at a time when faith in anything is under attack," Palisades Tartan CEO Vincent Roberti said in a statement.

"Lourdes," which screens at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, has now sold to 16 territories worldwide.
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