Magnolia Pictures Picks Up Von Trier/Scorsese Project 'The Five Obstructions' (Cannes 2011)

4:43 AM PST 05/19/2011 by Scott Roxborough

The deal was signed before Von Trier’s infamous Nazi comments in Cannes.

CANNES – In one of the worst cases of bad-timing in this year’s Cannes, Magnolia Pictures and Australian distributor Madman pre-bought rights to Lars Von Trier’s new film, a documentary collaboration with Martin Scorsese called The Five Obstructions: Scorsese vs Trier. Magnolia took North American rights, Madman rights for Australia/New Zealand from TrustNordisk.Magnolia reportedly signed the deal for Five Obstructions at 4 am on Tuesday, just hours before Lars Von Trier’s notorious Cannes press conference for his latest film, Melancholia, in which he called himself a Nazi and said he “sympathized with Hitler a little bit.” Magnolia also has domestic rights to Melancholia.

Von Trier has since apologized for the remarks and the Cannes Film Festival has acknowledged his apology but the damage was done. Melancholia’s Argentine distributor has refused to release the film and distributors around the world are worrying about how Von Trier’s latest scandal will impact Melancholia’s release and reception.

The Five Obstructions also pre-sold to Poland (Kino Swiat), Romanian (Independenta) and the Czech and Slovak Republics (Aero Films) at the Cannes market.

Both Magnolia and Madman also pre-bought the Danish period epic A Royal Affair, which Von Trier executive produced and Nikolaj Arcel is directing, from TrustNordisk.

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