Roadside, IFC pick flicks as market wanes

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As the Festival de Cannes heads into the homestretch, Roadside Attractions on Tuesday picked up all U.S. rights to the Lebanese women's drama "Caramel." IFC Entertainment's day-and-date First Take also scored a double play, picking up the much-discussed Romanian abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" and the whimsical "Flight of the Red Balloon."

Director-star Nadine Labaki's Arabic-language "Caramel," which screened Sunday in Directors' Fortnight, looks at five women who work in a contemporary Beirut beauty salon. The film follows the Christian and Muslim women's romantic entanglements, from an engaged woman looking to have surgery to restore her virginity to a closeted lesbian.

Roadside closed the low-six-figure deal after a tight contest with IFC. The company hopes the film will be the official Lebanese foreign-language feature Oscar entry and plans an early 2008 release. The deal was negotiated by Roadside co-president Howard Cohen, with Raphael Berdugo of Roissy Films representing the filmmakers.

IFC landed U.S. rights to Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months," one of the most-discussed films of the fest. Set during the final days of communism in Romania, the film looks at the harsh journey of two young women who try to end an unwanted pregnancy. "4 Months," In Competition in Cannes, was produced by Oleg Mutu and Mungiu and executive produced by Florentina Onea.

IFC Films vp acquisitions Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal with Carole Baraton from Wild Bunch.

The other film set to premiere simultaneously in theaters and via VOD on IFC First Take is "Red Balloon." IFC nabbed North American rights to Chinese director Hou Hsiao Hsien's French-language take on Albert Lamorisse's 1956 Oscar-winning short. Oscar winner Juliette Binoche and Simon Iteanu star in the feature, which screened in Un Certain Regard and was produced by Francois Margolin and Kristina Larsen. IFC's Bocco negotiated the deal with Nicolas Brigaud-Robert from Films Distribution.
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