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Wading into political waters, the Weinstein Co. has acquired U.S. rights to the documentary The Oath of Tobruk, a look at the eight-month conflict that led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi by French philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy. The film is schedule to be screened as part of the official program at the Cannes Film Festival on May 25.
Levy’s film documents the unfolding of the war in Libya and the spontaneous popular revolt that became a revolution through the efforts of the Libyan people in their country and in major cities including Paris, London and New York.
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In announcing the acquisition, TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein clearly signaled his political intentions. He described the buy as a political move, designed to provide hope for other countries in the region like Syria. In a statement, he said that the film “highlights the invaluable leadership from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. American audiences will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how our government and the French government worked together to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians and brilliantly handled the overthrow of a government.”
In another move that also could have political implications, the Weinstein Company is expected to pick up rights to a dramatic feature Code Name Geronimo, from director John Stockwell, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. If the Weinstein Co. releases that film before the November elections, it could be seen as an effort to help boost Obama’s re-election chances, while also stealing thunder from Kathryn Bigelow’s own hunt-for-Osama movie Zero Dark Thirty, which Sony has scheduled for release on Dec. 19.
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Tobruk will screen as an official selection in Cannes next week. Four key figures of the Libyan revolution, who have been invited by Lévy, will attend the screening to dedicate their achievement in Libya to their Syrian friends.
Levy hailed TWC’s involvement in the film by saying, “For me, Harvey Weinstein is not simply The Artist. He is the producer who helped launch Amnesty International in the United States; the man who fought capital punishment with the weapon of cinema; and the one who defended Roman Polanski in the face of those who wished to lynch him. This Weinstein, I am happy to learn, is joining Studio 37 in the adventure of The Oath of Tobruk.“
The film was produced by Studio 37, a financier of the Academy Award best picture winner The Artist, Margo Cinema and Arté. Rezo is currently selling remaining territories.
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