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Mubi’s spending spree is rolling on.
The art house film-streaming platform and theatrical distributor has added yet another buzzy title to its library following a very active few months, buying all rights for renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s period drama One Second, this year’s Toronto Film Festival closer, for the U.K., Ireland, Germany and Turkey.
The Cultural Revolution-set film, written by Zhang — best known for films such as Raise the Red Lantern, Hero and House of Flying Daggers, and the the first Chinese filmmaker to receive Oscar recognition (for 1990’s Ju Dou) — along with Zou Jingzhi and based on the novel by Yan Geling, centers on rural Chinese village that comes together to restore a destroyed film reel. Among them is an escaped prisoner, a young vagabond scheming to steal the reel away and a projectionist known as Mr. Movie. Starring Zhang Yi, Liu Haocun and Fan Wei, the film was shot in and around the small Chinese town of Dunhuang, known for its evocative, sand dune-swathed landscape.
One Second — which Neon recently acquired for North America and will close Toronto on Sept. 18 — became the subject of intense controversy in 2019 after its world premiere was pulled at the last minute from the Berlin International Film Festival, widely acknowledged to be due to censorship objections from the Chinese government. A yearlong struggle with authorities ensued, with Zhang and his actors returning to the Gobi desert in China’s Gansu Province for reshoots, before Beijing regulators finally approved it for release in late 2020.
The film now joins a bumper lineup of recent additions for Mubi, which spent the Cannes Film Festival cherry-picking some of the hottest titles from the official selection, acquiring rights to Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner Titane, Andrea Arnold’s Cow, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island, Valdimar Jóhannsson’s Lamb, Leos Carax’s Cannes opener Annette, Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, Sebastian Meise’s Great Freedom, Kira Kovalenko’s Un Certain Regard winning Unclenching the Fists, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, Tatiana Huezo’s Prayers for the Stolen and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Lingui, The Sacred Bonds.
Other upcoming theatrical releases for Mubi include Ben Sharrock’s BAFTA-nominated Limbo, Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure, Andreas Fontana’s Azor, Alexandre Koberidze’s What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? and Céline Sciamma’s latest feature Petite Maman.
One Second is a Huanxi Media Group Production and produced by William Kong, Ping Dong, Liwei Pang and Shaokun Xian. Wild Bunch International is handling international sales.
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