Three at fest headed to IFC


IFC Films has nabbed three features that have North American premieres at next month's Toronto International Film Festival: Harmony Korine's pop-culture fantasia "Mister Lonely," starring Diego Luna and Samantha Morton; Jacques Rivette's French period romance "The Duchess of Langeais," starring Guillaume Depardieu; and, in partnership with Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment, Christophe Honore's French musical drama "Love Songs."

The art house trio rounds out an impressive seven IFC features on the Toronto slate, including Gus Van Sant's teen drama "Paranoid Park," Cristian Mungiu's Romanian abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Hou Hsiao-hsien's fantasy "The Flight of the Red Balloon" and Catherine Breillat's erotic period romance "The Last Mistress."

"Mister Lonely" marks the return of enfant terrible director Korine ("Gummo," "Julien Donkey Boy"). With brother Avi, he wrote the story of a Parisian Michael Jackson impersonator (Luna), guided by a faux Marilyn Monroe (Morton) to an impersonator commune in the Scottish Highlands, where Abe Lincoln, the Three Stooges, the queen, the pope, Madonna and other impostors stage a gala performance.

In a parallel story line, director Werner Herzog plays a priest who helps give new meaning to the term "flying nun." French fashion designer Agnes B's Love Streams Prods., Nadja Roman and Jeremy Thomas produced the film with executive producer Peter Watson.

IFC acquired all North American rights to "Mister Lonely" and "Duchess," a tale of seduction and deception between a French socialite and a Napoleonic war hero in 1820s Paris. The adaptation of Honore de Balzac's 1834 novel stars Depardieu ("Pola X") and director Rivette's "Va Savoir" star Jeanne Balibar. Martine Marignac and Maurice Tinchant produced the film.

Red Envelope and IFC picked up all U.S. rights to "Love Songs," an unconventional musical about a love triangle gone awry following an unexpected tragedy. Honore ("Dans Paris") assembles a cast that includes Louis Garrel ("The Dreamers"), Ludivine Sagnier ("Swimming Pool") and Chiara Mastroianni ("Persepolis"). The feature, which has been a big theatrical hit in France, was produced by Paulo Branco at Alma Films.

"Mister Lonely," "Love Songs," "Red Balloon" and "Last Mistress" played In Competition at May's Festival de Cannes, where "Paranoid Park" and "4 Months" took home top honors.

The latter four titles also were selected for next month's New York Film Festival. All of them will be distributed through IFC's VOD/theatrical simultaneous releasing program IFC First Take. "Mister Lonely," "Love Songs" and "Duchess" will be distributed next year.

" 'Mister Lonely' was easily the most original and inventive film (that) premiered at Cannes," said IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring, summing up the appeal of each acquisition. "Rivette has made many great films, but 'Duchess' is perhaps the most emotionally moving and romantic film of his career. (And) 'Love Songs' truly redefines the romantic drama with its musical edge and unexpected intrigue."

Red Envelope head Bahman Naraghi, who has partnered with IFC on several releases, called "Love Songs" "lyrical and beautiful. … We're very excited to offer it to its widest possible audience through the Netflix service," Naraghi said.