“Anatomy of a Fall,” Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or-winning and Oscar-nominated film, is getting a theatrical release in mainland China.
The film will open in China on March 29, some two weeks after the Oscars ceremony, where it is in the running for five Academy Awards including best picture, director, actress (for Sandra Hüller), screenplay and editing. “Anatomy of a Fall” also just won a pair of Golden Globes for foreign-language film and screenplay (for Triet and Arthur Harari); and is vying for seven BAFTAs and 11 Cesar Awards (France’s top film honors).
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“Anatomy of a Fall” was passed over by France’s Oscar selection committee in favor of “The Taste of Things,” but embraced by Oscar voters. Its stateside awards campaign has been championed by North American distributor Neon.
The upcoming release in China is supported by indie distribution firm Road Pictures, which was founded in 2014 by Cai Gongming, an international film buff who was an auto industry executive for the first 20 years of his career. Road Pictures has become a leading player among a handful of specialty companies handling foreign indie films aiming at theatrical release in China.
Both Road Pictures and MK2, the film’s French sales agent, confirmed the anticipated release date but declined to explain the technicalities of the film’s importation into China.
China is understood to be currently loosening some of its restrictions on film imports, as well as experimenting with new means of distribution in its vast and segmented market. These moves including allowing companies outside the state sector to be officially credited as distributor and an experiment with a new system currently referred to as “branch distribution.”
“Our understanding [of branch distribution] is to give a chance to titles which don’t have blockbuster potential but still have more potential than niche arthouse releases. We believe it’s been tested with a few titles,” a Road Pictures spokesman told Variety. “In any case, we aren’t using this system for ‘Anatomy of a Fall.’ ‘Anatomy’ will receive a full nationwide release, like we did with ‘Capernaum’ and ‘Shoplifters’.”
The 2018 Palme d’Or winner, “Shoplifters” earned some $17 million in Chinese theaters. Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” earned more than $65 million, making it one of the biggest ever non-English-language hits in China.
Last year, Road Pictures was also behind the $110 million China haul for Japanese animation “Suzume,” and the $90 million for Toei Animation’s “The First Slam Dunk.”
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