Start-up Dutch distributor Bright Angel achieved something of a coup by snatching Benelux rights to hot Venice competition title Zatoichi. The film is possibly director Takeshi Kitano's most commercial and accessible to western audiences for several years.

Bright Angel, which only launched in May, also bought Italian title Ora O Mai Piu by director Lucio Pelligrini, which recently appeared in Locarno. The sale was handled by Intramovies.

The Kitano film about a blind masseur who is also a master swordsman is a favourite with the Venice press pack and with distributors. Its sales agency Celluloid Dreams is holding multiple offers from most major territories, but may not close deals until next week. However, it will have to resist obvious interest from hardball player Miramax, whose co-chief Harvey Weinstein was seated immediately behind Kitano at the gala screening last night (Tuesday 2 Sept).

Bright Angel, which is run by Chris Oosterum and Patrizia Raeli, will handle the film in The Netherlands with sub-distribution in Belgium through CineArt-CineLibre. They were encouraged to make the deal by expectations that Kitano will return to Europe for next January's Rotterdam festival.