Having operated in abelow-the-radar fashion until now, new French distributor Surreal Films isusing Cannes as its public premiere.

Headed by Dario Bergesio andPaul Blain, Surreal has already bought two films. First was the distinctly odd ReturnOf The Cagliostro, by Italian experimentalists Daniele Cipri and FrancoMaresco, which was snapped up from Cinico Cinema after Venice and Mifed.

More recent was theacquisition Owning Mahowny, an English-language theft story by RichardKwietniowsky handled by Alliance Atlantis.

Surreal is also set toco-produce Deaf, Dumb & Blonde, an atmospheric thriller to bedirected by US hyphenate and Jim Jarmusch associate Sara Driver. Bergesio, whosees his role as operation's acquisitions scout, was introduced to the projectat CineMart in January.

Bergesio says that Surrealaims to handle no more than half a dozen films per year, but that there is agap in the market for slightly more edgy films than most French distributors gofor. "Everyone seems to express exactly the same taste. We are going to lookbeyond what other people are doing," says Bergesio. The common thread linking Surreal's films so far appears to be ataste for the not quite real.