The race among Italian distributors to acquire local rights to Venice competition titles is fast reaching its peak as arthouse outfit Lucky Red announced that it will be the local distributor behind Noemie Lvovsky's Venice 60 title Les Sentiments, new Italian distribution label Esse & Bi acquired local rights to Amos Gitai's Alila, and Fandango bought Michael Winterbottom's Code 46.

Sold by France's ARP Selection, Les Sentiments is about the love life and tragic turns of two couples. It stars Jean-Pierre Bacri, Nathalie Baye and Isabelle Carre.

Alila, Gitai's French-Italian tale about a group of people who live in a building in Tel Aviv, will also screen in Venice 60. Sold by Paris's Celluloid Dreams, Alila is among the first group of titles to be picked up for distribution by Essi & Bi, an offshoot of Veronica Salvi's Essi & Bi Rome production outfit.

Michael Winterbottom's sci-fi tale Code 46, which stars Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, is sold by UK-based sales agent The Works.

Meanwhile, Lucky Red has joined Mikado and Bim in the league of Italian distributors on a Venice binge: Les Sentiments is the fifth title in the official Venice selection to be picked up by Lucky Red's Andrea Occhipinti.

Also on Lucky Red's slate is French director Francois Dupeyron's out-of-competition title Monsieur Ibrahim, which stars Omar Sharif as an elderly Arab grocer who develops a friendship with a 12 year-old Jewish boy. The film is also sold by ARP Selection. Lucky Red will also distribute Fame Chimica, an urban tale directed by Italy's Paolo Vari and Antonio Bocola which will screen in the New Territories section, and Salvatore Mereu's Ballo A Tre Passi, the only Italian title present in the Critics Week sidebar. Earlier this month, Lucky Red also picked up Italian rights to hot Russian competition title, The Return.

Only a handful of competition titles are still up for grabs by Italian distributors. These include Ming-Liang Tsai's Bu San (Goodbye Dragon Inn), Carol Lai Miu Suet's Floating Landscape, and Jan Jakub Kolski's Pornografia (Pornography) .