Italy's Mikado, fresh from a hefty cash boost by new multimedia shareholder De Agostini, continues to raise its international profile by boarding as a co-producer two new films from world-renown filmmakers: Aleksander Sokurov's Father And Son and Jafar Panahi's Gold, which was co-written with another festival favourite, Abbas Kiarostami. Both films are being sold internationally by Paris-based Celluloid Dreams.
Sokurov's immediate follow-up to his recent technical tour de force Russian Ark, Father And Son is inspired from his own 1997 feature, Mother And Son, which focused on a dying mother nursed by her devoted son.
Here, Sukorov tells the story of a father and son who live together in a St. Petersburg apartment. Following the mother's death, they have created a world of memories and rituals and are both trying to help each other cope - although they each have their own secrets.
Scripted by Sokurov and Serguei Potepalov, Father And Son stars Andrej Shetinin and Aleksej Nejmyshev. The film is now set up as a European co-production between Mikado, Berlin-based Zero Films and France's Lumen Films.
Panahi, who won the Venice Golden Lion in 2000 with his last movie, The Circle, has set his new movie against the backdrop of Teheran nightlife. Gold focuses on two friends who have chosen to make an honest - if inadvertedly adventurous - living by working as pizza deliverymen, in spite of a host of dubious offers from the crooks in their entourage.
Shooting now, the Farsi-language drama was co-written by Panahi with his compatriot Kiarostami, Panahi is also producing through his own production outfit, Jafar Panahi Productions.
Meanwhile, Mikado says it has acquired Italian distribution rights to Claude Chabrol's upcoming film, The Flower Of Evil (La Fleur Du Mal). Sold by MK2 International, La Fleur Du Mal explores feelings of guilt linked to collaboration with the Nazis in World War II and stars Nathalie Baye and Benoit Magimel, together with Suzanne Flon, Bernard Le Coq and Melanie Doutey.
The veteran arthouse distributor's new acquisitions also include Love's Brother, a romantic comedy from Shine scriptwriter Jan Sardi about an ugly guy who uses a photo of his handsome brother to convince a beautiful Italian girl to marry him. Currently in pre-production, the film is sold by Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films.
Mikado has also bought Italian distribution rights to Hanway's Young Adam, an adaptation of Alexander Trocchi 1954 existential thriller which is directed by David MacKenzie and stars Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton and Peter Mullan.