Netflix has acquired Cannes festival prize winners Happy As Lazzaro and Girl for North America and Latin America.
Happy As Lazzaro premiered in Competition at the festival and won the best screenplay award for writer-director Alice Rohrwacher (in a tie with Jafar Panahi and Nader Saeivar for 3 Faces).
Starring Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher and Agnese Graziani, the Italian-language drama is about a young peasant assumed, in his isolated village, to be simple-minded, and a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Screen’s review described it as ”a delirious brew of modernism, folktale and fabulist invention”.
The film is Rohrwacher’s follow-up to The Wonders, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2014. Tempesta and Rai Cinema co-produced with Amka Films, Ad Vitam Production, KNM, Pola Pandora, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera, ARTE France Cinéma, ZDF/ARTE. The Match Factory is handling international sales.
Girl premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes and earned director Lukas Dhont the Camera d’Or for best first film. Victor Polster won the Un Certain Regard best actor prize for his performance in the Belgian drama, which also took the Queer Palm. Screen described the film as “an assured and empathetic feature debut”.
Polster stars with Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart and Tijmen Govaerts in the story of a determined 15-year-old who is committed to becoming a professional ballerina even though she was born a boy. Written by Dhont and Angelo Tijssens, the film was produced by Menuet, Frakas Productions and Topkapi Films, with The Match Factory handling sales. Girl is the first feature from Dhont, whose award-winning shorts include Corps Perdu and L’Infini.
The Netflix buys come after heated tensions between the company and Cannes leading into this year’s festival. The streaming giant announced the day before the Official Selection was unveiled that it had pulled all of its titles from consideration, in retaliation to festival chief Thierry Fremaux’s announcement that Netflix titles would no longer be programmed in Competition.
During the festival, Netflix announced a splashy $30m deal for robot animation Next Gen, although the deal is understood to have been sealed prior to Cannes.