Craig Zobel’s sophomore feature caused a stir among audiences and critics when it premiered at Sundance due to the inflammatory story about a fast food worker subjected to a humiliating investigation by a man who claims to be a police officer.

Magnolia acquired US rights last weekend and plans a theatrical release later in the year.

Pretty Pictures will distribute in France after head of acquisitions Aranka Matits negotiated the deal with John Sloss and Ram Murali of Cinetic Media.

“We have been searching for a smart thriller for a while”, Matits said. “Compliance is an utterly chilling experience that triggers both discomfort and empathy in the viewer. It is also an intelligent commentary on obedience and blind trust in authority. Craig’s directing sensibilities as well as the performances are excellent.”

“It is very exciting to have the opportunity to share Compliance with French audiences,” Zobel said. “Pretty Pictures feels like the perfect home. I look forward to working with them.”

“We are always drawn to inspiring and thought-provoking films, and we certainly won’t say no to a bit of controversy if we can use it positively as is the case with Craig’s film,” Pretty Pictures president James Velaise said from Paris. “Compliance is a great fit for our upcoming 2012 slate and we will release it theatrically later this year.”