Cinema Libre Studio has closed a co-production deal with the Algerian Ministry Of Culture to make a feature starring Maximilian Schell about the last days of Karl Marx.

The deal was just signed in Cannes in what the parties claim to be the first such agreement between Algeria and a US company. The Algerian Agency for Cultural Influence (AARC) will underwrite 30% of the $3.5m budget in a deal made possible by the Ministry’s Madame Khalida Toumi.

AARC general manager Mustapha Orif will oversee production and shooting will get underway in Algeria this autumn.

Philippe Diaz will direct the story of how the ailing Marx, without a passport and devastated by the death of his wife, finds safe haven in Algeria.

Mario Adorf will star alongside Schell as Marx’s longtime collaborator Frederic Engels and the cast includes Pierre-Loup Rajot and Abel Jafri.

“Karl Marx, at the end of his life, is a fascinating role for me,” Schell said. “And his humour makes him even more interesting.”