British distributor TartanFilms announced yesterday that it intends to sue UK producer Revolution Films over Nine Songs, the sexually explicit relationship movie directed byMichael Winterbottom.

Tartan said that it will suefor breach of contract and loss of profits amounting to some $3.6m (£2m) in theUK. Tartan said that it will also launch similarlawsuits for loss of profits and punitive damages in the US where it is in the process of launching a specialistdistribution outfit.

In a written statement,Tartan said that Revolution had "attempt[ed] to renege on the distributioncontract for the UK," and that Revolution's actions would prevent Tartan capitalising onpublicity generated for the film by Revolution and Tartan during the recent Cannes festival.

The film, which charts theups and downs of a young couple's relationship through eight sex scenes andnine musical interludes, was one of the hits of the Cannes market and is expected to make its festival premierein Venice in September. During Cannes French sales house WildBunch signed up to handle internationals rights in other territories.

"I have no desire to turnRevolution into the Kim Basinger of the 21stCentury, but [Revolution] have to honour their deals," said Tartan chairman,Hamish McAlpine. Tartan's statement also said that itwill "sue back to the Stone Age" anyone who attempts to assume its rights in Nine Songs either in the UK or the US. Industry sources, however, said that Revolution isclose to licensing UK distribution rights to another fast rising UK distributor with theatrical and video distributioncapacities.

"We had wanted Hamish to distribute Nine Songs, but hadn't agreed a deal. Then he was quoted in The Observer as saying: 'If Michael thinks I will bow to his desire to make cuts, he can think again,', said Winterbottom in a statement. "I explained that given that the film had been entirely financed by Revolution Films and that I had made it for fun rather than money that I didn't want to be distributed by someone who was telling me how to cut the film."

Winterbottom separately added that despite the disagreement over Nine Songs, Revolution is still hoping to work with Tartan on the distribution of Brit-art star Tracey Emin's forthcoming film Top Spot.