EXCLUSIVE: Cinema Libre Studio has acquired a pair of films for its upcoming release slate: At War, the French-language drama about French union workers who battle their corporate bosses to save their jobs, and Piripkura, a Brazilian documentary about the uncontacted people of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The latter is on the long list for this year’s Best Documentary Oscar race and is getting a qualifying U.S. release later this month.
At War, which is aiming for a March 2019 theatrical bow, reteams director Stéphane Brizé and Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man, Mademoiselle Chambon). The semi-improvised social drama stars Lindon as a blue-collar union rep who acts as spokesperson for the 1100 employees of Perrin Industries, an automotive parts plant in southwest France who have waived bonuses and unpaid hours to keep the operation going for an additional five years. After German management orders the plant closed, the workers begin a labor strike, halting all operations to protest its impending shutdown and the move to the cheaper labor market of Romania.
The film won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and was released afterward in its home country. Cinema Libre is planning both subtitled and English-dubbed versions, the latter of which will be voiced by actual American union worker.
“It is the most important film I saw this year at Cannes,” said Cinema Libre CEO Philippe Diaz, who negotiated the deal with MK2’s Fionnuala Jamison. “It comes at a time when corporations and governments are systematically weakening the unions, especially in the U.S. People and workers need to understand that unions are essential to a democracy and that they need to be supported by any means necessary.”
Piripkura, directed by Mariana Oliva, Renata Terra and Bruno Jorge, follows Jair Candor, a coordinator with FUNAI (the National Indian Foundation), the Brazilian government body that establishes and carries out policies relating to indigenous peoples, as he searches for the last two remaining tribe members of the Piripkura people. Living deep in the rain forest, Pakyî and Tamandua live off the land relying on a machete, an ax, and a torch that was lit in 1998.
It will premiere in the U.S. in Los Angeles on November 26 at Laemmle Monica Film Center and in New York City on November 28 at the Angelika Film Center, with shows open to AMPAS members and the general public. It gets a digital release December 4.
The deal comes as new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recently pledged to abolish Brazil’s environment ministry, exposing the world’s largest rainforest and its indigenous population to increased logging and mining. According to FUNAI, here are thought to be at least 100 isolated groups in Brazil’s rainforests.