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CANNES 2023 Marché du Film

Urban Sales whips out three aces at Cannes

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- If Only I Could Hibernate dazzles in the Un Certain Regard line-up, as does Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Pictures of Ghosts in a special screening and Faouzi Bensaïdi’s Deserts in the Directors’ Fortnight

Urban Sales whips out three aces at Cannes
If Only I Could Hibernate by Zoljargal Purevdash

Unfolding within the 76th Cannes Film Festival, the Marché du Film (running 16 to 24 May) promises to be a profitable one for Urban Sales. The French international sales agent directed by Frédéric Corvez will notably be riding off the back of three titles set to enjoy their world premieres on the Croisette: two in the Official Selection and one in the Directors’ Fortnight.

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If Only I Could Hibernate [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zoljargal Purevdash
film profile
]
by Zoljargal Purevdash sees Urban Sales once again leveraging off of the springboard of the Un Certain Regard section which worked so well for them last year with Chie Hayakawa’s Plan 75 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Chie Hayakawa
film profile
]
. Produced by French firm Urban Factory alongside Amygdala Films (the Mongolian filmmaker’s outfit), this debut feature film revolves around Ulzii, a poor but proud adolescent who lives in the yurt neighbourhood of Oulan-Bator with his family. He’s a physics genius who’s determined to come first in a science exam in order to win a scholarship. When his mum finds a job in the countryside, she leaves him with his young brothers and sisters to tackle the harsh winter alone. Ulzii has to take risks in order to look after his siblings and keep the house heated…

The team headed up by Florencia Gil will also be selling another film selected for the Official Competition: the documentary Pictures of Ghosts by Brazil’s Kleber Mendonça Filho (well-received in competition in Cannes thanks to his fiction films Aquarius [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Bacurau [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juli…
film profile
]
). Due to be unveiled in a special screening, the movie is a multidimensional journey through time, sound, architecture and cinema, within the urban landscape of Recife, the coastal Brazilian capital of Pernambuco, a historical, human territory explored via large movie theatres which acted as convivial spaces throughout the 20th century. Having played host to dreams and to progress, these places also represented a major transformation in social practices. An archive documentary combining mystery, film extracts and personal memories, Pictures of Ghosts is a map of the city as seen through the lens of a film.

The third major asset in the sales agent’s line-up is Deserts [+see also:
film review
interview: Faouzi Bensaïdi
film profile
]
by Morocco’s Faouzi Bensaïdi, which is set to be unveiled in the Directors’ Fortnight. Having scooped a prize in the 2003 Un Certain Regard section via A Thousand Months and having also spent time in Venice (WWW: What a Wonderful World [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Volubilis [+see also:
trailer
interview: Faouzi Bensaïdi
film profile
]
in the Giornate degli Autori 2006 and 2017) and Berlin (Death for Sale [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Faouzi Bensaïdi
film profile
]
in the 2012 Panorama section), the director is now offering up a modern western, of sorts, revolving around Mehdi and Hamid, two long-term friends who work for a debt collection agency. In order to punish them for their terrible performance, their managers send them to the stifling Moroccan Sahara to track down bad payers. One day, while at a petrol station in the middle of the desert, a motorbike pulls up in front of them. A menacing man is handcuffed to the luggage rack. He’s The Fugitive. Their meeting marks the beginning of an unexpected and mystical journey… The film is produced by Saïd Hamich Benlarbi on behalf of Paris’s Barney Productions alongside Germany’s NiKo Film, Belgium’s Entre Chien et Loup and Morocco’s Mont Fleuri Production.

Also worth a mention in the abundant animation line-up is a new movie called The Hermit and the Bear by Marine Blin (produced by Tant Mieux Production and Sun Creature). Added to this are films in production set to be pre-sold off the back of a promo reel, namely Into The Wonderwoods by Vincent Paronnaud (Persepolis [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marc-Antoine Robert
interview: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Pa…
film profile
]
) and Alexis Ducord (Zombillenium [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Fox and Hare – Save The Forest [+see also:
film review
interview: Mascha Halberstad
film profile
]
by Mascha Halberstad (Oink [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mascha Halberstad
film profile
]
), produced by Dutch firm Submarine, Luxembourg’s Doghouse and Belgium’s Walking The Dog, amd Slocum by Jean-François Laguionie (produced by France’s JPL Productions alongside Luxembourg’s Mélusine Productions), which will be presold based on its screenplay.

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(Translated from French)

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