Is director Sally Potter finally having her moment? While "Orlando" put her on the arthouse map in 1992, the ensuing years haven't been easy -- Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci and Focus Features could not help "The Man Who Cried" earn more than $1.7 million globally in 2000, and 2004's "Yes" was killed by a scathing review in Variety even though audiences at the festival adored it. That has still made Potter gunshy about festivals, Telluride in particular, where "Yes" was brutalized.
But the 63-year-old filmmaker changed her mind about Telluride with this year's "Ginger & Rosa" and it seems the gamble paid off. Met with strong reviews (including ours -- we called it one of the best of the festival), plus raves for the film's sensational lead performance by young Elle Fanning. The new distribution company A24 announced today that they have acquired North American rights to the film, which is a provocative look at friendship and betrayal. And better news for Fanning -- the picture will receive a year-end qualifying Oscar run followed by an early 2013 release. Does this performance put the preternaturally gifted 14-year-old into the Oscar race? On quality merits alone, yes. But it remains to be seen whether A24 will have the Oscar campaigning clout to make a dent with voters. One can only hope, as Fanning is tremendous in the picture.
Launched in 2012, and founded by film executives Daniel Katz, John Hodges and David Fenkel (former Oscilloscope chief), the fledgling New York-based film distributors A24 also recently acquired Roman Coppola's next film "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" starring Charlie Sheen, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, among others.
Set in early 1960s London, "Ginger & Rosa" chronicles two teenage best friends (Fanning and Alice Englert) whose friendship dissolves over romantic betrayals during the radical politics of their day. The picture also features an excellent turn by Alessandro Nivola (arguably his best outside "Laurel Canyon" or "Junebug") and its superb supporting cast which includes Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt and Jodhi May. Above is a new photo from the film. More pictures can be seen here and here. Here's the official synopsis:
London,1962. Two teenage girls – GINGER & ROSA – are inseparable. They skip school together, talk about love, religion and politics and dream of lives bigger than their mothers’ domesticity. But the growing threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over their lives. Ginger (Elle Fanning) is drawn to poetry and protest, while Rosa (Alice Englert) shows Ginger how to smoke cigarettes, kiss boys and pray. Both rebel against their mothers: Rosa’s single mum, Anoushka (Jodhi May), and Ginger’s frustrated painter mother, Natalie (Christina Hendricks). Meanwhile, Ginger’s pacifist father, Roland (Alessandro Nivola) seems a romantic, bohemian figure to the girls. He encourages Ginger’s ‘Ban-the-Bomb’ activism, while Rosa starts to take a very different interest in him. As Ginger’s parents fight and fall apart, Ginger finds emotional sanctuary with a gay couple, both named Mark (Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt), and their American friend, the poet Bella (Annette Bening). Finally, as the Cuban Missile Crisis escalates – and it seems the world itself may come to an end – the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered. Ginger clutches at one hope; if she can help save the world from extinction, perhaps she too will survive this moment of personal devastation.
Expect a limited release qualifying run in November or December.