Some foreign films are getting nice holiday season surprises from indie distributors. Music Box Films and Kino are in a buying mood, as they have picked up Venezuela's Oscar contender "Hermano" and China's box office hit "The City of Life and Death" respectively.
Directed by Marcel Rasquin making his feature film debut, "Hermano" tells the story of brothers looking to escape their hard-knock life as they aspire to play professional soccer. The film has been making the rounds of the festival circuit this year picking up best picture wins at the Moscow and Huelva film festivals. Music Box Films have been one of the most intriguing players on the American indie circuit, propelling films such as "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "Mesrine" to both critical acclaim and decent box office numbers. The film is being prepped for a late spring release.
Meanwhile, Lu Chuan's "The City of Life and Death" has picked up as much acclaim as controversy. The film tells the story of the Nanjing Massacre in which Japanese soldiers pillaged China in 1937, killing about 250,000 Chinese civilians. Chinese critics criticized the film for its balanced portrayal, but regardless, the film was a hit in its native country and was lauded during festival appearances, picking up the top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2009. Kino will begin rolling out the film on May 11, 2011 at the Film Forum in New York City. [Variety/THR]