The U.S. rights for “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, have been acquired by Focus World, a division of Focus Features.
The Oscar winner premiered the drama, which she also wrote and stars in, at Cannes last year. Based on Amos Oz’s memoir about his complicated relationship with his family, in particular his depressive mother Fania (played here by Portman), the conflicts within the Oz home are set against the wider backdrop of national tensions in a nascent Israel.
A theatrical release is planned later this year.
“‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ has been my passion for almost a decade now since I read Amos Oz’s masterful book and knew I wanted to adapt it into a film,” said Portman in a statement. “I’m so proud, and feel so lucky, that the film we made will be distributed by Focus World. It is a great honor to have their brand of thoughtful distribution delivering the film into the world.”
Portman previously revealed that she wanted to direct “for as long as [she could] remember,” but was hindered by “a shyness about being a woman and putting myself in [my own film].” The “Jane Got a Gun” star explained, “I remember as a kid, when Barbra Streisand would make movies that she was in, people would say, ‘Oh it’s vanity, it’s a vanity thing.'”
The actress credited Lena Dunham for helping her get over the fear of sexist backlash.
“‘Tiny Furniture’ was a revelation to me because — just the credits — I was crying because it said written by Lena Dunham, starring Lena Dunham, directed by Lena Dunham,” she recalled. “I was overwhelmed because I was like, look at this young woman… who has no fear about people thinking she’s vain. But it’s totally about women — no one has ever said about a man who puts himself in his films that it’s vanity.”
Once she finally got in the director’s chair, Portman found it to be a refreshingly authoritative experience: “It was exciting to have the position where people were asking me for my vision. I feel that they should have all girls do it in school.” She elaborated, “It’s sort of surprising, as a woman, when you’re asked your opinion and your direction and your lead hundreds of times a day. It’s good training for your voice and for the development of your own voice.”
[via Press materials]