Emmanuelle Bercot’s “Standing Tall,” the first woman-directed film to open Cannes since 1987, has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Cohen Media Group, Variety reports. The earnest, naturalistic social drama, starring Catherine Deneuve and newcomer Rod Paradot, is planned for theatrical release later this year.
The film follows Malony (Paradot), a quick-tempered adolescent with a troubled home life, as he wends his way through France’s juvenile justice system, guided by a firm, empathic judge (Deneuve) and a kindly counselor (Benoit Magimel). Though “Standing Tall” has received mostly positive notices and may benefit from Deneuve’s international star wattage, the film is newsworthy less for its box office or awards potential in the U.S. than for its introduction of the expressive Paradot. “The first great discovery of 2015,” according to Indiewire’s Eric Kohn, Paradot, a woodworking student and first-time actor, described “sens[ing] a lot of love behind Malony’s violence” in an interview with Indiewire’s Nigel Smith—which may explain how he found such complexities in the volatile young man. Paradot is one to watch.
Cohen Media’s acquisition of “Standing Tall” is the second at this year’s festival, following yesterday’s news that the group picked up North American distribution rights for the Turkish drama “Mustang,” which screened in the Director’s Fortnight section.