There’s a new “Les Misérables” at Cannes, but worry not: Russell Crowe doesn’t sing in this one. Amazon Studios has acquired writer-director Ladj Ly’s debut feature film following its world premiere at Cannes. Variety first reported the news, including the detail that “Netflix was also believed to be pursuing the film, with insiders pegging the final price for the film at $1.5 million.”
Based not on Victor Hugo’s timeless novel but rather the riots that erupted in Ly’s neighborhood in Paris in 2005 — the same neighborhood, in fact, where part of said novel takes place — “Les Misérables” was co-written by Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti; Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral of SRAB Films produced it.
In his review of the film, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote that it “bears little outward resemblance to the epic story of Jean Valjean and his stolen loaf of bread. But Ly’s first narrative feature — a gripping and grounded procedural that probes the tensions between Paris’ anti-crime police and the poor Muslim population they torment and suppress — revisits the French suburb of Montfermeil in the present day, and finds that little has changed in the 150 years since Hugo first characterized the strife he saw through his bedroom window.”
Elsewhere at the festival, Sony Pictures Classics picked up Ira Sachs’ “Frankie” starring Isabelle Huppert, with HBO landing Asif Kapadia’s documentary “Diego Maradona.”
Amazon was also busy at Sundance, where it acquired “Late Night,” “Honey Boy,” and “The Report.” It most recently released “Peterloo” and “Photograph,” with “Brittany Runs a Marathon” and “The Aeronauts” among its upcoming offerings.
This year’s edition of Cannes Film Festival began on May 14 and will end on May 25.