MUBI Buys Aki Kaurismaki’s Cannes Darling ‘Fallen Leaves’ for Major Markets

MUBI has acquired Aki Kaurismäki’s “Fallen Leaves” for major markets including North America following its well-received debut in Cannes.

The indie streamer and distributor also picked up the movie for the U.K., Ireland, Latin America and Turkey.

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The competition title from the Finnish auteur had a number of bidders following its world premiere on Monday. MUBI will release the film theatrically, with specific release plans to be announced in due course.

The film, which carries Kaurismäki’s signature deadpan delivery and comic one-liners, tells the story of two lonely people (played by Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen) who meet each other by chance in the Helsinki night and try to find love. However, getting together proves challenging given the personal vices they must first overcome. The tragicomedy is the fourth part of Kaurismäki’s working-class trilogy. Previous instalments include “Shadows in Paradise,” “Ariel” and “The Match Factory Girl.”

“Fallen Leaves” is the 20th film from the director, who previously won the Grand Prix and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury for his film “The Man Without A Past,” which went on to be nominated for the best international feature Oscar in 2003.

In Variety’s measured review of the film, critic Owen Gleiberman writes: “In the age of fragmentation, [Kaurismäki’s] films that have never changed are like time-machine trips back to the quirky gusto of the ’90s, when even an indie trifle dipped in Nordic despair could ripple, underneath it all, with optimism.”

The pic was produced by Sputnik Oy and Bufo and co-produced by Pandora Film. Alongside Pöysti and Vatanen, the cast also includes Janne Hyytiäinen and Nuppu Koivu. Financing came from the Finnish Film Foundation, Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, ZDF/ARTE, ARTE G.E.I.E, Filmförderungsanstalt, and Film-und Medienstiftung NRW.

The acquisition marks another deal for MUBI out of Cannes, where the market has been otherwise slow-going. The company revealed that it’s picked up Un Certain Regard title “The Settlers” for North America and the U.K. As revealed by Variety, it’s also among the final bidders for Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days,” which premieres in competition on Thursday. Before the festival, MUBI came on board for an all-rights deal on Molly Manning Walker’s “How to Have Sex.”

The Match Factory, which is owned by MUBI, is handling international sales for “Fallen Leaves.”

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