Amazon Studios has acquired Ladj Ly‘s sociopolitical film “Les Misérables” for a reported $1 million to $2 million deal, a purchase straight from Cannes Film Festival. As reported on by Deadline, the film follows the intersection of police and community during the riots of Paris, France. With Amazon picking up the film, it makes it the biggest Cannes sale for a first-time director out of the Croisette.
From the Deadline article:
Inspired by the 2005 Paris riots, and Ly’s César-nominated short film of the same name, Les Misérables takes a provocative look into the tensions between neighborhood residents and police. It centers on Stéphane (Damien Bonnard), who has recently joined the anti-crime brigade in Montfermeil, the Paris suburb where Victor Hugo set his classic novel Les Misérables. Alongside his new colleagues Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djibril Zonga) — both experienced members of the team — he quickly discovers tensions running high between local gangs. When the trio finds themselves overrun during the course of an arrest, a drone captures the encounter, threatening to expose the reality of everyday life.
After the 2005 Paris riots, Ly was triggered by the death of two youths who were hiding in an electricity substation in Clichy-sous-Bois, and he decided to film his neighborhood for a year to make a documentary entitled 365 Days In Clichy-Montfermeil. He continued his work on documentaries, and in 2014 directed 365 Days In Mali, which spotlighted a region in turmoil where militias and Tuaregs were preparing for war.
The film has garnered considerable praise since its premiere screening. Barbara Scharess of RogerEbert.com says it’s “heartfelt in how it conveys an authentic-feeling sense of the helpless fear and the raw animal impulse for revenge experienced by the people who are the subjects of gratuitous abuses of power.”
Wild Bunch is handling international sales and CAA Media Finance is representing the U.S. rights to distribution. Lily Films, Rectangle Productions and Srab Films are producing the film, which marks an impressive buy out of Cannes from its debut screening.