Streamer and distributor MUBI has acquired Ali Abbasi’s Cannes Film Festival competition title “Holy Spider” for the U.K., Ireland, Latin America and Malaysia. The film will be released theatrically followed by an exclusive MUBI streaming release.
The film follows family man Saeed as he embarks on his own religious quest — to “cleanse” the holy Iranian city of Mashhad of immoral and corrupt street prostitutes. After murdering several women, he grows ever more desperate about the lack of public interest in his divine mission.
It stars Mehdi Bajestani, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Arash Ashtiani, Forouzan Jamshidnejad, Alice Rahimi, Sara Fazilat and Sina Parvaneh.
The Variety review of the film praised it for its “laudable instinct for humanizing and dimensionalizing the victims and their families, who are poignantly depicted despite the brevity of their screen time.”
The film has been generating plenty of heat at Cannes. Feminist protestors stormed the world premiere of the film at Cannes with smoke devices.
U.S. sales and distribution company Utopia snapped up North American rights to the film.
“Holy Spider” is produced by Sol Bondy and Jacob Jarek, executive producers are Ditte Milsted, Christoph Lange and co-producers are Eva Åkergren, Calle Marthin, Peter Possne, Fred Burle, Vincent Maraval, Pascal Caucheteux, Gregoire Sorlat, Olivier Père and Rémi Burah.
Wild Bunch International is handling international sales and negotiated the deal with MUBI.
“Border,” Abbasi’s previous film, won the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes in 2018. The film was also nominated for make-up and hairstyling at the 2019 Oscars and was Sweden’s official entry for international feature Film.
MUBI’s co-production “One Fine Morning,” by Mia Hansen-Løve premiered during Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.
MUBI also picked up Lukas Dhont’s Cannes competition title “Dhont” and Un Certain Regard title “Return to Seoul” during the festival and competition title “Decision to Leave” before the festival.
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