The Dubai-based indie specialist has sealed a multi-territory deal with MUBI, the global distributor and streaming service, which includes the U.S., where the film will be released this fall, Canada, Italy, India, Turkey, and Latin America.
Pic has also been sold to the U.K. and Ireland (New Wave Films), France (Damned Films), Benelux (Mooov), Spain (Noucinemart), Germany (Grandfilm), Austria (Polyfilm Verleih), Greece (Ama Film), Romania (Bad Unicorn), the Baltics (A-One), Taiwan (Hooray Film), and mainland China (Beijing Hugoeast). Discussions are also underway with distributors in Japan, Scandinavia, Australia and Israel.
“We had an overwhelming response from distributors all over the world and very enthusiastic press,” said Cercamon’s Sebastien Chesneau. “Cinema is fully alive, and it feels good and reassuring in the current climate.”
Writer-director Koberidze’s sophomore feature begins with a chance encounter on the streets of the historic Georgian city of Kutaisi. Lisa and Giorgi are overcome by love at first sight, and agree to meet the following day. But the Evil Eye casts a mysterious spell on them, thwarting their plans. While the two are frustrated in their efforts to meet again, life goes on as usual in their hometown, where stray dogs meander along the riverbanks and World Cup fever has gripped the inhabitants. Will Lisa and Giorgi ever meet again? And will they recognize each other when they do?
Koberidze’s film, which Variety’s Jessica Kiang described as a “witty, warm, surprising modern folktale,” cast a spell of its own on critics in Berlin, where it received glowing reviews. “Is there an opposite to the Evil Eye? If so, that’s the gaze in ‘What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?’” wrote Kiang. “It’s just as uncanny, but primed toward romance and an unabashedly sentimental spirituality, calmly accepting and indulgent of invisible, supernatural forces, of those strange ancient magics that you don’t believe in anymore.”
In a director’s statement, Koberidze said his film was focused on the “forces—good and bad—that seem to have been locked out of our materialist world but now and then still show themselves.”
“I am interested in the respect for the inexplicable and the place such phenomena have in everyday life,” he continued. “The attraction of two people to one another is such an inexplicable thing. How is the thread strung that ties two people together, and why is it so painful when this thread breaks? Nobody really knows. The metamorphosis in the film to me is not so much an allegory or a metaphor, but something that happens in front of our eyes—everything else is a matter of interpretation.”