Kino Lorber Acquires Berlinale Golden Bear Winner ‘Synonyms’

Award winner from director Nadav Lapid to receive theatrical release this fall

Kino Lorber has acquired the North American rights to “Synonyms,” which won the Golden Bear for Best Film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, the distributor announced Thursday.

Nadav Lapid directed the feature loosely based on Lapid’s own experience as a young man who rejects his Israeli heritage and flees to Paris. This is Lapid’s third feature following his critically acclaimed “Policeman” and “The Kindergarten Teacher,” which Kino Lorber also released stateside.

Kino Lorber plans to release the film theatrically this fall, followed by a VOD and home video release this winter.

“Synonyms” stars Tom Mercier as Yoav, a young Israeli expat and ex-soldier who refuses to speak Hebrew and goes to Paris with nothing but his French-Hebrew dictionary and a backpack that eventually gets stolen. He develops a relationship with Emile and Caroline, a young bourgeois couple living below him, who aid Yoav on his search for rebirth and a new identity. As an outsider, Yoav seeks redemption in the form of studying French and immersing himself in his new homeland while rejecting his military background.

“After our success with Nadav’s powerfully original The Kindergarten Teacher a couple of years ago, we awaited with high expectations his next exploration of the human psyche. Synonyms totally blew us away. As formally innovative as it is narratively bold, the film reveals and conceals meaning in each frame. A major auteur has arrived and we can’t wait to host him on screens across North America,” Kino Lorber president and CEO Richard Lorber said in a statement.

Kino Lorber previously acquired last year’s Golden Bear winner from the Berlinale, “Touch Me Not” from director Adina Pintilie.

The deal for “Synonyms” was negotiated by Richard Lorber and SBS Films International Sales Manager Kevin Chneiweiss, who also executive produced the film. Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt from SBS Productions are co-producers, as is Maren Ade, the director of “Toni Erdmann.”