Cannes: Cohen Media Scoops North American Distribution for Marco Bellocchio’s ‘Kidnapped’

The drama concerns a young Jewish boy who is abducted and raised as a Christian in 19th Century Italy

"Kidnapped" (Courtesy Cannes Film Festival)

“Kidnapped,” the new feature film from Marco Bellocchio, has been acquired for domestic distribution by Cohen Media Group, TheWrap has confirmed.

The drama, which played in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, concerns a young Jewish boy who, after being secretly baptized by his nurse as a baby, is abducted and raised Christian in 19th Century Italy.

The picture debuted to mostly positive reviews (76% fresh and an average critic rating of 7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes), with TheWrap’s Ben Croll noting that the film “doesn’t so much pit one faith against another, casting oppressors against oppressed; instead, the film sets individuals against larger institutions.” It has earned $1.14 million in Italy since opening there in late May.

Marco Bellocchio, along with his contemporaries Bernardo Bertolucci and Pier Paolo Pasolini, helped redefine Italian and world cinema in the 1960s and beyond. He created the landmark films “Fists in the Pocket,” “China Is Near,” “The Eyes, the Mouth” and “Devil in the Flesh,” among other films amid a career that spans over 50 years.

“We are happy to collaborate with Cohen Media on ‘Kidnapped,’” The Match Factory’s Laura Nacher said in a statement. “Marco Bellocchio’s latest is a powerful and important story that will resonate with American audiences.”

CMG’s Robert Aaronson said: “Marco Bellocchio has been revered on the world cinema stage for decades, and we are thrilled to bring to audiences this stirring work by a true master.”

The grim true story was once intended to be a film directed by Steven Spielberg, with the project announced back in 2014 as what was proposed to be another collaboration with screenwriter Tony Kushner. It was stuck in development hell for years, but at one point got so far as to have Oscar Isaac attached along with Mark Rylance starring as the Pope.

Spielberg eventually dropped the project, reportedly because he was unable to find a suitable actor to play the young Edgardo. He went on to direct “The Post.” Ironically, had his film progressed for an intended late-2017 release date, it might have squared off against Ridley Scott’s own true-life kidnapping thriller “All the Money in the World.”

“Kidnapped” is a production by IBC Movie and Kavac Film with Rai Cinema in coproduction with Ad Vitam Production (France) and The Match Factory (Germany), coproduced with the participation of Canal+, Ciné+, Bayerischer Rundfunk, ARTE France Cinéma in association with ARTE and Film-und Medienstiftung NRW with the support of Région Ile-de-France. It is produced by Beppe Caschetto and Simone Gattoni.

The film received support from MIC Ministero della Cultura and the Emilia-Romagna region
through the Emilia–Romagna Film Commission.

This deal for “Kidnapped” was negotiated by The Match Factory’s head of sales operation Laura Nacher and the CMG SVP Robert Aaronson. It is the second Cannes premiere to get picked up by Cohen following Martin Provost’s “Bonnard, Pierre and Marthe.”

This news was first reported by Variety.