MUBI Acquires Timely Iranian Cannes Drama ‘Leila’s Brothers’ for Turkey (EXCLUSIVE)

Global arthouse movie streamer, producer and distributor MUBI has acquired all Turkish rights to Iranian director Saeed Roustaee’s timely Cannes title “Leila’s Brothers.”

A female empowerment drama set against the backdrop of a family crushed by debts linked to international economic sanctions, “Leila’s Brothers” won the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) prize for best film in Cannes’ main competition.  

The film, which is Roustaee’s third feature, follows from his tense actioner “Just 6.5,” about a cop trying to pin down a drug lord. This hit film, which exposed Iran’s heroin addiction plague, made an international splash and this year was nominated for France’s César Award for best foreign film.

“Leila’s Brothers” sees the 40-year-old Leila, played by Taraneh Alidoosti (“The Salesman”), as the titular character who has spent her whole life taking care of her parents and her four brothers. She has a plan to save the debt-crushed family from poverty, but obstacles tied to tradition get in the way.

“There’s no question that ‘The Salesman’ alum Taraneh Alidoosti, who plays Leila, towers over this male-dominated ensemble,” wrote Variety critic Peter Debruge in his review, in which he also noted that “Roustaee represents a new generation of Iranian auteurs.”

“Leila’s Brothers” looks set to resonate with audiences in Turkey where MUBI’s upcoming and past releases comprise Park Chan-wook’s Cannes prize-winner “Decision To Leave”; Céline Sciamma’s BAFTA-nominated “Petite Maman”; and Julia Ducournau’s 2021 Palme d’Or winner “Titane.”

MUBI, which has a unique business model that sometimes involves theatrical distribution prior to platform play, did not specify if it has theatrical plans for “Leila’s Brothers” in Turkey.

The MUBI platform offers a lineup of 30 movies. A new title is added each day as another is removed.

Earlier this year, MUBI bought prominent European sales company The Match Factory and its production arm Match Factory Productions.

Since then MUBI has also been on a buying spree, taking select territories for another standout Iranian title in Cannes, Danish-Iranian filmmaker Ali Abbasi’s “Holy Spider”; Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s Cannes competition title “Close”; and Un Certain Regard film “Return to Seoul.” The company swoooped for “Decision to Leave” before the festival kicked off.

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