Lotus International, the international sales agent and the U.S. distributor, Millennium Entertainment
, will open “ Elsa & Fred” theatrically on November 7.
Writer-Director Michael Radford
and stars Shirley MacLaine
, Christopher Plummer
, Marcia Gay Harden
, Scott Bakula
, George Segal
and James Brolin
team up to make an endearing film for many reasons.
The terms of endearment of Shirley Maclaine
here are those of love, pure love as she takes three small steps with Christopher Plummer
. Even at the ripe old ages of 75 and 80, love is young and ecstatic. And what memories septuagenarians and octogenarians have -- of Fellini, Anita Ekberg
and Marcello Mastrioanni defining new versions of love. This is a targeted film, made on a budget easily recouped.Christopher Plummer
plays himself as an elegant, gorgeous, refined and gentle man, disguised as an old grump and Shirley plays herself, defining herself as a stunning older woman as beautiful as she was when young. In her case, even her face work is forgivable and almost lovable because she knows, and you know she “knows” you know.
My memories of Rome were awakened by the beauty of the city, my memories of Fellini. This device of making love to the audience, so successful in Woody Allen
’s “Midnight in Paris
” by allowing the audience’s eyes to caress the city, is also effective here. The movie also triggered my memories of walking and talking at two almost back-to-back film festivals with Michael Radford
…for some reason I am thinking Mill Valley or Napa Valley in the fall and the Guadalajara Film Festival (Ficg)…where walking on new streets in new cities, we talked about our lives and his next film (which was not this one) and enjoyed being together in the collegial way festivals sometimes lend themselves to being.
And my memories of Shirley MacLaine
, when I was training at 20th Century Fox International in Amsterdam, so homesick that when it was advertised she was playing live, I went to her hotel and introduced myself as working for Fox and welcoming her to Amsterdam. Her first words were she did not work with Fox (was involved in a lawsuit with them?) which I was prompt to report back to my boss, David Raphael
. I remember especially her strong hand as she took my wrist and urged me to have tea with her at the hotel where she was staying and dismissed her entourage. We spent a good three hours talking about so many things, as I attempted to explain the Dutch and how I was experiencing my year in Amsterdam, and I felt so much better afterward.
The next thing I heard about her was when I went to 20th Century Fox’s home office to say my good-byes and they told me to go say hello to her as she was filming Herb Ross
’ “The Turning Point
” (1977) there on the lot of 20th Century Fox. I was too shy unfortunately to go see her. But it was a turning point in my life too.
This is a movie for women of “uncertain age”. It has a great cast, an accomplished director who is reflected in the character of Christopher Plummer
. We hope it might cross over, but its budget is reasonable enough that it need not break box office records in order to break even. I notice that Intramovies
, one of last two remaining independent international sales agent-production companies to remain standing in Italy (and both are owned by women of un certain age – Paola Corvino
and Adriana Chiesa of Adriana Chiesa Enterprises) is the producer who brought in Rome, the eternal city of sacred and profane love.
The film premiered at Afm 2013 where Inferno was selling it. Something has transpired over the past year and Inferno’s product or Inferno itself has morphed into Lotus International (That is a story to look into another time), just as the U.S. distributor, Bill Lee
’sMillennium Entertainment (“ Fading Gigolo
” by John Turturro
for Theatrical, Tv, Dvd-Video, Vod, Airline; “ The Assassin Next Door
”) by Danny Lerner
” by Clive Saunders
) and not to be confused with NuImage’s Millennium Films
, is rumored to be about to change its name.Lucky
for me, I had not seen the Spanish-language original of “Elsa & Fred” directed by Marcos Camerole in 2005. I had heard such great things about it over a year of festivals and markets, but somehow always missed it. That Argentinean-Spanish coproduction won nine prestigious international awards.
It also sold well, although late to the U.S. where DistriMax took the rights (2008). But that is how “foreign” films fare in the U.S. Independent producers and financiers abroad don’t even bother factoring in the U.S. market – except for remake rights, if they are smart enough. But the story and movie itself was so good that it accomplished a rare feat of distribution: it crossed the borders of Latin American countries, something that rarely happens, and sold to both Venezuela - Amazonia Films and Chile - Four Films and played well in Spain -Altafilms Grupo Alta Classics and Argentina -Columbia TriStar Films de Argentina
andLk-tel It also sold to Switzerland -Stamm Film Ag and the Netherlands - Filmfreak Distributie
, It even sold to Taiwan which is a greater feat for Spanish language films.
According to Box Office Mojo its international gross was almost $3,000,000:
Information courtesy of The Internet Movie Database. Used with permission.
o Elsa & Fred (2014)
o Director: Michael Radford
(I), Production Co: Cuatro Plus Films [Us]
o Country: United States , Filming Location: New Orleans,… More
o Genre: Comedy | Family | Romance
o Elsa & Fred (2005)
o Director: Marcos Carnevale
, Production Co: Shazam S.A. [Ar]
o Aka: Elsa y Fred
| Elsa és Fred | Intramontabile effervescenza
o Countries: Argentina | Spain , Filming Location: Madrid, Spain
o Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
The new and nearly word-for-word remake of the film has sold to Canada’sMétropole Films Distribution
, Israel’sUnited King Films Ltd and Diamond Films for Argentina, the distributor of “The Hunger Games
” trilogy and other exciting films. All three of these companies are top caliber which attests to the excellence of this film. If other rights are still available after one year, as they seem to be, this may the right time to acquire them – so listen up all you distributors out there in the world aiming at the cultured klatch of women who pay their own way to movies, theater, concerts and dancing! Reviewed at Wilshire Screening Room, October 12, 2014. Opens in theaters November 7, 2014.