Italy’s Coccinelle Film Takes World Sales on Veit Helmer’s ‘Gondola’ Ahead of Tokyo Festival Launch (EXCLUSIVE)

Italy’s Coccinelle Film Sales has acquired world rights to German director Veit Helmer’s poetic love story “Gondola,” which will world premiere at the upcoming Tokyo International Film Festival.

Helmer is well known on the international festival circuit for funny, fable-like films with little or no dialogue such as “Tuvalu”; the Azerbaijan-set “Absurdistan,” which went to Sundance in 2008; and “The Bra,” that launched from Tokyo in 2018.

“Gondola,” the tale of two cable car attendants who fall in love as they face each other going up and down the remote mountains of Georgia, is also told without dialogue.

“There are a few places on earth where you don’t hop on the bus in the morning, but on the cable car [instead],” Helmer said in his director’s statement. He added that “such a place in Georgia inspired me to write a story about two cable car conductors who always meet when their gondolas pass each other halfway.”

Regarding the lack of dialogue in “Gondola,” he noted: “I don’t feel dialogue and cinema necessarily go hand in hand,” adding that dialogue is best used in theater or radio plays. “From an artistic point of view, movies were more sophisticated towards the end of the silent era than today,” Helmer said. “But still there was dialogue needed during the silent era, which the audience had to read on title cards, in order to understand fully the narration. Those cards and cinema do not match either.”

The film stars Nini Soselia, Niara Chichinadze (“Wet Sand”), Mathilde Irrmann (“Bad Banks”) and Zviad Papuashvili.

“Gondola” is lensed by ace Georgian cinematographer Goga Devdariani (“Taming the Garden”) and scored by Icelandic singer-songwriter Sóley and British musician Malcom Arison.

The film is a co-production between Germany and Georgia produced by Helmer, Tsiako Abesadze and Noshre Chkhaidze, and supported by Eurimages, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, German public broadcasters SR, WDR, BR and Sky Deutschland.

Coccinelle is handling all territories on “Gondola” outside Germany, Japan, Georgia, Russia and CIS.

The niche, Rome-based distributor’s slate currently also comprises gay-themed drama “All the Colours of the World Are Between Black and White,” which launched from Berlin; Israeli filmmaker Matan Yair’s coming-of-age drama “A Room of His Own”; and Slovenian director Igor Šterk’s family drama “Lunatic.”

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