Amazon buys US rights for Cannes hit ‘Les Miserables’

File photo of the cast of Les Miserables performs during the American Theatre Wing's 68th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, June 8, 2014. — Reuters pic
File photo of the cast of Les Miserables performs during the American Theatre Wing's 68th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, June 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, May 18 — Amazon Studios has acquired US rights for Ladj Ly’s film Les Miserables, a debut work in the running for the top prize at Cannes.

Confirming a report in Variety, Amazon Studios, a subsidiary of the tech giant, said it was too soon to say if the film would get a wide release in US theatres.

Some films produced or purchased by Amazon Studios are meant to be uploaded directly to Amazon Prime for streaming.

This Les Miserables — not to be confused with the musical based on Victor Hugo’s historical novel — takes place partly in gritty Montfermeil.

It follows the early life of a policeman whose friends introduce him to the nuances of this city on the outskirts of Paris, home to newer immigrants and struggling working class families.

Directed by Ly, a Montfermeil local, the rare debut feature film to make the Cannes best list sheds light on his community and steers clear of cliches.

The only debut feature up for the Palme d’Or award this year, it was presented Wednesday in Cannes, as part of the official competition.

Ly filmed on location in his hometown, where he recently founded a free film school (Kourtrajme, a play on the French word for short film) to scope out new local talent. — AFP

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