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Cannes 2011: Oscilloscope buys 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'

May 23, 2011 | 10:38 am

Tilda "We Need to Talk About Kevin," one of the last remaining English-language Cannes competition titles without distribution, has found a U.S. home. Oscilloscope Laboratories, the company founded by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and ThinkFilm veteran David Fenkel, has acquired North American rights to the Lynne Ramsay film. It plans a winter release and an awards campaign.

Adapted from Lionel Shriver's novel, "Kevin" examines a mother (Tilda Swinton) who has lost the middle-class family life she once knew, which the audience learns about via flashbacks featuring her, her troubled son (Ezra Miller) and acquiescent husband (John C. Reilly). Ramsay's painterly approach to the harrowing material divided the Cannes audience.

The director, who spent years developing "The Lovely Bones" before parting ways with the project, last made a film nine years ago when she came out with the Samantha Morton drama "Morvern Callar."

Swinton is a natural awards contender, appearing in nearly every frame of the film as a complicated, broken woman. She won an Oscar in 2008 for her supporting role in "Michael Clayton," and was acclaimed for her multilingual turn last year in "I Am Love."

Oscilloscope has been known for acquiring difficult prestige material that puts sensibility over commercialism. Two years ago at Cannes, it made one of its first-ever buys when it acquired Kelly Reichardt's character drama "Wendy & Lucy."

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Tilda Swinton in Cannes, France, on May 13. Credit: Francois Mori / Associated Press