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Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Cowboy Drama ‘The Rider’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 5/23/2017 Ramin Setoodeh
© Provided by Variety

Sony Pictures Classics has landed rights to North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe for “The Rider,” Variety has learned.

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight to strong reviews on Saturday. It’s the second project from writer-director Chloe Zhao, who made the 2015 Sundance drama “Songs My Brother Taught Me.”

“The Rider” tells the story of a cowboy (played by Brady Jandreau) as a once rising star of the rodeo circuit warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Lane Scott and Cat Clifford also star

 In his review for Variety, Guy Lodge wrote that “The Rider” “could be the stuff of many a corn-syrup country ballad, but gains artful integrity from Zhao’s favored docu-fiction technique — roughly tracing a script around the experiences of her non-professional actors — and dusty-dreamy visual style.”

It was produced by Caviar and Highway Films, including Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, and Mollye Asher.

It’s been a slow Cannes Film Festival, as the market has failed to produce enough titles that buyers have been excited about. Distributors have griped that the packages in the south of France have lacked star power, and most of the finished films sold earlier in the script stage.

Last week, Sony Pictures Classics also scooped up the in-competition drama “Loveless,” from Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev.

The Cannes Film Festival runs through the weekend.

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