This December, Terrence Malick is returning to epic narrative filmmaking in a major way with “A Hidden Life.” The historical drama debuted at Cannes to rave reviews, with many hailing the film as Malick’s greatest achievement since his Palme d’Or winner and magnum opus “The Tree of Life.” The latter went on to earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. Fox Searchlight was behind the release of “The Tree of Life,” and now the indie powerhouse is back with Malick for “A Hidden Life.”
“A Hidden Life” stars August Diehl in the true story of WWII conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, who was imprisoned after refusing to fight for the Third Reich. The supporting cast includes Valerie Pachner, Matthias Schoenaerts, and the late actors Michael Nyqvist and Bruno Ganz.
IndieWire named “A Hidden Life” one of the 10 best titles at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. In his A- review, film critic David Ehrlich raved, “'A Hidden Life' is a lucid and profoundly defiant portrait of faith in crisis. It's an intimate epic about the immense strength required for resistance, and the courage that it takes for one to hold fast to their virtue during a crisis of faith, and in a world that may never reward them for it. It is, without question, the best thing that Malick has made since ‘The Tree of Life.’”
If Fox Searchlight’s huge $12 million deal for Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” didn’t already make it clear the indie studio has big plans for the World War II romantic drama, then just take a look at the film’s new release date: December 13. Searchlight has announced the late 2019 theatrical rollout for the movie, positioning it as a late-breaking entry in the upcoming awards season.
“A Hidden Life,” starring August Diehl in the true story of WWII conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to near universal acclaim. IndieWire named the drama one of the festival’s 10 best titles and Malick’s single greatest achievement since 2011’s “The Tree of Life.” Fox Searchlight was behind the release of that magnum opus, which landed Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The distributor is hoping for similar success with “A Hidden Life.”
“After seven long years of wandering in the desert, Terrence Malick returns with a shatteringly powerful story of faith in crisis,” IndieWire’s David Ehrlich raved in his A- review. “‘A Hidden Life’ is a lucid and profoundly defiant portrait of faith in crisis. It's an intimate epic about the immense strength required for resistance, and the courage that it takes for one to hold fast to their virtue during a crisis of faith, and in a world that may never reward them for it. It is, without question, the best thing that Malick has made since ‘The Tree of Life.'”
Following Searchlight’s mega-deal at Cannes, IndieWire’s awards editor Anne Thompson reported the studio would give “a robust Oscar campaign for Academy voters, who will appreciate the gorgeous production values and timely political message.” The film is expected to bring Malick back to the Oscar race in a major way, as none of his films have earned nominations since “The Tree of Life.” Follow-up projects “To the Wonder,” “Knight of Cups,” and “Song to Song” polarized fans, but “A Hidden Life” appears to have gotten the director back on track.
“A Hidden Life” now joins Fox Searchlight’s other upcoming Oscar contenders, including the Natalie Portman-starring astronaut drama “Lucy in the Sky,” directed by “Fargo” and “Legion” creator Noah Hawley, and Taika Waititi’s anti-hate satire “Jojo Rabbit.”
Terrence Malick’s Cannes Competition drama A Hidden Life has been hailed as an impressive return to form for the U.S. writer-director. Buyers immediately began circling after the film’s debut here yesterday and Fox Searchlight has come out on top for U.S and a number of international markets in a highly competitive situation.
According to sources, deal is pegged at around $12-14M and was hatched overnight with CAA Media Finance and Mister Smith. Paramount, Focus, A24, Netflix and others were among buyers hot on the trail. The deal is one of the biggest ever at a market for a movie shot in Germany.
The English and German-language film charts the moving true story of Austrian Franz Jägerstätter played by August Diel, a conscientious objector who refused to fight for the Nazis during World War II. Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Nyqvist, Valerie Pachner, Jurgen Prochnow, Alexander Fehling and the late Bruno Ganz also star.
A Hidden Life is Malick’s first film to play in Cannes Competition since 2011 drama The Tree Of Life and many critics are calling it his best film since that Oscar-nominee. Malick attended the premiere yesterday which was greeted by a roughly five-minute standing ovation.
Mister Smith is handling foreign sales. France, Germany and Scandinavia were among the few markets already gone. Producers are Grant Hill, Dario Bergesio and Elisabeth Bentley. The film was in post-production for almost three years as the meticulous auteur spent his time getting the movie just as he wanted.
Cannes business has been solid so far. The excellent quality of the festival lineup has helped augment business in the market, which is awash with packages. Projects such as Moonfall, Down Under Cover, Operation Mincemeat, The Climb, Les Miserables, Sorry We Missed You, Harry Haft, Misanthrope and The Power Of The Dog are just a handful of those to have garnered serious attention from buyers.
Festival titles such as Rocketman, Pedro Almodovar’s Pain And Glory, and hard-hitting French drama Les Miserables are among those being talked about as potential awards season contenders. Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse has also drawn raves. Palme d’Or entrants Pain And Glory and Les Miserables are likely to feature in some form come this weekend’s prize ceremony.