Art and Experience: Rama Burshtein’s ‘Through the Wall’ premieres in Venice Horizons

Kicking in its Venice business, Germany’s The Match Factory, often one of the most active sales on the Lido, has licensed Rama Burshtein’s “Through the Wall” for Italy to vet Valerio de Paolis’ new distribution house Cinema SRL.

“Through the Wall,” Burshtein’s second feature, is sparking expectation after her debut, “Fill the Void,” written under the acknowledged influence of Jane Austen, broke out at the 2012 Venice Festival to rave reviews.

“With ‘Fill the Void,’ Rama Burshtein’s impressive debut, there’s so much skill on display that auds disinclined to look kindly on pics presenting marriage as a woman’s ultimate goal will struggle to find technical faults,” Variety reported.

In “Through the Wall,” Burshtein, a formerly secular Jew who joined the Haredim, returns to the world of an Orthodox Jewish family in Tel Aviv. Its story turns on a 32-year-old woman. Machal,  who has set a date for her wedding – on the 8th candle of Hanuka. She has her dress and the venue; “God should not have too much trouble in finding me a groom,” she declares. But God and Machal are on a rather tight deadline, and Machal’s frantic dating and matchmaking has come to nothing.

“We are happy to continue our long-term relationship with Valerio de Paolis” said Michael Weber, The Match Factory managing director.

He added: “It’s an honour to be part of the slate of his recently founded company Cinema s.r.l. which will be the perfect home for Rama Burshtein’s heartwarming comedy-drama.”

De Paolis said: “We are delighted for several reasons: Firstly, continuing our relationship with Michael and The Match Factory, which has given us many successful movies over the years, is a pleasure,”

And second, he added: “We have this wonderful movie from Rama, which is great as a series of unfortunate events meant that we missed out on her first film, which showcased her talent. We are confident that her keen sense of observation and delightful characterisation will appeal to the Italian audience.”

“Through the Wall” re-teams The Match Factory and producer Assaf Amir, at Israel’s Norma Productions. Norma Productions Distribution will release the dramedy in Israel on Oct. 27.

Just as with the U.S. for mainstream independent titles and France throughout the year on arthouse fare, the caliber and quality of a film’s Italian distributor and whether it snags a sale to Italy before or at the festival are early signs of a film’s larger market potential as a movie heads to Toronto.

Launched by De Paolis in 2014, though it acquires largely European dramas, the Rome-based Cinema SRL’s movie pickups for Italy range from high-profile crossovers such as “Suffragette” to the more upscale mainstream (“The People vs. Fritz Bauer”), straight-arrow auteur films (Naomi Kawasi’s “An”) and re-issues (“An American in Paris”).

Source: Variety