Porn Industry Drama ‘Pleasure’ Moves From A24 to Neon

·2-min read

Neon has landed U.S. rights to “Pleasure,” an explicit drama that made waves at the Sundance Film Festival.

The movie, set in the Los Angeles porn industry, was initially acquired by A24, the company behind indie favorites like “Lady Bird,” “Minari” and “Uncut Gems.” It would appear that A24 parted ways with “Pleasure” over conflicts about the theatrical cut of the film. When it nabbed “Pleasure” in February, A24 said it would release the full uncensored version, as well as an R-rated cut, in 2021. Neon says it intends to premiere only the unedited version.

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“I’m happy and relieved that my debut and life’s work is in the hands of Neon who dare to launch the film with my original vision, raw and uncut, to the American audience,” director Ninja Thyberg said in a statement.

Neon adds, “We are thrilled to be working with Ninja on this incredible achievement and look forward to releasing it, in the director’s vision, as intended.”

“Pleasure” takes a look at the Los Angeles porn industry through the lens of newcomer Bella Cherry (portrayed by Sofia Kappel), who moves from a small town in Sweden to pursue her dreams of stardom. In the press release announcing the acquisition, Neon noted Thyberg uses nudity in order to “expose rather than titillate.”

It has yet to announce a theatrical release date, though Neon plans to re-launch the film with a special Los Angeles premiere screening at AFI Fest on Nov. 13.

Before turning it into a feature-length movie, Thyberg directed a short film called “Pleasure,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The extended version debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised “Pleasure,” calling it an “intentionally stark” and “disturbingly authentic” look at what the porn industry has become.

“A movie like ‘Pleasure’ jerks the skeevy, compulsive porn world out of the closet in a way that few movies have,” Gleiberman wrote. “That’s a brave thing to, and what makes it work is that Ninja Thyberg, revealing the instincts of a true filmmaker, uses her characters to discover the things she’s telling us.”

Neon recently released Julia Ducournau’s Cannes Film Festival award winner “Titane,” and intends to debut Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary “Flee,” Pablo Larrain’s period piece “Spencer” starring Kristen Stewart and Celine Sciamma’s drama “Petite Maman” in the coming months.

Neon’s Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal with CAA Media Finance and Pape Boye of Versatile.

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