Arguably, the two biggest winners of this year’s Cannes Film Festival are Bong Joon-ho’s family drama/thriller “Parasite” and Céline Sciamma’s breakthrough romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” The former won the coveted Palme d’Or, while the latter might have the most critical-acclaim (100% on Rotten Tomatoes) and picked up the Best Screenplay Award. And this is all great news for NEON, as the distributor has the rights for both and is positioning itself as the studio to beat this awards season.
NEON has officially announced release dates for both films, and it’s clear that the distributor is planning on having both at the center of awards season, hopefully taking the lead from last year’s foreign-language behemoth “Roma” and snagging some trophies.
“Parasite” will be released on October 11. Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” will follow a couple of months later on December 6. Obviously, NEON wants to give each film enough room to build buzz on their own, as well as make sure that both aren’t left out of the discussion come Oscar time.
Luckily for the distributor, while both films will likely compete against each other in the various Best Foreign Film categories at awards ceremonies, the films are ultimately very different from each other. This means that there’s probably no way that “Parasite” and ‘Portrait’ will somehow cancel each other out, considering one is a South Korean drama from a well-established, award-winning director and the other is an LGBTQ romantic drama, directed by a French woman that has been steadily rising in the ranks of international filmmaking.
For film fans, the awards talk doesn’t necessarily matter. Many of us actually do treat awards season almost as a sport, with films being treated like your favorite team and filmmakers as the star athletes, all competing for gold. But the truth is, all these release dates truly signify is that film fans will most definitely get the chance to check both out in theaters later this year. And that means we all win.