Drafthouse Films announced today that they have acquired the distribution rights to Pieta, the South Korean entry for the 85th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film award. The studio has released the first clip and a new photo from director Ki-duk Kim's festival favorite, which centers on a loan shark who re-evaluates his hardened life after reuniting with his mother. Take a look at the clip and photo, then read the official press release for more details.

Pieta Photo

Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced today the acquisition of North American rights to Pieta, from acclaimed Korean auteur Ki-duk Kim (Bad Guy; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring; 3-Iron) following its world premiere at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival where it won the 'Golden Lion' Award for Best Film. Selected as South Korea's official entry into the 2013 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category, Pieta tells the uncompromising story of a loan shark who is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. A limited theatrical and multi-platform VOD release for Pietà is planned for 2013.

Ki-duk Kim is a multi-award-winning director - the 'Un Certain Regard' Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the 'Leone D'Argento' Award for Best Direction at the 2004 Venice Film Festival and the 'Silver Bear' Award for Best Direction at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival - whose intense, violent and beautiful imagery has earned praise from both critics and audiences as one of South Korea's most celebrated and provocative voices. Leslie Felperin for Variety wrote that Pieta's "gritty, urban setting and thoughtful engagement with themes of revenge, sacrifice and redemption harks back to earlier films that brokered Kim's reputation as one of Korea's most innovative and talented helmers." For Indiewire, Pieta is a "curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels...recalls the like-minded outlook of No Country for Old Men." Here's what Finecut CEO Youngjoo Suh had to say about Pieta.

"It will be a great opportunity for us to start working with Drafthouse with Ki-duk Kim's Pieta. I was most impressed by their in-depth understanding of the film combined with an aggressive distribution strategy based on an equal amount of passion. We hope that U.S. audiences find Pietà as impressive as Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring."

Here is what Drafthouse Films CEO Tim League

"Ki-duk Kim is one of the most daring, provocative and accomplished filmmakers working today, and Pieta shows him at the top of his form."

Drafthouse COO James Emanuel Shapiro added this about continuing a tradition of excellence with international films.

"We hope this film brings the first, long-deserved nomination to South Korea, one of the greatest contemporary film cultures in the world. With one Foreign Language Academy Award nomination for this year's stunning breakout film Bullhead, we have high hopes to repeat."

The deal was negotiated by Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Youngjoo Suh of Finecut on behalf of the film's producers.

About Pieta

Hired by moneylenders, a man lives as a loan shark brutally threatening people for paybacks. This man, without any family therefore with nothing to lose, continues his merciless way of life regardless of all the pain he has caused to a countless number of people. One day, a woman appears in front of him claiming to be his mother. He coldly rejects her at first, but gradually accepts her in his life. He decides to quit his cruel job and to live a decent life. Then suddenly the mother is kidnapped. Assuming that it would be by someone he had hurt in the past, he starts to track down all the people he had harassed. The man finally finds the one, only to discover most horrifying dark secrets better left unrevealed.