The Weinsteins Take Control.

Control picked up for North American distribution

Harvey Weinstein announced on Monday that The Weinstein Co. has acquired North American rights to Control, the film centered on former Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.

Control, the feature directorial debut of Dutch music video veteran Anton Corbijn, cleaned up at the Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight, most notably taking Best European Film honors.

In addition to the Label Europa Cinema prize, Corbijn also received the Prix Regards Jeunes (Young Eyes Prize), awarded to a director's first or second feature film, and an honorable mention for the Prix Art et Essi, awarded for artistic merit and innovation.

The time was the late 1970s, and the post-punk explosion was just gaining momentum in England. At the forefront of this movement was a band named Joy Division. Formed by the former members of a band called the Stiff Kittens, Joy Division favored mood and expression over the aggressive stance that had come to define punk rock.

It was soon after the band was championed by Factory Records founder Tony Wilson that they collaborated with producer Martin Hannett on the album that would become their undisputed masterpiece - 1979's Unknown Pleasures.

But despite the band's rising popularity lead singer Curtis was not in good health, and his condition was gradually deteriorating due to a debilitating case of epilepsy. Unable to resist the temptation of another woman despite the fact that he was married and soon to become a father, tortured singer Curtis hanged himself in his Macclesfield home on the eve of the band's first U.S. tour.

The Weinstein Company was founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 2005 after the pair left the Disney-owned Miramax Films, which they had co-founded in 1979. The Dimension Films label of Miramax followed the brothers to their new company. Advisors to the new studio include Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Photo: Anton Corbijn
Material: variety.com, movies2.nytimes.com