The Empire Is Coming For Star Wars In Sci-Fi Satire

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

Prepare for the modern Spaceballs to take the United States by storm. In a thrilling development for fans of high-concept sci-fi and satirical cinema alike, Kino Lorber has declared its acquisition of all North American rights to the much-discussed sci-fi farce, The Empire. Fresh off its lauded appearance at the Berlin Film Festival, where it took home the Silver Bear Jury Prize, this Bruno Dumont-directed film could redefine how audiences perceive their beloved Star Wars universe. 

An Artsy Sci-Fi Spoof

The film blends avant-garde sensibilities, Star Wars homage, legitimate sci-fi concepts, and absurdist humor. It relocates the iconic feud between good and evil, so integral to George Lucas’s vision, to an exceedingly unlikely setting: a sleepy village in the North of France. 

This bizarre relocation provides a platform for Dumont’s unique storytelling, a sensibility combining absurdist humor and philosophic wit to significant effect. Besides The Empire, the filmmaker is famed for films like Slack BayLi’l Quinquin, and Coincoin and the Extra-Humans

If these titles don’t tell you enough about this aesthetic—nothing will. 

The Cast

Rest assured, Dumont furthers his exploration of all things bizarre and avant-garde in this newest venture. 

The film benefits from an impressive cast that highlights the bright lights of European cinema, including Camille Cottin, who dazzled international audiences in the French Netflix comedy Call My Agent!

The Empire Features Lightsaber Battles

The compelling performances help tether The Empire’s sprawling sci-fi narrative to Earth, no pun intended. Indeed, despite the absurdist humor, the movie nonetheless features legitimate, high-end VFX-driven spaceship battles and lightsaber duels. The point being–it doesn’t skip on the science fiction goodness. 

Dumont’s signature splashes of French cinematic flair enrich things, too; yes, expect a few gratuitous romantic scenes. 

The Empire Is Coming To America

Now that Kino Lorber has committed to the film, its ambitions stretch well beyond its technical theatrical release later this year. The distributor intends a comprehensive roll-out, including home video, digital releases, and educational content across all relevant platforms.

Dumont fans will know the partnership surrounding The Empire marks the sixth collaboration between the filmmaker and Kino Lorber, who’ve teamed up to provide international audiences with a range of quirky cinematic experiences. 

The Chairman and CEO of Kino Lorber, Richard Lorber, voiced enthusiasm for the upcoming acquisition and admiration for Dumont’s unique approach to storytelling and special effects. “We’re exhilarated,” Lorber stated, “to board Bruno’s latest excursion into the cinematic future.” The executive emphasized the director’s unique knack for merging genuine philosophic insights with visual spectacle, eventuating equally entertaining and thought-provoking films. 

When Does The Empire Land In US Theaters?

Due in large part to its implicit send-up of Star Wars—in addition to Dumont’s stellar reputation—The Empire has drawn immense interest worldwide. Distribution deals for the film are in place in several nations, including France, Italy, Sweden, and Indonesia. The film’s likelihood to go global demonstrates its universal appeal, especially given its connotations of the Star Wars franchise. 

Ultimately, with the film readying its North American premiere, one can’t help marveling at the enduring allure of sci-fi, in addition to the continual gravitas of Star Wars, whether in the form of homages, like The Empire or endless (for better or worse) Disney off-shoots. Expect the US theatrical release in late 2024.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter