Marcu Hu‘s Strand Releasing has acquired U.S. rights to Markus Schleinzer’s Michael. The Austrian-produced drama preemed at last May’s Cannes Film Festival and will have its North American debut next week at the Toronto Film Festival. All Toronto-covering journos are urged to catch it. Nothing is “shown,” trust me. And you won’t be sorry.

In my Cannes review I called Michael “a somewhat chiily, jewel-precise study of an Austrian child molester. It isn’t “pleasant” to watch, but it’s briliiant — emotionally suppressed in a correct way that blends with the protagonist, aesthetically disciplined and close to spellbinding.

“Because the titular character, a 30something office worker (Michael Fuith) is an absolute fiend and because the film acquaints the audience with the behavior and mentality of a child molester in ways that are up-close uncomfortable, a fair-sized portion of the crowd in the Lumiere theatre was booing when it ended. Those were the chumps in the cheap seats — the moralists.

“The people who know from film and especially a powerhouse flick when they see one were clapping, of course.

Michael is easily the most gripping and cunning film I’ve seen here. It operates way above and beyond the raw brushstrokes and the imprecise, at times florid manner of Lynne Ramsay‘s over-praised We Need To Talk About Kevin. Don’t even talk about Ramsey’s film at this stage.”