French classic film distributors/sales agents present slates, plans at Classic Film Market’s Distributors’ Day
LYON – Pedro Almodóvar’s primal colors looks set to soon be seen even more vibrant, as TF1 DA, the 700-title library sales operation of broadcaster TF1, plans to have 2K-restored DCP copies of the Spanish meller maestro’s early 12 movies –save “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down” – ready to be launched on the worldwide market over the next six months.
Meanwhile, France’s Les Acacias, a select buyer of international classics title for France, will also release in theaters four of the very best movies by Claude Sautet, the subject of another Lumière Festival retrospective.
Re-issues roll of TF1 DA’s purchase of CiBy Films’ catalog in 1998, and TF1 co-productions.
Restored and re-mastered, Pedro’s dozen titles take in his early Movida movies plus international breakthrough hits “Law of Desire” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “High Heels,” with Marisa Paredes and Victoria Abril, the underrated “Kika,” and his first work of full maturity, “The Flower of My Secret,” meshing a woman’s melodrama with his first return to the rural world of his origins.
Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar are overseeing restoration on many titles in Spain.
“We hope for some theatrical re-releases and certainly DVD/Blu-ray re-issues on many titles,” said Nils Hoffet, s.v.p., operations, TF1 DA. “Many distributors –who often handled the original features – are waiting for the restorations. It will be a real Almodóvar event,” he added.
In further upcoming re-releases, TF1 DA is also prepping a 4k restoration copy of “Black Tulip,” the 65mm Alain Delon swashbuckler, for next summer plus a 2K makeover of “Cinema Paradiso” and “Rocco and His Brothers,” due to bow in France next year.
TF1’s upcoming sales slate was revealed during the Lumière Fest’s Classic Film Market (MFC)’s Distributor Day Thursday, at which TF1 DA presented two flagship restorations: Jean-Paul Belmondo action adventure movie “That Man From Rio,” a Cohen Media Group U.S. pick-up and “La Vie de chateau.”
World premiered restored at Cannes Classics, World War II comedy “A Matter of Resistance” yokes high-profile Gallic talent: Jean-Paul Rappaneau makes his directorial debut; Alain Cavalier and Claude Sautet co-wrote; Michel Legrand composed; Catherine Deneuve stars. Les Acacias distributes in France.
The major MFC industry highlight, the Distributors’ Day, saw four Gallic classic films distribs – Malavida, Las Acacias, Cine Sorbonne and Sidonis Productions – profile French release slates. Four other sale/distribution companies – New York’s Cohen Media Group and Germany-based Europe’s Finest and, among French outfits, Gaumont, TF1 DA, Carlotta Films and Tamasa also made presentations, screening trailers or excerpts from recent or upcoming releases.
Repped by Liz Mackiewicz and Tim Lanza, Cohen Film Group’s Cohen Film Collection, reported Tuesday, impacted with its pristine 4K restoration of “Jamaica Inn,” starring a sybaritic Charles Laughton – “To live life as a gentleman, one must have wine,” he sentences – and Maureen O’Hara as the woman in peril. They also wetted buyers’ appetites for Chuck Workman’s bio-doc “Magician: the Astonishing Life and Works of Orson Welles,” featuring trenchant commentary, in some featured extracts, on Welles’ ostracism by Hollywood: One interviewee claims “Welles was an ideological challenge to Hollywood.” “I always liked Hollywood very much,” Welles himself says in one soundbite. “It just wasn’t reciprocated.”
Of new movies, Tilman Scheel, from Europe’s Finest, a collection of 130 film classics offered to digitized theaters across Europe, screened a clip from “The Hunt,” Walter Ruttman’s 1927 “Berlin, Symphony of a Metropolis,” a typical largely script-free impressionist portrait of the city, scored by Edmund Meisel whose documentary touches were before its time, noted Scheel. He also talked up 1928’s “Under the Lantern,” from director-screenwriter, Gerhard Lamprecht, also founder of the German Cinemathèque, who found even lager success three years later with “Emile and the Detectives,” with a screenplay by a young Billy Wilder.
At Gaumont, communication director Ariane Toscan du Plantier led the presentation of a mouth-watering presentations of its slate featuring, among other titles, a sumptuous coronation scene from 1989’s “Boris Godounov,” from Pole Andrei Zulawski (“Possession”), to bow on Blu-ray in France Nov. 19, adapting Mussorgsky’s opera; a clip from Max Ophuls’ 1953 “The Earrings of Madame De..,” described by Andrew Sarris as “the most perfect film ever made,” and Louis Malle’s debut, the noirish thriller “Lift to the Scaffold,” featuring a memorable Jeanne Moreau and hailed as the movie that bought the flag down on France’s Nouvelle Vague.
Repping Malavida, a French theatrical/DVD distributor specializing in ‘60s “new wave” fare, Anne-Loure Brénéol and Lionel Ithurralde, who release some five titles a year, unveiled flagship titles, 1968 Foreign-Language Oscar winner “Closely Watched Trains,” a World War II-set sardonic coming-of-age tale from Czech Jiri Menzel, and 1965’s “Love 65,” from Bo Widerberg, a director who popularized more political and improvisational Nouvelle Vague-style cinema in Sweden. “Love 65” co-stars Ben Carruthers, seen in John Cassavetes’ debut “Shadows.” “Trains” plays the Lumiére Festival; Menzel will come to Paris for the theatrical bow, on about 25 screens, in a fortnight, Brénéol said.
Among new French bows at Les Acacias, which handles theatrical distribution on classics and first-run releases, are Joseph Losey’s 1976 identity drama “Mr. Klein,” a World War II project brought to the director by Alain Délon, as the French director recounted in a interview screened by Les Acacias Jean-Fabrice Janaudy, which won Cesars for best picture and director.
Often representing significant libraries – Studiocanal, TF1 DA – Les Acacias will open the same nine Claude Sautet titles which Tamasa distributes internationally. It will open in December and January four Sautet movies, all with Romy Schneider, in theaters over December/January: “The Things of Life,” “Cesar & Rosalie,” “Max and the Junkmen,” “Vincent, François, Paul and the Others.”
At Carlotta Films, Ines Delvaux took the Classic Film Market audience through the energetic new theatrical launch on Oct. 29 of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in France, which, as reported by Variety, will try to bow theatrically on 100 screens. Presented by Nicolas Wending Refn at Cannes, movie’s original French release was delayed when French film authorities demanded cuts director Tobe Hooper was not willing to make.
Delvaux also screened a trailer for William Wellman’s “Wings” the 1927 Paramount masterpiece, up for a Nov. 5 theatrical bow, plus trailers for Richard Lester’s Beatles vehicle “Hard Day’s Night,” a December release – Ringo Starr questioned: “’Are you a mod or rocker’: Retort: ‘I’m a mocker,’” and Vittorio De Sica’s “Marriage, Italian Style,” which won Sophia Loren a best actress Academy Award nomination.
A French distributor and international sales agent, which sources Studiocanal and Argos Films titles, Tamasa Distribution’s recent and upcoming releases include: a seven-title Alec Guiness and Friends collection, Carlos Saura’s sexual repression-themed “Peppermint Frappé,” featuring a young Geraldine Chaplin as the object of a photographer’s desire; and 1959’s “Placido,” one of the greatest films by great Spanish director Luis Berlanga whose 1963 “The Executioner” makes Pedro Almodovar’s Lumiere Festival selection, Homage to Spanish Cinema.
Of other speakers at the Distributors’ Day, Cine-Sorbonne’s Jean-Max Causse said he would also increase theatrical distribution. Sidonis’ Alain Carradore unveiled a slew of buys, principally of American classics for video release, such as John Wayne vehicle “McClintock,” Joseph H. Lewis’ “Terror in Texas” and 1971’s “Doc,” with Stacey Keach and Faye Dunaway.