Rialto buys quartet of classic Gallic pix

Dsitrib adds Bresson, more Godard to library

Gotham-based specialty boutique Rialto Pictures has acquired a package of four 1960s French classics from the Argos Films library including Robert Bresson’s “Au hasard Balthazar,” opening Friday at New York’s Film Forum.

Bresson’s haunting story of the life and death of a saintly donkey in rural France and of the parallel downfall of the farmer’s daughter who named him was voted No. 19 in the 2002 Sight & Sound mag poll of all-time great films and No. 9 on a similar Village Voice list. It screened at the 1966 New York Film Festival but has never had a bona fide theatrical release in the U.S. Other national dates will follow.

Sprucing up

Rialto co-presidents Bruce Goldstein and Adrienne Halpern announced the Argos acquisition and will strike new 35mm prints with subtitles for each film.

Other titles in the package are Bresson’s “Mouchette,” and two films by Jean-Luc Godard, “Masculin feminin” and “Two or Three Things I Know About Her.” Rialto already has successfully re-released Godard’s “Contempt,” “Band of Outsiders” and “A Woman Is a Woman.”

Deal was negotiated with sales agent Raphael Berdugo of Roissy Films, representing Argos.

Founded by Anatole Dauman, Argos produced many of the masterworks of postwar European cinema and houses one of the greatest collections of independent cinema in France.

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