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Jean Renoir’s ‘Beast’ Restored for French Release

Studiocanal will release the classic 1938 pic in November hoping to attract a younger generation

Buoyed by the extraordinary success of “Le Roi et l’oiseau,” Studiocanal will give a theatrical opening in France to its latest restored film classic, Jean Renoir’s “La Bete Humaine” (The Human Beast). A pristine print world premieres in Venice Classics today.
Based on Emile Zola’s celebrated novel, starring Jean Gabin and Simone Simon, Renoir’s “Beast” was set after the Popular Front won elections in 1936.

“The film has a perennial appeal,” said Sophie Kopaczynski, Studiocanal exec veep of communication. “It combines the talents of Zola and Renoir. Renoir set the film in modern times to express his social analysis.”

“The Human Beast” was “not in good shape. But it benefitted from a great restoration at Imagine Ritrovata, which made a 4K scan of the nitrate copy, then restored in 2K,” Kopaczynski said.

Setting a Nov. 27 release date, Studiocanal will distribute via one of France’s classic film distrib specialists. The restoration will also be released in Blu-ray and a box set edition on Dec. 3.

“To launch a big classic title, we try to launch it in a festival, such as Cannes or Venice. That is an excellent platform for the film. We make the marketing as modern as possible, to appeal to younger generations,” Kopaczynski said.

Bowing this summer, the acclaimed French animation, “La Roi et l’oiseau,” which took helmer Pierre Grimauld 30 years to complete, has hit some 45,000 admissions (around $375,000 B.O.) to date, and still counting, from a 100-plus screen count, a remarkable run.

Co-written by Jacques Prevert, and first released in an unfinished version in 1952, “Roi” influenced animators such as Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki, whose latest film, “The Wind Rises,” also screens at Venice.

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