“Rebels of the Neon God,” the classic first feature by cult Taiwan-based director Tsai Ming-liang, is to get a U.S. theatrical release – some 23 years after it was made.
The film will bow at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Quad Cinema in New York on April 10, 2015, ahead of a major Tsai retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, N.Y., from April 10–26, 2015.
Distributor Big World Pictures is planning a nationwide release but has not yet confirmed other dates and venues.
Big World, which is also releasing several Eric Rohmer titles, signed an all-rights deal for the U.S. only with the Central Motion Picture Corp. in Taipei.
The film, the story of a student and a petty thief, is a precursor to much of Tsai’s work, which includes Venice festival winner “Vive l’Amour.” It features people living on the fringes of urban society, a minimalist directing style and fetish actor Lee Kang-sheng.
“Rebels” was previously represented internationally by Celluloid Dreams before they reverted to CMPC. It was released on video in the U.S. by Wellspring Entertainment, but did not have a commercial theatrical release.
“We’re delighted to be instrumental in finally bringing this overlooked classic the theatrical release it has so long deserved. The HD restoration looks terrific. We hope the release will spark new interest in Tsai’s lesser-known early films,” said Big World Pictures’ director Jonathan Howell.
Big World Pictures was founded in 2013 as an expansion of short film distribution wing the World According to Shorts.