LYON – French distribution company La Rabbia arrives at the Lumière Festival with a film little seen outside its native Denmark since its release in 1999. Titled “Bleeder,” it is the first film made by the controversial auteur Nicolas Winding Refn after his arthouse breakout hit “Pusher” (1996) and stars Kim Bodnia as a man pushed to the brink of sanity by his impending fatherhood.
“Bleeder” debuted to good notices at the Venice Film Festival – then immediately disappeared. Said La Rabbia’s Manuel Chiche: “Kamikaze, the film’s production company, went out of business, so the movie disappeared, except in a few Scandinavian countries. Two years ago, Nicolas bought back the rights, restored it and in doing so brought it back to the life it never had.”
Although the film is less than 20 years old, a major restoration job was needed. “This is [both] a digital transfer and a digital restoration,” says Chiche.
“The 35mm elements have not been restored directly. But the transfer is beautiful, and it will allow audiences from all over the world to be able to discover this movie which, to me, will allow NWR’s fans to understand where he comes from and who he is: a true and uncompromising artist with an accurate eye on the world that surrounds us, with an extreme sensibility and a powerful [desire] for excellence. And a very affectionate father!”
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Festival Lumière, says Chiche, has “always been very friendly to Nicolas,” being the place where they chose to launch his 2015 book “The Act Of Seeing,” a lavish collection of exploitation film posters.
“This is probably one of the best places in the world where you can show the well-known classics as well as the forgotten ones,” says Chiche. “The festival is very casual and well-organized, and directors love to gather there and have a direct relationship with their audience – outside Paris, for once. They present their movies, or the ones they choose, and go to see movies they don’t already know about, so it’s all about the love for cinema. We thought it was the best possible place to launch ‘Bleeder,’ which is the most intimate NWR movie and the basis for all [the films that came] after.”