Masters Of Cinema Cannes Acquisitions.

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We go through phases of concern, worried that Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second may come across as little more than a Jean-Luc Godard/Masters Of Cinema/French cinema [delete as applicable] fan-site. With that in mind, here’s the second Masters Of Cinema-orientated article in the space of a week. Brace yourselves, a third is coming too.

This morning Masters Of Cinema announced a couple of very exciting acquisitions from the Cannes Film Festival. With this round of acquisitions it feels like the team have really stepped up their game when it comes to contemporary titles, with a couple of major titles. The British home video label and sometime theatrical stable have been longtime advocates of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, having published the film in a landmark box-set several years before Criterion deemed it worthy of release. As such, they’re the logical home for The Last Of The Unjust, Lanzmann’s latest film that, in the words of MoC, “caps his investigations begun in Shoah“.

One of the great surprises of 2013, for Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second at least, a late convert to the delights of Sion Sono, was Why Don’t You Play In Hell? the japanese filmmakers great ode to the death of celluloid, that, true to style, found itself wrapped in a madcap, Tashlin-esque tale of gangsters and coming-of-age. While Why Don’t You Play In Hell? remains absent from UK distribution (the curse of the Hope Lies Top Ten Of 2013 p’haps?) Eureka today revealed that they’ve picked up his follow-up to that film, Tokyo Tribe. An adaptation of a Manga strip, Tokyo Tribe was filmed in the legendary Nikkatsu film studio, a locale which played host to an array of landmark Japanese films, from Imamura’s The Insect Woman to Bakumatsu Taiyô-den. There’s a nice set visit report here at Screen Daily, but beware, a paywall is in place so you can only click on it once for free.

The Last Of The Unjust.
Lanzmann’s The Last Of The Unjust.

In a third announcement Masters Of Cinema revealed that they’d also picked up Life Of Riley, the final film from Alain Resnais. Resnais’ death came as much of a surprise, in spite of the French filmmakers senior years, due to the adeptness with which he had been producing films during these twilight years. The film opened at the Berlin Film Festival just weeks before his death, with many expressing surprise that such a relatively spritely figure would succumb so suddenly. His later work, while very different from his more avant-garde, earlier output remans consistently entertaining, and while the word from Berlin was mixed on Life Of Riley that’s par for the course at this stage.

Speaking of divisive critical reaction, the Godard screens tomorrow. If such things annoy you you’re probably best avoiding our Twitter feed for much of the day.

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