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Destiny (Der müde Tod) (1921) | Fritz Lang’s expressionist fable of life… and death gets a definitive restored release

Destiny (1921)

Before dazzling audiences with Metropolis, M, and Spione, German director Fritz Lang dabbled with bending cinematic conventions in his 1921 German folksong in six verses, Der müde Tod (literally, The Weary Death).

Destiny (1921)

A young woman (Lil Dagover) confronts the personification of Death (Bernhard Goetzke), in an effort to save the life of her fiancé (Walter Janssen). Death then weaves three romantic tragedies set in Persia, Quattrocento Venice and ancient China, and offers to unite the girl with her lover, if she can prevent the death of the lovers in at least one of the episodes…

Destiny (1921)

Fusing German Romanticism, Orientalism, and Expressionism with evocative expressionist imagery and featuring special effects work never seen before, Der müde Tod has often been overlooked amongst Lang’s early work, but was the springboard for the über-stylised filmmaking that would culminate in such genre-defining masterpieces as Die Nibelungen and Metropolis.

Destiny (1921)

Now in a new 2k restoration, this new presentation of the lost classic preserves the original German intertitles and simulates the historic colour tinting and toning of its initial release, and is accompanied by a newly-composed score by Cornelius Schwehr, which was originally performed by the 70-member Berlin Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra.

Eureka Entertainment is proud present Lang’s classic as part of their Masters of Cinema Series in a definitive Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition, available from 17 July 2017.

ORDER HERE: http://amzn.to/2kV2YsC

WHAT THE PRESS SAID – IN 1921

‘Based on inwardness and intellectual mastery, this work by author / director Fritz Lang veers off the beaten track of your average movie. It does not seek to stun the senses of the viewer with a huge contingent of people and material, but provides real, inspired art. Individual images surprise us with their picturesque beauty, capturing the essence of the German folk song in its simple sincerity.’ Abendblatt (October 7, 1921)

‘Fact and fiction skilfully interwoven, cheerful and serious moments, much bitter truth, sometimes literature, sometimes Karl May or Munchausen. Just like life itself. And above all love. Only death is more powerful.’ Wolfgang Fischer, Neue Zeit Charlottenburg (October 5, 1921)

‘A new, interesting style of film: the sweeping ballad. Half fairy-tale dream, half reality, carefully crafted.’ Erich Effler, Film und Presse no. 37/38 (1921)

Destiny (1921)

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Edvard Munch (1974) | Peter Watkins’ acclaimed biopic about the expressionist painter of The Scream

Edvard Munch (1974)

From Eureka Entertainment comes the Blu-ray release of the 1974 biopic on Edvard Munch, the famed Norwegian Expressionist painter of The Scream, who was born 153 years ago today in 1863 and died, aged 80, on 23 January 1944.

Described by Ingmar Bergman as ‘a work of genius’, the Bafta-winning film found British director Peter Watkins’ using his revolutionary vérité style (which he developed in The War Game and Punishment Park) to paint a compelling portrait of the famed artist and a vivid picture of the emotional, political, and social upheavals that informed his art.

Edvard Munch (1974)

In late 19th century Kristiania (now Oslo), the young artist (played by Geir Westby) has an affair with ‘Mrs. Heiberg’, a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Critics and public alike attack his work and he is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe…

Edvard Munch (1974)

The Masters of Cinema Series Blu-ray presentation includes the director-approved high-definition restoration of extended 221-minute, optional SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, and a collector’s booklet with a Peter Watkins self-interview, writing by Joseph Gomez, a Munch timeline, and numerous artworks.

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Fedora (1978) | Billy Wilder’s last great film shines a spotlight on the ugly face of Hollywood

Fedora (1978)

‘Youth had been a habit of hers for so long that she could not part with it’
When Fedora (Marthe Keller), the world’s most famous, ageless film star dies, having thrown herself in front of a train, her one-time lover, Hollywood has-been producer Dutch (William Holden), feels a sense of guilt about hounding her in starring in a new version of Anna Karenina. But, at her funeral, he learns a terrible truth…


Fedora (1978)

You’ll get a real sense of nostalgia watching Billy Wilder’s penultimate film, Fedora (1978), as it bookends his Oscar-winning 1950’s classic Sunset Boulevard, and – for all intents and purposes – this is his sun-drenched farewell to a Hollywood changed forever.

I was drawn to the film not because of Wilder, but for William Holden, who hit his stride in the 1950s before becoming a veteran for hire in 1970s genre favourites like The Towering Inferno, Damien: Omen II and Network. His grizzled has-been Dutch is not unlike his down-at-heel screenwriter Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard, and he again uses on that fabulous smoky growl. And it’s his narration that drives the story, based on Tom Tyron’s novella, which begins as a mystery before the big reveal…

Fedora (1978)

You see, time has not been kind to the 67-year-old Fedora, who has a plastic surgeon (José Ferrer) on call 24-7 to keep her looking youthful, while the wheelchair-bound Countess (Hildegard Knef) relies on her servant (Frances Sternhagen) and chauffeur (Gottfried John) to keep Fedora out of the public eye and out of trouble. She also fears that the public will be mortified to learn that Fedora not only has a drug addiction – she also has an unhealthy obsession for the actor, Michael York…

Fedora (1978)

The other reason I was drawn to the film was because of Tom Tyron (1926-1991). Ever since he ditched acting in the late-1960s, he went on to craft some fascinating horror, mystery and sci-fi novels, some of which were adapted for the big and small screen, like the American Gothic chiller The Other (1971).

His original novella is all about an obsession with youth, and his Fedora is portrayed as an addict desperate for her latest fix from her surgeon. It’s a character that certainly belongs in the pantheon of Grande Dame Guignol – and a sense of that creeps into Wilder’s film, especially in the relationship between Fedora and the Countess (they reminded me of real-life sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine).

Fedora (1978)

Taking Tyron’s premise, Wilder then weaves in his own in-jokes to shine his old-style Fresnel lanterns on the ugly face of Hollywood and its acquiescence to youth-orientated culture that has seen the old guard replaced by bearded pot-heads waving a camera around.

Golden Age aficionados, meanwhile, will be richly rewarded with references that pay homage to screen legends like Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford, music that evokes The Third Man; Euro horror settings and visuals; and campy colourful Douglas Sirk-styled melodramatics. Not to mention an OTT funeral that’s to die for. As the Countess says, it’s ‘Magic Time!’

The new high-definition presentation of Fedora on dual format (Blu-ray & DVD) from Eureka! includes English subtitles, deleted scenes, a restoration comparison and a collector’s booklet featuring essays on the film and archival images.

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That Cold Day in the Park (1969) | This forgotten gem from American master Robert Altman is electrifying

That Cold Day in the Park (1969)

Before he found fame with M*A*S*H, Robert Altman crafted the unsettling 1969 psychological thriller, That Cold Day in the Park, which gets a UK Blu-ray/DVD release from Eureka Entertainment.

That Cold Day in the Park_3


Wealthy thirtysomething spinster Frances (Sandy Dennis) lives in a stiflingly bourgeois world of elderly suitors and domestic routine. But when she invites a seemingly mute and homeless hippy (Michael Burns) into her Vancouver apartment, her seemingly spontaneous act of charity reveals pent-up desires that soon turn into neurotic delusion.


That Cold Day in the Park_1

Sandy Dennis’ measured performance drives this compelling tale that anticipates Altman’s ‘women on the verge’ films Images and 3 Women. Giving audiences an early taste of the director’s anti-genre approach to cinema, it eschews the camp hysterics of the Grand Dame Guignol of Whatever Happened to… Baby Jane and Aunt Alice for subtle subversiveness. And this is manifested through Dennis’ troubled Francis, whose repressed feelings are met with humiliation and sexual trauma that sends her careering over the edge, while the fate of Burns’ free spirited stranger proves that nothing in life is ever truly free.

That Cold Day in the Park_2

Coupled with the gripping performances of the two leads is László Kovács’ dark, but luminous photography and Altman’s experimental visual touches (voyeuristic long lenses, distorted reflections and drifting zooms) that lends the psychological drama its all-pervading atmosphere of unease that builds and builds until the harrowing final scene.

Part of Eureka Entertainment’s Masters of Cinema Series, this dual-format edition includes a new high-definition transfer and an enlightening interview with Altman on Altman author David Thompson.

 

Fellini-Satyricon (1969) | This ‘far-out’ Roman orgy is an intoxicating visual feast in 4K HD

Satyricon (1969) Blu-rayThis picture will be a science fiction… a trip back in time… into an unknown dimension’. ‘There is no end, no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life. Everything is divine… if one looks with innocent eyes’.

Rome. Before Christ. After Fellini.
Fellini-Satyricon isn’t about some crazy cosplay convention for mythical goat-like creatures, but a visionary 1960s satire in which the legendary Italian director was at his most Fellini-esque. Having played a Dantesque pilgrim exploring Rome (aka his ‘city of illusion’) in his septimal 1960’s masterpiece La Dolce Vita, and going all self-reflexive and avant-garde in 1963’s , Fellini’s next Rome epic went back into a distant age, a time when excess was the ‘piatto del giorno’. Visionary, vulgar, phantasmagorical, and very queer indeed, Fellini-Satyricon is a fantastical spectacle that brings to exuberant existence the kind of frescos that would be unearthed (ever so briefly) in Fellini’s 1972 surreal travelogue, Roma and indeed appear in Satyricon‘s closing scenes.

Satyricon (1969) Blu-ray

Man standing alone before the fascinating mystery of life, all its terror, its beauty, and its passion’ is at the heart of Fellini’s episodic dream tapesty, loosely based on Gauis Petronius’ late 1st-century AD Roman novel. The story, for what its worth, follows student Encolpio (Martin Potter) and his lover Ascilto (Hiram Keller) encountering a series misadventures involving a pirate ship packed with attractive young men, the disastrous abduction of a hermaphrodite demi-god, and a gladiatorial fight with a minotaur – in between our strapping heroes bedding prostitutes in local brothels and getting drunk at bacchanalian orgies.

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Fellini combines Petronius’ fragmentary novel with other mythical tales to weave an allegorical satire about the world in which he himself was becoming an outsider – Rome in the 1960s. One that was as degenerate and crazy as the Roman world described by Suetonius in his twelve Caesars biographies, and one that was also in revolt from the youth of day. For Encolpio and Ascilto, who are hippies from out of time and space, this was a world where total self-fullfilment was the Roman way under the reign of Nero.

Satyricon (1969)

Fellini’s free-flowing, hallucinatory myth restored is a film that is to be experienced rather than understood. Indeed, early-1970s audiences found Fellini’s far-out Roman feast a weird and wonderful acid trip and a stoner favourite. The dialogue, for the most part, maybe gibberish, but the visuals are simply intoxticating, with Fellini making full use of the ‘Scope frame (as he did with La Dolce Vita) by filling the screen with a richly textured colour palette and superb composition. In fact, looking at his grand operatic set pieces, you can see how Derek Jarman and Peter Greenaway were influenced by Fellini’s most Fellini-esque of films. And what better way to watch it, than in glorious full widescreen HD.

satyricon_wide-3

THE MASTERS OF CINEMA RELEASE
Featuring a brand new 4K restoration, provided by Hollywood Classics/Criterion Collection, Fellini-Satyricon gets its first-time UK Blu-ray release from Eureka! as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. The special features include the following…
• Optional English dub track (If you choose this, you’ll notice that the English actors speak in their tongue – but don’t worry if it looks out of synch, as that’s how Fellini wanted it to be).
• Optional Italian track without subtitles.
• Theatrical trailer.
• Collector’s booklet featuring the 1968 Federico Fellini essay, Preface to the Treatment, about the mythic aspects of the director’s film (fascinating!); Sabrina Marques’ 2015 essay Fellini: Subversion by Excess (which I didn’t understand); Pasquale Iannone’s 2015 essay, Fellinscope, on the director’s use of widescreen (hugely informative); and the 1968 Vogue article Fellini-Satyricon-Dossier, again with Fellini (also very interesting).

Did You Know?
There was another film called Satyricon, by director Gian Luigi Polidoro, that was also released in 1969, but the producers claimed the title first – hence the use of Fellini’s name to distinguish between the two.

Trailer

Silent Running (1972) | Douglas Trumbull’s ecological space-age tale is even more relevant today

Silent Running (1972)

My 2011 review of the sci-fi classic and the 40th anniversary UK Blu-ray release.

If you’re a fan of Duncan Jones’ critically acclaimed 2009 feature debut Moon, then here’s a chance to find out the inspiration behind that quirky sci-fi. Silent Running, directed by special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull (he did 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and most recently Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life) is a 1972 film boasting a strong environmental message, thanks to an intelligent script from The Deer Hunter scribes Michael Cimino and Deric Washburn, and future Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco.

Silent Running (1972)

In a future where all plant life on Earth is now extinct, a fleet of space freighters orbit around Saturn with the few remaining specimens housed inside gigantic domes. Bruce Dern plays Freeman Lowell, a botanist responsible for looking after Earth’s last forests until the planet can become suitable again for reforestation. But when he and his three colleagues (including a youthful Ron Rifkin from TV’s Brothers & Sisters) receive orders to destroy the domes for commercial reasons, Lowell turns eco-warrior and, with the help of three very cute robotic drones, hijacks one of the domes and flees into deep space like some futuristic Noah.

Silent Running (1972)

Silent Running is about one man’s personal journey through the darkness and solitude of space. It might be set in the future and in space, but it’s the environmental message that is at its heart – bolstered by some suitably apt folk tunes sung by renowned activist Joan Baez. With climate change on the top of the environmental agenda today, this deeply moving, sentimental paean to the green cause is just as important now as it was when the film was first released. As such, it’s a film that deserves to reach a new generation of audience.

Silent Running (1972)

The Masters of Cinema Series 40th anniversary Blu-ray release from 2011 is simply stunning. Douglas Trumbull’s amazing effects and massive props look fantastic – you can see how much love and labour has gone into creating the freighters and domes. Apart from the pristine transfer, there’s also a host of extras that sci-fi buffs won’t want to miss – including a 1972 on-set making of documentary, commentary and videos with Trumbull and Dern, original trailer and collector’s booklet.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TckJBvl_uT0%5D

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) | Reconstructed. Restored. The visionary sci-fi is now complete!

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis is without doubt the most iconic of all German films and marks the birth of science fiction on the silver screen. Much discussed, analysed and a major influence on nearly every sci-fi since it first dazzled audiences back in 1927, it was also director Fritz Lang’s masterwork.

Metropolis (1927)

‘There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator’
Set in a dystopian future in which society is divided into two classes: workers who live in vast catacombs and managers who live in huge skyscrapers, the film centres on Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), the son of the ruler of Metropolis (Alfred Abel), who swaps lives with a worker after witnessing a terrible accident in the workers’ city. While toiling away underground, he falls for the beautiful Maria (Brigitte Helm) who seems to have a powerful influence over the workers. When plans of a rebellion are discovered, Freder’s father enlists the services of an inventor called Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) to build a Maria-replica robot to incite the workers into a self-destructive riot. But when disaster strikes and the underground city becomes flooded, it’s a race against time for Freder to rescue Maria and the city’s children.

Metropolis (1927)

Last seen at cinemas in a colourised version with a rock score by Giorgio Moroder back in 1984, Metropolis was given a theatrical re-release in 2010 following its restoration in which some extra 25 minutes of footage, previously thought lost, were added back to the film. Finally audiences could see Lang’s film the way the director had always intended. A new symphony recording of the original score was also arranged, breathing new life into the all-time classic.

Metropolis (1927)

Seeing it on the big screen, you cannot help but gasp at Lang’s futuristic cityscape. It still impresses, as do the action sequences – which are surprisingly modern for the time, especially the scenes in which Maria is chased through the catacombs, the children try to escape their watery grave, and the robotic Maria is burned at the stake. Iconic stuff indeed!

Metropolis (1927)

The acting may not be naturalistic, but it’s very emotive, and Brigitte Helm’s blinking really does pierce your soul. The once missing bits are very damaged, but show exactly how much of Lang’s original vision was cut on its original release, including Freder’s surreal nightmare on seeing Maria with his father, and a much enlarged story involving the characters Georgy 11811 and Joh’s henchman, the Thin Man.

Surrealist film-maker Luis Buñuel certainly hit the nail on the head when he called Metropolis ‘a captivating symphony of movement’ as its a masterclass in story, editing and design, and still manages to knock the socks off today’s CGI blockbusters (excluding Gravity and Interstellar of course).

Metropolis (1927)THE UK HOME CINEMA RELEASES
Following it’s theatrical screening in 2010, the reconstructed Metropolis was given a dual format (Blu-ray/DVD) release in the UK by Eureka! Entertainment, as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. Now, Lang’s masterpiece will be re-released in a two-disc limited edition (4000 copies only) Steelbook Blu-ray set (out on 19 January 2015), which will include Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 version and a 45-min documentary exploring the film’s rediscovery. If, like me, you already own the dual format, the cover alone and the inclusion of the Moroder film is double dip tempting.

• Available to pre-order from Amazon now http://amzn.to/1zzbc6K

If…. (1968) | Lindsay Anderson’s surreal satire is still as subversive as ever – which side will you be on?

Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968)

‘One man can change the world with a bullet in the right place’
At College House boarding school in Gloucestershire circa 1967, winter term reassembles. New boys like Jute (Sean Bury) are looked on as ‘scum’, and forced to ‘fag’ for the ‘whips’, upper sixth formers who have totalitarian control over the younger boys. Non-conformist lower sixth former Mick Travers (Malcolm McDowell) however, is a rebel with no respect for authority. Following a vicious caning, the young man’s resentment of the system explodes into total carnage as he and his companions-in-arms, Johnny (David Wood) and Wallace (Richard Warwick) take possession of a cache of guns…

Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968)

‘What stands, if freedom fails?’
Lindsay Anderson‘s 1968 film If…. was the first in the director’s trilogy he made with writer David Sherwin satirising life in contemporary Britain, later continued in O Lucky Man! and Britiannia Hospital. Caustic, cautionary and incendiary, it made a star out of Malcolm McDowell and turned him into the poster boy for 1970s youthful rebellion (iconically cemented in A Clockwork Orange as sociopath droog Alex).

Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968)

A powerful indictment of the public school system (and the country as a whole), If… is a like an updated Tom Brown’s School Days fused with a savagely surreal 1960s counterculture twist. Here, Lindsay uses all his cinematic skills to scrutinise and lay bare its barbaric rituals and class systems, while giving radical voice to Britain’s frustrated youth – and pre-empting the punk movement of the late 1970s in the process.

Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968)

Winner of the 1969 Palme d’Or at Cannes, If…. is Anderson’s and Sherwin’s finest hour; a masterclass in story telling, character development and cinematic language; and one of the greatest British films ever made. As the quitessential tale of rebellion, it deserves to be discussed and dissected time and again, especially in light of the fact that atrocities committed by youths in schools are now a tragic present-day reality.

Oh, and did you know it’s also David Cameron’s favourite film – odd choice for a Conservative Prime Minister, don’t you think?

Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968)

The UK Blu-ray release from Eureka! Entertainment, part of the Masters of Cinema Series, features a 1080p transfer, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek and assistant editor Ian Rakoff, in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and monaural audio, and includes the following extras.
• Audio commentary with film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell.
• New video interviews with producer Michael Medwin, writers David Sherwin and John Howlett, editor David Gladwell, production manager Gavrik Losey, camera operator Brian Harris, and actors David Wood, Hugh Thomas, Geoffrey Chater, Philip Bagenal, and Sean Bury (who went on to appear in The Abominable Dr Phibes).
• Three short films by Anderson: Three Installations (1952), Thursday’s Children (co-directed with Guy Brenton, 1954), and Henry (1955), which prove a real insight into Anderson’s visual language.
• Two US trailers.
• Booklet containing new writing by David Cairns; a new interview with actor Brian Pettifer; a self-conducted interview with Lindsay Anderson; notes on the three short films; and rare and archival imagery.

Wake in Fright (1971) | The dark underbelly of Australian mateship is ripped open in the sick heat of Ted Kotcheff’s long lost Australian classic

Wake in Fright on Blu-ray

NEW TO THE YABBA?
Stuck in a government-enforced teaching post in the stifling heat of the remote outback town of Tiboonda, cynical city schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) heads off on his six-week Christmas break to Sydney.

But while stopping off in the mining town of Bundanyabba, he downs a couple of free beers courtesy of a cocksure cop (Chips Rafferty) and heads into the two-up ring hoping to win his way back to ‘civilisation’ and his girlfriend.

But when this one bad decision leads to another, ‘the Yabba’ quickly turns into a nightmarish hellhole for John, whose booze-fuelled weekend bender with the locals rapidly descends into violence and degradation.

Wake in Fright

HAVE DRINK, MATE? HAVE A FIGHT, MATE?
Wake in Fright is adapted from Kenneth Cook’s ‘magnificent rough-and-tumble of a first novel’, which explores ‘the gargantuan flavour of the Australian outback, its sick heat and its people’. ‘Like quicksand their animal customs, their animal women, their perverts and their stupendous, overpowering hospitality drag innocent, city-bred John Grant down to his ruin – and beyond.’ (*)

Though little seen prior to its restoration (which was only made possible after a painstaking search for the missing negative), the 1971 drama based on Cook’s novel has achieved cult status for both its cinematic brilliance and its huge influence on both the Australian 1970s New Wave and the Ozploitation cycle that followed in its wake.

Wake in Fright

Canadian director Ted Kotcheff’s unflinching film makes stunning visual and dramatic use of the scorching Australian outback and features some truly nightmarish characters played by Chips Rafferty (in his last role), Jack Thompson (in his first) and Donald Pleasence (in his lifetime best).

Nominated for the Palme d’Or in 1971 and selected again for Cannes Classics in 2009 following its digital restoration, Wake in Fright has garnered legions of fans, including director Martin Scorsese and Austalian muso extraordinaire Nick Cave, who calls it the ‘best and most terrifying film about Australia ever made’.

Wake in Fright

HAVE SOME DUST AND SWEAT, MATE?
On the surface, it’s about a Sydney bloke who gets pissed in a country town, loses his money gambling, drinks some more, throws up while having sex, goes roo shooting [the real-life scenes of animal slaughter made the film notorious both home and abroad], downs more booze, passes out, then gets the shock of his life when he wakes up next to a naked sweaty old drunk (Pleasence) in a baking hot tin shack in the middle of nowhere.

But beneath the blood, sweat and grime of Kotcheff’s testosterone and alcohol-fuelled drama there’s biting satirical comment on some cherished Aussie customs like mateship (which is, afterall, the foundation of the Australian character) and the drinking culture that goes with it; and the majesty of the Australian bush (paying particular attention to the yawning chasm that existed between city and country folk in the 1970s).

Wake in Fright

THERE’S NOTHING ELSE OUT THERE
Having myself been brought up in country Australia, and educated in the city, I can understand John’s resentment at being marooned in a cultural desert wasteland. But I also believe he deserves to be reduced to ‘a soiled miserable creature, stinking to high heaven, left with just seven pence, a rifle and no ammunition’. It’s his penance for daring to think himself better than his fellow man, which echoes another Australian phenomenon, the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Much could be written about Wake in Fright’s brutal dissection of Aussie mores and masculinity and at how a non-Australian like Kotcheff (the Canadian would go on to direct the Sylvester Stallone cult action favourite First Blood) was able to prefectly capture Cook’s rugged prose in celluloid. Hopefully, now that the film has been saved and restored, this kind of discussion and debate can begin anew.

Heads, you’ll find yourself carried along this sun-baked existential journey into the Australian outback’s heart of darkness. Tails, you’ll be left shocked, provoked and very parched indeed. Hands down this is one of Australia’s true cinematic gems.

Wake in Fright

THE UK DUAL FORMAT RELEASE
The new digital restoration, which gets its UK dual format (Blu-ray/DVD) release from Eureka Entertainment‘s Masters of Cinema Series from 31 March 2014, does full justice to this forgotten film and is a crucial addition to your cult world cinema film library.

SPECIAL FEATURES
• 1080p high-definition restoration of the film on the Blu-ray and a progressive encode on the DVD.
• Optional English subtitles.
• Audio commentary with director Ted Kotcheff and editor Anthony Buckley.
• Video interview with Ted Kotcheff (2009).
• ABC 7:30 Report video piece on the the rediscovery and restoration of the film.
Who Needs Art? vintage piece on Wake in Fright.
• Chips Rafferty obituary clip.
• Outback TV spot.
• UK theatrical trailer.
• Collector’s booklet featuring essays by Adrian Martin, Peter Galvin, Meg Labrum, Graham Shirley, Ted Kotcheff and Anthony Buckley, and archival imagery.

SOURCES: (*) Wake in Fright, Kenneth Cook

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Le Pont du Nord (1981) | Jacques Rivette’s hypnotic Don Quixote set in 1980s Paris

Le Pont du Nord cover

DANS LA RUE
Wandering the streets of Paris, claustrophobic ex-con Marie (Bulle Ogier) meets a free spirit in troubled teen Baptiste (Pascale Ogier), and together they set out to solve a mystery surrounding an old map of Paris that Marie finds in the suitcase of her former lover from her anarchist days.

Bulle Ogier in Le Pont du Nord

THE GAME PLAN
In French New Wave director Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont du Nord, the classic Don Quixote tale is transposed to 1980s Paris. Bulle Ogier (best known for her work with husband Barbet Schroeder in films like La Vallée and Maîtresse) is Sancho Panza and her daughter Pascale (who tragically died just two years after this film was released), is Quixote, while the construction of the banlieues of Paris are the windmills that Quixote feared were giants.

Playing out like a surreal snakes-and-ladders board game involving hinted at conspiracies and paranoia, this mystical, hypnotic film is gorgeous to watch thanks to cinematographer William Lubtchansky’s dawn and dusk shots of a Paris that only Parisians see. The lack of a clear narrative may not be to everyone’s taste, but this is cinema at its purist.

Pascale Ogier in Le Pont du Nord

THE RELEASE
The Masters of Cinema Series special edition Blu-ray features a new 1080p transfer (and a progressive transfer on the DVD) in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, with optional English subtitles; plus a collector’s booklet, featuring new and vintage writings on the film, as well as rare archival imagery.

THE VERDICT
A must see. Just let yourself go…

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