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Kino Classics: The Best Of World Cinema

Friday, June 29--------The general public perhaps doesn't realize that the first step for any film to have a chance at a theatrical career is the commitment of the film distributor to take the financial risk to bring the film to a wider public. When the films in question are artistic expressions by some of cinema's most lauded auteurs, that risk is not necessarily any smaller, but the rewards certainly are larger. That about sums up the commitment to excellence that New York-based arthouse distributor Kino International has practiced over the past three decades. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has organized an intriguing retrospective that begins this evening and runs through July 12th at the Film Society's flagship, the Walter Reade Theater. Local audiences will have the rare opportunity to see a selection of key titles from Kino’s theatrical catalogue, in most cases in spanking new prints that have been specially struck for the series. For those familiar with the films, or those discovering them for the first time, the series is a kind of master class of some of the most significant films and film artists to ever have made their mark on the screen.

Kino International was founded in 1977 as a theatrical distribution company specializing in classics and foreign language art films. The company began operation with a license to handle theatrical distribution of the Janus Collection, a library containing over 100 important European and Asian art films of the 40s, 50s and 60s, including LA STRADA, THE RULES OF THE GAME and RASHOMONKino acquired many classic feature films and packages for distribution to the then-vital repertory theatre circuit, in the pre-cable, pre-video mid-70's. During its first decade, the company also distributed the Chaplin films MODERN TIMES and CITY LIGHTS, the Killiam silent film classics, the David O. Selznick Collection, including REBECCA and NOTORIOUS, and the Walter Wanger Collection, including such classics as STAGECOACH, TO BE OR NOT TO BE and GIANT. Kino also focused on several successful reissues of classic international films, including WAGES OF FEAR, SOLARIS, LA STRADA, 8 1/2, THE TIN DRUM and the 50th anniversary reissue of the seminal Italian neo-realist classic THE BICYCLE THIEF.FALLEN ANGELSFALLEN ANGELS

Three decades later, the company is still at the forefront of world cinema, having just released this past week the Cesar award winning adaptation of DH Lawrence's LADY CHATTERLEY by French director Pascale Ferran. With a catalogue that now contains over 400 films, from silent classics to contemporary festival favorites, Kino International has brought American recognition to such film masters as Aki Kaurismaki (ARIEL and THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL) Amos Gitai (KADOSH, KIPPUR, ALILA and KEDMA) Wong Kar-Wai (HAPPY TOGETHER, AS TEARS GO BY, DAYS OF BEING WILD and FALLEN ANGELS), Andrei Tarkovsky (IVAN'S CHILDHOOD), Michael Haneke (THE PIANO TEACHER), Andrei Zvyaginstev (THE RETURN), and Kelly Reichardt (OLD JOY). SPIES (Fritz Lang)SPIES (Fritz Lang)

The Kino retrospective begins this evening with the NY theatrical premiere of the definitive restoration of SPIES (1928), a seminal silent film the German master Fritz Lang (which he finished one year prior to his masterpiece METROPOLIS). Being presented in a gorgeous new 35mm film print, the film is 50 minutes longer and visually sharper than any previous version of the film, and was reconstructed from a collection of several film sources – among them, a nitrate print from the Cinémathèque Française and a dupe negative from Gosfilmofond Moscow. This complete version is being shown for the first time in almost 80 years.

PANDORA'S BOXPANDORA'S BOXL'AGE D'ORAmong the other classic films to be screened in the next few weeks are: G.W. Pabst's PANDORA'S BOX (1929), starring Louise Brooks, Luis Buneul's L'AGE D'OR (1930), Fritz Lang's M (1931), Charlie Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940), Claude Chabrol's LES BONNES FEMMES (1960), Joseph Losey's EVE (1962), Sergei Paradjanov’s SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS (1964), Akira Kurosawa's DERSU UZALA (1975) and Bertrand Tavernier's LIFE AND NOTHING BUT (1989). So, forget the vacuous summer blockbusters.....this is the stuff of true film majesty, shown in all its glorious splendor on the beautiful screen of the Walter Reade Theater. It's even air conditioned. For more information on the series, to get a full film schedule and to purchase tickets, log on to the website of the Film Society of Lincoln Center at:

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor


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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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