DAILY NEWS: New Yorker Nabs Two New York Fest Films -- "Beau Travail" and "A Visitor From The Living"
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
New Yorker Films has acquired the rights to the Claire Denis‘ new film,
“Le Beau Travail,” which screened this week at the 1999 New York Film
Festival. The acquisition follows the company’s recent pick-up of Claude
Lanzmann‘s Festival documentary, “A Visitor From the Living.”
New Yorker’s Sasha Berman, confirmed the acquisitions in a conversation
with indieWIRE yesterday (Thursday). Dan Talbot caught “Beau Travail”
prior to its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival last
month and it was shown to New York industry and press on Friday, followed
by public screenings at the New York Film Festival yesterday and Tuesday.
The deal was sealed early this week. Berman indicated that company intends
to release the movie in Winter/Spring 2000.
Set in a French Foreign Legion outpost in the African republic of Djibouti,
“Le Beau Travail” is inspired by Herman Melville‘s “Billy Budd.” Reporting
on Denis’ Festival press conference for indieWIRE, Andrea Meyer indicated
that the filmmaker, known for such films as “Chocolat” and “I Can’t
Sleep,” again avoids traditional narrative in her new work. “The feisty
French director tends to eschew formal narrative structure in favor of a
more sensual, intuitive approach,” explained Meyer, “The result is a kind
of visual poetry that tells evocative stories with a jarring yet humanist
Claude Lanzmann’s “A Visitor From the Living” stems from the filmmaker’s
well-known documentary, “Shoah.” While interviewing people in 1979 for that
movie, Lanzmann came across Maurice Rossel, the only Red Cross
representative to visit Nazi concentration camps. The new documentary is a
65 minute film made up of interview footage with Rossel. New Yorker’s
Berman told indieWIRE that the company picked up the movie a month ago
after seeing it at a conference in Washington D.C.
Calling “Visitor” an “extraordinarily important document,” Berman added,
“We felt it would be of importance for people to see this film and know
about this subject.” Berman also told indieWIRE that New Yorker is
releasing Lanzmann’s 9 1/2 hour “Shoah” documentary at the end of next
month. “A Visitor From the Living will screen at the New York Film
Festival on October 6th and 7th.