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December 21, 2004 2:00 AM
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Kino International Takes U.S. Rights for "Ninth Day" and "Rider Named Death"

Kino International Takes U.S. Rights for "Ninth Day" and "Rider Named Death"

by Brian Brooks









Yasily Zotov (left) and Andrey Panin in Karen Shakhnazarov's "A Rider Named Death," which Kino International picked up for U.S. Distribution. Image courtesy of Kino International.

Kino International announced the acquisition of two films yesterday for release next year. Academy Award-winning director Volker Schlondorff's ("The Tin Drum") "The Ninth Day" will open in New York in June 2005, while Karen Shakhnazarov's "The Rider Named Death" will open in April.

"The Rider Named Death," which premiered at the Montreal Festival of World Cinema earlier this year, is described as a "character study" of Russian terrorist Boris Savinkov, played by Andrey Panin. Savinkov was one of the most feared advocates of terrorist tactics at the turn of the 20th century in Russia. He became a leader of the terrorist faction of Russia's Socialist-Revolutionary Party, perceived as moderates compared to the Bolsheviks. Savinkov participated in the assassinations of governors and ministers, and was a key opponent of czarist rule.

Set in Nazi Germany, "The Ninth Day" is loosely based on a prison diary by Luxembourgian priest Jean Bernard, who was given a nine-day leave from the notorious Dachau concentration camp. Bernard's published diary recounts his experience during the period, describing horrors such as crucifixions of fellow priests. Writer/director Schlondorff bases his film on the book for the fictional story of Henri Kramer (Ulrich Matthes), a priest "torn between survival and ideology. Kramer returns to Luxembourg for his nine-day reprieve and faces complacent attitudes from his family, but convinces key members of the church of the horrors being committed by the Nazis. "The Ninth Day" screened this year at the Locarno and Toronto film festivals.

Other films Kino International has released include the re-issue of Wong Kar-wai's "Days of Being Wild," and Manoel de Oliveira's "A Talking Picture." Kino along with HBO will release feature documentary "Watermarks" on January 21st.

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