Rialto Re-Releases Bresson, Godard, Pontecorvo
by Ali Gitlow
Rialto Pictures has acquired the rights to screen four classics from Parisian company Argos Films. They are Robert Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar” (1966) and “Mouchette” (1967), and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Masculin Feminin” (1966) and “Two Or Three Things I Know About Her” (1967). “Au Hasard Balthazar” opened Friday at the Film Forum and will be released in other theaters soon. It tells the story of a girl and her donkey whose lives go through similar ups and downs. Beloved at the 1966 New York Film Festival, this is the film’s first actual U.S. release. The other three films will be released in 2004 and 2005. Rialto will be issuing new 35mm prints with subtitles for all four films.
Rialto has never previously released any Bresson films. Yet it released Godard’s “Contempt” in 1997, “Band of Outsiders” in 2001 and “A Woman is a Woman” in 2003. The deal was negotiated with Raphael Berdugo of Roissy Films which represents Argos.
In January 2004, Rialto will re-release Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1965 film “The Battle of Algiers” in association with The Classic Collection. It will open in New York, LA, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The film, shot like a documentary, shows the bloody Algerian uprising against the French in the late 1950s. It received the Grand Prize at the 1965 Venice Film Festival and was nominated for three Academy Awards- Best Director, Best Foreign Film and Best Screenplay.
The Classic Collection got the rights to the film from Casbah Films of Algiers in April. 35mm prints with subtitles will be issued. It is the sixth film released by Rialto and The Classic Collection. Others include Vittorio de Sica’s “Umberto D.” and Jean Renoir’s “Grand Illusion.”