Nicholas Ray is a truly fascinating figure. The filmmaker, who was born 100 years ago this year, directed a series of hugely influential pictures in the 1940s and 1950s, most notably “Johnny Guitar” and “Rebel Without a Cause,” but never quite got the respect he was due in the States (although the Cahiers du Cinema crowd were obsessed with him), and spent much of his life in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction, working on difficult, experimental projects.
One of those rarities is about to see the light of day; as rumored for a while now, a new restoration of “We Can’t Go Home Again,” supervised by the director’s widow Susan, is set to premiere at Venice later in the year. The divisive, experimental work was devised by Ray in collaboration with his students at SUNY Binghamton, and bowed at Cannes in 1973, but Ray continued to tinker with the edit until his death in 1979.
The premiere’s been in the works since last year, but Screen Daily confirm that the film will bow not only at Venice, but also at the New York Film Festival a few weeks later. The restoration includes narration by the director, an improved soundtrack and a pristine new digital print — Venice director Marco Mueller says that “The sophistication and emotional power of Ray’s multiple images have not yet been matched, even now that digital technology makes this technique immediately accessible.”
Unfortunately, the piece is difficult enough that it’s unlikely to get distribution beyond that, so if you’re a fan of Ray and want to check it out, now’s the time to plan a trip to the Lido or to NYC. In the meantime, we hope that this helps get some momentum behind “Interrupted,” a biopic of the filmmaker from Philip Kaufman (“The Right Stuff‘) and Oren Moverman (“The Messenger“) that was put in development way back in 2007.