Chicago, IL – Olive Films, a boutique theatrical and home entertainment distribution label dedicated to bringing independent, foreign, and classic films to DVD and Blu-ray, has announced that April 25th will be the Blu-ray debut of six new titles, including Ophélia, The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers, and four from Walerian Borowczyk.
“They sort of get in there, into the world that I find activates a part of my brain that few other things do” said filmmaker Terry Gilliam about the works of Walerian Borowczyk in his introduction for Walerian Borowczyk – Short Films Collection. “They have all stuck with me.”
Theatre of Mr. & Mrs. Kabal; Goto, Isle of Love; Blanche; Walerian Borowczyk – Short Films Collection
While Walerian Borowczyk might most often be remembered as a provocateur who pushed the sexual conventions of his time, it’s also important to note his significance as a groundbreaking surrealist, animator, and arthouse film auteur. Born in Kwilcz, Poland, he originally studied painting and lithography, getting his introduction to the cinematic world as a designer of film posters. His first films were animated shorts, some of the most acclaimed being The Astronauts (1959), Renaissance (1963), and Angels’ Games (1964), which are included (along with twelve other shorts) on the upcoming Olive Films Walerian Borowczyk – Short Films Collection. Another Borowczyk DVD and Blu-ray coming from Olive is the animated Theatre of Mr. & Mrs. Kabal (1967), the director’s first feature film. His lithography background is evident in these projects, which incorporated a number of surrealist elements as well as stop-motion.
After that, Borowczyk’s next feature film was the live-action Goto, Isle of Love (1968), which stars his wife, Ligia Branice, and is often considered a masterpiece of surrealism. Interestingly, the motif of flies in the film can be directly linked to the work of French surrealist philosophers, most notably of Georges Bataille. His next feature film, Blanche (1971), stars Branice as well as the great Michel Simon in one of his final performances. In what was an unconventional decision at the time, Blanche’s score was recorded entirely with period instruments, from medieval France. With these two films, Borowczyk began to sculpt his identity as an auteur of provocative tales of illicit love. Olive Films brings Goto, Isle of Love and Blanche to DVD and Blu-ray on April 25th.
Another film coming to DVD and Blu-ray from Olive Films on April 25th is Claude Chabrol’s Ophélia(1962). When a high-strung young man of means suspects that his mother and uncle are responsible for the death of his father, he takes inspiration from Hamlet and sets out to reveal their foul deed, wooing the beautiful daughter of his parents’ groundkeeper in an attempt to make her his de facto Ophelia. Although, he directed the film at the beginning of his career, many of his signatures can already be seen. His tradition of bringing strong female characters to the screen (perhaps most famously with Stéphane Audran and Isabelle Huppert) is on full display in this collaboration with Alida Valli and Juliette Mayniel. Some of the other recognizably Chabrol touches include the emergence of several themes, such as the film’s examination of guilt as well as a pivotal scene’s focus on food.
The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers
The other film coming to DVD and Blu-ray form Olive Films on April 25th is The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers (1964), a portmanteau film that highlights the talents of top-tier directors and actors from the world of American, French, Italian and Japanese cinema. Directors Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti, and Hiromichi Horikawa weave together four tales of conmen and their sensational swindles in France, Italy, Morocco, and Japan, with help from the acting talent of Jean Seberg, Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Francis Blanche, and Ken Mitsuda.
NOTE: The Amsterdam segment, A River of Diamonds (directed by Roman Polanski), which was featured in original theatrical release of The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers, has been removed from presentations of the film at the request of the director.
April 5, 2017