Friday, April 28, 2006

Ridiculous Release Schedule

This weekend marks the US release of two amazing films, Clean and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. I'd highly reccomend checking them out, and while I'm glad they're getting released, I do have a major issue with the release, namely the fact that these films are not new films. I saw Clean back in June, and the film was actually finished back in May 2004.

It's absolutely ridiculous that the film's coming out now, if the film had come out in May, or even just sometime before the foreign DVDs were available, I would have been right there at the theater. But, you can't expect me to hold off on buying the film when it's unclear if it will ever even be released in America. It's just not acceptable to wait two years to release a film. Same thing with Lady Vengeance, the film was out in Korea in July, and was on DVD in Korea in December, I'd love a simultaneous release, but if that's not doable at least get me the film within a month or two of the original country's release. Chanwook Park may not be a mainstream director here, but he's got a lot of passionate fans, and they're the sort of people who are going to seek out the bootleg rather than wait for a theatrical release.

Changing gears, today I read that Sofia Coppola is pregnant, and the father is Thomas Mars, of the band Phoenix. The genetic combination there gives the kid quite the advantage. I've only seen it a couple of places, so I'm not sure if it's true, but if it is, good luck to them.

So, on my search for information about that, I came across a new trailer for Sofia's Marie Antoinette. The film looks great, most period pieces are pointless because the characters don't feel emotionally real. The most successful period piece was Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, and this film seems to capture that film's feel of real characters in a past setting. The modern score is part of that, and I was excited to read that she does use rock songs in the actual film, but it's also the way the characters behave, the choice to cast Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman and just the way the characters behave, there's a sense that they're just playing dress up, aware of the ridiculousness of their world. I read a negative review that said it was just people sitting around the palace, basically slackers in the past, and that made me even more excited to see the film.

The end of the trailer reveals that the French release date is May 24, shortly after it plays at Cannes. Now, I was mad that it played Cannes and wouldn't be released here until October, but when I found out that virtually every European country is getting the film before we do, I was really angry. The film is finished, and stupid Oscar season politics will keep us from getting to see the film. It's hard to deal with art cinema when films just sit on a shelf for six months before getting released here, if it's done, let's get it out in the world.

I guess I'm just bothered by the fact that smaller films can slip through the distribution cracks. Art School Confidential and A Scanner Darkly were both supposed to be out last year, and are finally trickling into theaters this summer. The worst situation is with foreign films that aren't Asian because it's tougher to find DVDs, which means you've got to wait the ridiculous amount of time until the American release happens. Studios wonder why people don't go to the theaters, maybe it's the fact that they're actively making it difficult for you to see anything other than the big blockbusters.

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