Presented from a new 2K transfer, Second Run presents Štefan Uher’s stunning 1966 Slovak feature THE MIRACULOUS VIRGIN (Panna zázračnica). Released on August 20, THE MIRACULOUS VIRGIN is one of Slovak’s cinema’s most admired and controversial works. Adapted by The Sun in a Net director Štefan Uher from the renowned 1944 novella by Dominik Tatarka, the film is an exquisite, surreal odyssey through the Slovak art scene of the 1960s. The Blu-ray and DVD editions also features Uher’s breathtaking 1959 short film Marked by Darkness, plus all-new documentary The Story of ‘The Miraculous Virgin’, an exploration of the film, the talents behind it and its legacy, produced by the Slovak Film Institute.
Coming in Dual Format Edition (Blu-ray & DVD) on 23 July 2018, Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo’s immensely powerful It Happened Here depicts an alternative history in which England has been invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. Coming to Blu-ray for the first time, the film is presented in a new 2K remaster (from the original camera negative) by the BFI National Archive, supervised by Kevin Brownlow, to mark his 80th birthday. A raft of exceptional extras include previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage, new interviews, news items, trailers and more.
You’ll need to fight to survive… tense new thriller TRAFFIK starring PAULA PATTON (About Last Night, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), OMAR EPPS (House, Shooter) and WILLIAM FICHTNER (Empire, Drive Angry) will be available to download and own from July 2018. A romantic getaway descends into terror for Brea and her boyfriend John when they run into a brutal biker gang. They manage to escape to a secluded mountain estate for the weekend, but their short-lived joy ends when the gang turn up at their front door demanding they return a stolen item they’ve accidentally acquired. Alone and defenceless Brea and John are forced into a deadly fight for their lives against a ring of violent criminals who will go to any lengths to protect their secrets. Directed by DEON TAYLOR (Supremacy, Meet The Blacks) TRAFFIK is a thrilling ride through a couple’s worst nightmare.
The award-winning BFI supported film A CAMBODIAN SPRING is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia which is vastly under reported. Shot over 6 years, the film charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the ‘Cambodian Spring’ and the tragic events that followed. This film is about the complexities – both political and personal, of fighting for what you believe in. It has won the Special Jury Prize at the 2017 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and won Best Documentary at the Brooklyn Film Festival and has gone on to win a slew of other festival awards. It is a very personal film by award-winning filmmaker Chris Kelly whose work focusses on the human condition.
After its highly successful Blu-ray box of neglected Hammer titles last year, in Hammer Volume 2: Criminal Intent, Powerhouse/Indicator has another equally intriguing collection of such material lined up for February. The gem of this particular collection is Cash on Demand, an intelligent and ingenious crime thriller starring the matchless duo of Peter Cushing and Andre Morrell (celebrated for their Hammer outing as Holmes and Watson). What makes this one particularly intriguing is the fact that cineastes can imagine the film recast with the two actors – as an uptight bank manager and a smooth conman of military mien — playing each other’s parts. The collection also has the little-seen Never Take Sweets from a Stranger; the film’s subject, a sober treatment of paedophilia, may be one of the reasons why the film has been neglected for so long. Aficionados of Hammer need not hesitate, but the box should have wider appeal than that fiefdom.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK presents the Irish box-office hit, Stephen Burke’s critically acclaimed MAZE, which achieved the biggest opening weekend of any Irish film in Ireland and Northern Ireland since “ROOM” in January 2016. The film opened without previews to over €141k (£124k) after its release, Friday September 22nd, on 65 screens (between ROI and NI) and hitting number 3 in the Irish box office chart. The film ran for ten weeks, spending five of these in the Irish top ten, and achieved a box office of over one million dollars (£764,874) in that time. Following Maze’s robust theatrical release, the critically acclaimed film will now be available on Digital Download on 15th January and on DVD on 22nd January. Based on the true story of the 1983 mass breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from HMP Maze high-security prison in Northern Ireland. As Larry Marley (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), the chief architect of the escape, schemes his way towards pulling off this feat, he comes into contact with prison warder, Gordon Close (Barry Ward). Initially Larry and Gordon are confirmed enemies, born on opposite sides of Northern Ireland’s political divide, but when Larry realises that Gordon may be unwittingly useful for his escape plan, a slow seduction begins. Larry intends to use and manipulate Gordon in order to get closer to his goal but what follows is a tense, and intriguing drama in which an unlikely relationship is forged between two enemies that will have far reaching consequences for both of them.
Stars of Pulp Fiction and Miller’s Crossing are brought together for Mitu Misra’s unflinching, multi award-winning British thriller about loyalty and revenge, a Northern Noir in the tradition of Mike Hodge’s Get Carter and Mike Figgis’ Stormy Monday. When his billionaire boss Demi (Harvey Keitel) dies, chauffeur Donald (Gabriel Byrne) is given one final job – to wipe out any evidence of Demi’s relationship with his mistress, the enigmatic and beautiful Amber (Sibylla Deen). Donald’s task soon unravels when Amber’s life is threatened, and he finds himself her reluctant protector. Unwittingly drawn into a dangerous urban underworld, he encounters dark, harrowing practices, and a sinister underworld figure who will test him to his very limits. LIES WE TELL is a unique, gritty thriller that portrays an ordinary man confronting extraordinary circumstances. The cast includes Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne (IN TREATMENT, MILLER’S CROSSING), Oscar-nominated screen legend Harvey Keitel (PULP FICTION, RESERVOIR DOGS), Mark Addy (GAME OF THRONES, THE FULL MONTY), Nicholas Farrell (CHARIOTS OF FIRE), BAFTA-winner Gina McKee (OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH), Toyah Willcox (QUADROPHENIA), Emily Atack (THE INBETWEENERS), Sibylla Deen (HOME AND AWAY), and Jan Uddin (SHANK).
LIES WE TELL WILL BE RELEASED IN THE UK ON 2 FEBRUARY 2018
The newish Blu-Ray company Indicator/Powerhouse is issuing a remarkably eclectic selection of films in an ambitious new programme, and its initial batch includes a very collectable Hammer Films box set (which is temptingly described as volume 1), containing neglected Hammer films such as Maniac and The Gorgon. The set is to be reviewed in the next DVD Choice.
Second Run’s next release – on both Blu-ray and DVD formats – will be Otakar Vávra’s WITCHHAMMER on October 30. A powerful and often shocking allegory of life under totalitarian rule, Witchhammer, co-written by Ester Krumbachová (Daisies, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders), chronicles a series of notorious 17th Century Czech witch trials, using genuine court transcripts from the forced confessions of those accused of sorcery and collusion with the Devil. With echoes of Bergman, Dreyer and František Vláčil, and with literary antecedents in Arthur’s Miller’s The Crucible and Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon, it is a disturbing political fable; and like Ken Russell’s controversial, expressionistic adaptation of Huxley’s text, The Devils (1971) and other films of the period such as Michael Reeves’ Witchfinder General (1968) and Michael Armstrong’s Mark of the Devil (1970), it serves as both grim genre film and compelling historical drama.
OUR LAST TANGO (Un tango más) executive produced by Wim Wenders (Pina, Buena Vista Social Club, Wings of Desire) and directed by German Kral, will be released in the UK on 22nd September by Celluloid Circus in partnership with the Argentine Film Festival, London. Continue reading