“RIALTO AT 25” is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Rialto Pictures, a distributor whose re-releases of international classics have been distinguished by careful restoration, new subtitles and fresh marketing materials. Running from April 19 to May 22, the festival will screen 31 film classics, opening with a new 4K restoration of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 science fiction/film noir masterpiece, Alphaville. Go here for more info and ticketing information.
Rialto Pictures was started in 1997 by Bruce Goldstein, the founding repertory artistic director of New York’s Film Forum. In addition to over 100 re-releases of classic and rediscovered films, Rialto Pictures is also the U.S. distributor for France’s Studiocanal library of 6,500 international titles. Two special presentations will document Rialto’s attention to marketing (a 45-minute compilation called “25 Years of Rialto trailers”) and subtitles (Goldstein’s one hour lecture on “The Art of Subtitles”). The festival was organized by MOMA film curator Dave Kehr.
Alphaville is one of Godard’s most popular and accessible works. Set in a futuristic Paris, the film uses no special effects, props or sets to create the illusion of a future world. (The style of the film has influenced many other films, commercials and music videos, probably most notably in the video for The Cranberries song, “Linger.”) Instead, Godard used existing locations and imaginative editing to suggest a dystopian city ruled by a dictatorial computer called Alpha 60. Eddie Constantine plays the lead, Lemmy Caution, a secret agent who is seeking to kill the creator of Alpha 60. Constantine had played Caution in previous films; the entire title of the film is “Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution.”
Godard’s then wife Anna Karina plays the daughter of the Alpha 60 creator in one of her most memorable roles. Her character Natacha tells Lemmy she doesn’t know words like “love” because of the restricted vocabulary available to the citizens of Alphaville. Her scenes with Lemmy are amongst the most beautiful and poetic in Godard’s work. Jean-Luc’s longtime contributor Raoul Coutard did the cinematography.
Other films to be screened in the festival:
- Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (including a 7-minute sequence restored by Rialto Pictures in 1998) and The White Sheik
- Jules Dassin’s Rififi
- Carol Reed’s The Third Man
- Kurosawa’s Ran
- Jacques Becker’s Touchez pas au Grisbi
- Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and That Obscure Object of Desire
- Robert Hamer’s Kind Hearts and Coronets
- Francesco Rosi’s uncut Christ Stopped at Eboli
- Jean-Pierre Melville’s Army of Shadows, unseen in the U.S. until Rialto Pictures’ release in 2006, when it won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film of the Year — 37 years after it was made.
- Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, starring Gene Hackman (in a 35mm print supervised by the director)
- Orson Welles’s The Trial
- Joseph Losey’s Mr. Klein, starring Alain Delon
- Jacques Deray’s La Piscine, starring Delon and Romy Schneider, which became a post-pandemic sensation
- Rialto Pictures’ most recent hit, Dino Risi’s Una Vita Difficile, a 62-year-old comedy-drama starring Alberto Sordi
- Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Quai des Orfèvres
- Renoir’s The Crime of Monsieur Lange and Grand Illusion
- Marcel Carné’s Port of Shadows and Le jour se lève, both starring Jean Gabin
- The wartime thriller Went the Day Well?, based on a Graham Greene Story
- John Boulting’s Brighton Rock, based on the Greene novel
- Robert Hamer’s It Always Rains on Sunday, a sterling example of “Brit Noir.”