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New resource for home-watching film buffs: Cinéart's Directors' Collection

Despite corona restrictions, arthouse lovers were not on a dry run recently. Several titles had their Dutch premiere online. Such as The Human Voice, the latest production from Spain's leading director Pedro Almodóvar.

I do not mention this fine adaptation of Jean Cocteau's famous monologue of a wounded woman (here Tilda Swinton) by chance. Almodóvar's almost complete collected work is also the eye-catcher of distributor Cinéart's recently launched Directors' Collection. An overview of his feature-length films that shows what this highly distinctive director owes his fame to. Not only to his outspoken and slightly eccentric sense of style, but especially to the strong female roles. It is the common thread running through his oeuvre.

With the Directors' Collection, the film distributor specialising mainly in European arthouse not only puts Almodóvar in the spotlight. Other leading film authors presented here by Cinéart include British social realist Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, the oft-revered Michael Haneke and poetic-humanist Agnès Varda. Also on hand is Alex van Warmerdam, indeed one of the most outspoken Dutch auteurs. Paul Verhoeven, of course, I would also have liked to see, but he is not with Cinéart.

Rights

A wonderful collection including older work. This makes it a great addition to the premieres of, for example, the film theatre-affiliated Picl or Vitamin Cineville. As well as allowing direct viewing of the titles for just under three euros, the Cinéart website also offers a lot of information. Plus short video clips with interviews with the makers. A number of titles presented cannot be viewed now, but will hopefully be soon. For instance, it is planned to screen newly restored work by Wong Kar Wai in collaboration with Eye in June, first in film theatres, and then online.

But the fact that this Directors' Collection is an initiative of Cinéart indicates the limitation at the same time. These are exclusively titles that this distributor previously released in the Netherlands and to which it holds the rights, Cinéart employee Julia van Berlo informs. It was thus possible to compile an almost complete retrospective of Almodóvar. Although Cinéart likes to follow filmmakers for longer periods of time, other names do have smaller or bigger gaps. From Michael Haneke, for instance, his American remake of Funny Games (2007), but not the 1997 original or the equally shocking Benny's Video (1992). Because those titles were released here by Cinemien. Home viewers, by the way, can stream them at eyelet.com.

Utopia

Similarly, in the Directors' Collection from British sources, we do find Ken Loach and Andrea Arnold, but not equally important authors like Michael Winterbottom or Mike Leigh. Cinéart does aim to gradually expand the collection, for instance by buying titles that were once with other distributors but whose rights have now expired. Film rights are indeed a complicated playing field. Added to that, of course, older titles have to be available digitally. That too is sometimes a limitation. My dream is a film equivalent of the public library where I can find everything by Lars von Trier, for instance. But that will remain a pipe dream for the time being, as Van Berlo confirms when asked.

Good to know Good to know

The Directors' Collection is here find.

Leo Bankersen

Leo Bankersen has been writing about film since Chinatown and Night of the Living Dead. Reviewed as a freelance film journalist for the GPD for a long time. Is now, among other things, one of the regular contributors to De Filmkrant. Likes to break a lance for children's films, documentaries and films from non-Western countries. Other specialities: digital issues and film education.View Author posts

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