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Thursday, September 1, 2016
FILM MOVEMENT CLASSICS ACQUIRES EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO NEWLY RESTORED COLLECTION OF JOE SARNO’S EROTIC FILMS
Blu-ray Reissue of VAMPIRE ECSTASY and SIN YOU SINNERS Kicks Off the Series This October
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September 1, 2016 (New York, NY) – Film Movement, the New York-based film distributor of first-run, award-winning foreign and independent films, announced today its acquisition of classic titles by noted sexploitation and erotica filmmaker Joe Sarno. In 2014, Film Movement released A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES, a documentary about Sarno and his wife Peggy and their attempt to make one last film. Because of the overwhelming response to the documentary and to his films in general, Film Movement is partnering with Film Media to release HD restorations of Sarno's films under the Film Movement Classics label. Two films, VAMPIRE ECSTASY (1973) and the seminal SIN YOU SINNERS (1963), will be the first titles to be released on October 25th.
Through Film Movement’s partnership with Film Media, new 2K theatrical masters will be created for each film for the first time ever. For years, only poorly-preserved prints were available for retrospective screenings. Film Movement has acquired all rights to the Sarno library and will make all of the films available for theatrical retrospectives as the new masters become available. In addition, all of the films will be re-released on Blu-ray and DVD over the next few years and will feature new essays by film critic Tim Lucas. Michael E. Rosenberg, President of Film Movement, brokered the deal with Michael Raso and Paige Davis of Film Media.
“Joe Sarno was a master of erotic cinema whose career spanned and embraced the changing sexual mores of the latter mid-20th century,” said Raso. “We are delighted the Sarno Retrospect series, featuring many of Joe’s most critically and commercially acclaimed films, has found a home with Film Movement Classics, a brand with outstanding and culturally significant cinema.”
“Film Media has worked diligently to find and restore these films, and after releasing A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES, we're thrilled to re-introduce audiences to these classic films, as well as introduce new audiences to Joe Sarno,” said Rosenberg.
A pioneer of sexploitation cinema, American film director and screenwriter Joseph W. Sarno’s (1921-2010) prolific career spans the evolution of the genre. His early black and white films are praised for their chiaroscuro lighting and their complex psycho-sexual plots, but it was his more explicit art-house film, INGA, shot in Sweden in 1968, that brought him international attention and catapulted its young star, Marie Liljedahl, to fame. Never a fan of explicit triple-X filmmaking, Sarno nonetheless continued to write and direct adult films through the 1970s and ‘80s, often working under a pseudonym or offering his director’s credit to the film’s female lead. Among his most noted films are SIN IN THE SUBURBS, INGA, ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN, CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE and BUTTERFLIES – all of which will be released as part of the series.
Recently, Sarno’s work has been the subject of retrospectives at several noted institutions and festivals, including Anthology Film Archives in New York which called him “…one of the true pioneers of celluloid erotica and one of sexploitation’s most sincere and critically-celebrated stylists.” The British Film Institute (BFI) observed that “…in the films of Joe Sarno, sex is never simply sex,” while The Alamo Drafthouse notes that because Sarno was “a psychology major in college, he directed erotic movies with strong moral and archetypal underpinnings. His films are full of mind games, secret rituals, role playing, masks and strong, often dominant female characters.” Sarno retrospectives were also held at the New York Underground Film Festival, the Lake Placid Film Festival, the Vienna Filmmuseum, The Cinemateque Français, The Turin Film Festival, and the Warhol Museum.
Dripping with gothic atmosphere, VAMPIRE ECSTASY (aka THE DEVIL’S PLAYTHING, 1973, 103 minutes) is Sarno’s mesmerizing foray into the horror genre. When a trio of beautiful young women journey to their ancestral home to claim an inheritance, they fall prey to a coven of witches, intent on trying to reincarnate their deceased vampire leader. Starring Maria Forsa, Nadia Henkowa, and Anke Syring, VAMPIRE ECSTASY was called “an undercurrent of poetic melancholia and surrealism” by Offscreen.com.
SIN YOU SINNERS (1963, 73 minutes) is from the first wave of sexploitation films by Sarno, who was also dubbed the “Chekov of soft-core” (Village Voice). The film is a hypnotic noir about a medallion forged in a voodoo ritual that preserves an exotic dancer’s youth and beauty. When her jealous daughter and employer hatch plots to steal the amulet for themselves, it sets off a chain of events ending in murder. “SIN YOU SINNERS….finds (Joe Sarno) already occupying the unconscious position of a genuine grindhouse auteur,” wrote Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog.
About Film Movement
Launched in 2002, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films, based in New York City. Film Movement has released more than 250 feature films and shorts from 50 countries on six continents, including the recent Academy Award-nominated film THEEB, and other top prize winners from Sundance, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, Tribeca and other prestigious festivals. Together with two imprints, Omnibus Entertainment and Film Movement Classics, Film Movement releases its films through numerous distribution channels, including hundreds of art-house cinemas, universities and libraries; home video; television outlets; Cable Video on Demand; In-flight Entertainment; broadband outlets; and its original film subscription club. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.