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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Film Movement Classics Releases "Beat" Takeshi Kitano and Joe Sarno on DVD & Blu-ray



September 28, 2016 (New York, NY) – Film Movement, the New York-based distributor of arthouse, independent and classic films, is pleased to announce the first home video releases by acclaimed Japanese star and filmmaker “Beat” Takeshi Kitano from its Film Movement Classics imprint. VIOLENT COP (1989), Kitano’s explosive directorial debut, is a testament to the stylized action of ‘80s cinema, and his sophomore effort, BOILING POINT (1990), is the first written and directed by the action auteur and features his signature stoic acting combined with his visionary directing. Both films, which will be available on DVD and on Blu-ray – for the first time – on October 11th, will each include exclusive bonus featurettes and cover art by renowned comic book artist Ben Marra.

On October 25th, Film Movement Classics will release the first two titles from its recently acquired Joe Sarno library, VAMPIRE ECSTASY (1973) and SIN YOU SINNERS (1963). Sarno, who was the subject of Film Movement’s 2014 documentary A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES, is a pioneer of sexploitation and erotic films and his work has recently experienced a resurgence in appreciation through retrospectives around the world. Partnering with Film Media, Film Movement Classics will continue to release two Sarno films at a time on Blu-ray and DVD over the next few years.

In his breakthrough classic, VIOLENT COP, “Beat” Takeshi directs and stars as vicious rogue homicide detective Azuma who takes on a sadistic crime syndicate only to discover widespread internal corruption within the police force. Kitano’s debut feature marks his transformation from motor-mouth comedic star of stage and screen to art house auteur – consciously playing with the schizophrenic nature of his public persona, both in his films and in public. The San Francisco Chronicle called VIOLENT COP “exhilarating,” and Lawrence van Gelder of The New York Times said the film “packs a punch,” when it was released in the U.S. in 1999, ten years after it was made and following the success of Kitano’s other films, HANA-BI (FIREWORKS) and SONATINE. VIOLENT COP was in the official selection of the Yokohama Film Festival, where Kitano won the Best Director award; Karlovy Vary; and Moscow Film Festival.

BOILING POINT, the second film from Renaissance man Kitano follows two members of a junior baseball team who get mixed up with yakuza gangsters, haphazardly stumbling into a journey for revenge. For the first time Kitano wrote as well as directed, carving out his unique genre blend of crime, action and comedy. The Chicago Reader observed that “Takeshi Kitano's handling of tones, which range from the grimly depressive to the irreverently hilarious, is amazing,” and Time Out called it “the funniest film to date from a key '90s filmmaker.” BOILING POINT received a Special Mention at the Torino International Film Festival and gained recognition at Karlovy Vary and Mumbai International Film Festivals.

Blu-rays and DVDs of VIOLENT COP and BOILING POINT, which will be available on October 11th, will each include an essay by Tom Vick of The Smithsonian Institution, as well as a 20-minute bonus featurette. THAT MAN IS DANGEROUS: THE BIRTH OF TAKESHI KITANO will be paired with VIOLENT COP, and OKINAWA DAYS: TAKESHI’S SECOND DEBUT will be included with BOILING POINT. The featurettes will include interviews with the filmmakers, actors and producers; clips from the films; and a survey of graphic images and posters.

Called “an undercurrent of poetic melancholia and surrealism” ( and dripping with gothic atmosphere, VAMPIRE ECSTASY is Joe 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.

Meanwhile, SIN YOU SINNERS, from the first wave of sexploitation films by Sarno, the “Chekhov of soft-core” (The Village Voice) is a hypnotic noir about a medallion forged in a voodoo ritual that preserves an exotic dancer’s youth and beauty. When the dancer’s 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 (Sarno) already occupying the unconscious position of a genuine grindhouse auteur,” wrote film critic Tim Lucas. This inaugural home video release will also include a bonus essay by Lucas.

DVDs and Blu-rays of VIOLENT COP, BOILING POINT and VAMPIRE ECSTASY/SIN YOU SINNERS will be available to own from, and other retailers.

VIOLENT COP (1989, 103 mins) Directed by Takeshi Kitano. Written by Hisashi Nozawa. Starring Takeshi Kitano, Maiko Kawakami, Makoto Ashikawa. Japan. Japanese with English subtitles. A Film Movement Classics Release. Trailer, stills, and synopsis available here.

BOILING POINT (1990, 97 mins) Directed by Takeshi Kitano. Written by Takeshi Kitano. Starring Takeshi Kitano, Yurei Yanagi, Yuriko Ishida. Japan. Japanese with English subtitles. A Film Movement Classics Release. Trailer, stills, and synopsis available here.

VAMPIRE ECSTASY (aka THE DEVIL’S PLAYTHING, 1973, 103 mins) Directed by Joseph W. Sarno. Written by Takeshi Kitano. Starring Maria Forsa, Nadia Henkowa, and Anke Syring. A Film Movement Classics Release. Additional information available here.

SIN YOU SINNERS (1963, 73 mins) Directed by Joseph W. Sarno. Starring June Colbourne, Dian Lloyd, Derek Murcott. A Film Movement Classics Release. Additional information available here

About Film Movement Classics
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 culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide, and this year it had its first Academy Award-nominated film, THEEB. Film Movement’s theatrical distribution strategy has evolved to include promising American independent films, documentaries, and an even stronger slate of foreign art house titles. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors including Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris and Takeshi Kitano. For more information, please visit


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