The Walerian Borowczyk Collection: Individual Dual Format Editions to be released on 8 September, 2014

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Release Date: 8th September 2014 

This year, Arrow Academy invites you to rediscover the amazing work of painter, sculptor and filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk (1923-2006) with the first major UK retrospective celebrating his prolific body of work, focusing on his artwork, short films, pioneering animations and live-action features, many of which have been rarely seen or previously unseen on video in the UK.

Arrow Academy’s ground-breaking Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection brings together key films from the artist’s twenty five year period stretching from 1959 through to 1984.

This unique release includes five of Borowczyk’s provocative feature films: The Theatre of Mr and Mrs Kabal, Goto, Isle of Love, Blanche, Immoral Tales and The Beast as well as his shorts and animation.

Though the box set is sold out, each of these films is available individually on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time from the 8th September, in a new digital high definition restoration supervised by leading expert James White and approved by the director’s widow, Ligia Borowczyk.

In addition to exclusive documentaries featuring cast and crew, the full collection includes an hour long portrait of Borowczyk, featuring the director’s musings on painting, animation and sex.

Arrow Films have overseen the extensive restoration on Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection. Not only will many of these films available on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time, but accompanying this seminal release will be exclusive documentaries, a book edited by Daniel Bird and Michael Brooke featuring newly commissioned essays on Borowczyk’s films and art, as well as an account of the meticulous restoration process involved plus for the first time, an English translation of Borowczyk’s 1992 collection of short stories, Anatomy of the Devil, translated by the director’s assistant, Michael Levy.

Daniel Bird producer of the new restorations said, “The process of researching and restoring these films has been decades in the making and a real labour of love for me.

Thanks to Ligia Borowczyk, Arrow Films as well as everybody who took part in the Kickstarter campaign to restore ‘Goto, Isle of Love and the remaining French short films, we are now finally in a position to rediscover Borowczyk’s work and re-evaluate his contribution to film history’.

The Walerian Borowczyk Collection and each individual release is a vital addition to anyone interested in world cinema, animation or experimental film.

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THE SHORT FILMS & THEATRE OF MR AND MRS KABAL

For the first decade of his career, Walerian Borowczyk exclusively made short films, initially in his native Poland, but then mostly in France, where he settled permanently in the late 1950s. This disc includes the vast majority of the shorts that he made between 1959 and 1984, apart from ones that were originally intended to accompany specific features.

Far from being prentice work or optional extras, the shorts include many of his greatest films, such as the cut-out Astronauts, the reverse-motion Renaissance and the extraordinary Angels Games, a one-off masterpiece of the macabre that would alone establish Borowczyk as one of the cinema s most innovative artists.

In 1967, Borowczyk made his feature debut, a grotesque and surreal fantasy about the physically and temperamentally mismatched couple Mr & Mrs Kabal. Made with a tiny production team at a time when animated feature films were far scarcer than they are now, it s almost the polar opposite of a Disney film, with angular, mainly monochrome graphics bringing the Kabals universe to startlingly vivid life. Both this and all the short films are presented in brand new high-definition restorations from original 35mm elements.

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Special Features:

·         Introduction by filmmaker Terry Gilliam

·         Film is not a Sausage: Borowczyk’s Short Films – A new interview programme featuring Borowczyk, producer Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin, assistant André Heinrich and composer Bernard Parmegiani

·         Blow Ups – A new visual essay by Daniel Bird concerning Borowczyk’s works on paper

·         Borowczyk’s commercials

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GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE

Walerian Borowczyk s second feature was just as original as his first. Almost entirely live action this time, it is situated on the archipelago of Goto, which has been cut off from the rest of human civilisation by a massive earthquake and has consequently developed its own arcane rules. Melancholic dictator Goto III (Pierre Brasseur) is married to the beautiful Glossia (Ligia Branice), who in turn is lusted after by the petty thief Gozo (Guy Saint-Jean) as he works his way up the hierarchy.

Its thinly veiled critique of totalitarianism saw it banned in both Communist Poland and Fascist Spain (to Borowczyk s delight), but the film is most notable for its uniquely original atmosphere, in which bizarre props and sets (designed by Borowczyk himself) are given as much weight as the human actors. Its grave beauty is underscored to perfection by one of Handel s organ concertos.

This brand new high-definition restoration from the original 35mm interpositive includes the haunting colour sequences that were sometimes omitted from earlier releases.

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Special Features:

·         Introduction by artist and Turner Prize nominee Craigie Horsfield

·         The Concentration Universe: Goto, Isle of Love – A new interview programme featuring actor Jean-Pierre Andréani, cameraman Noël Véry and camera assistant Jean-Pierre Platel

·         The Profligate Door – A new documentary about Borowczyk’s sound sculptures featuring curator Maurice Corbet

·         Original theatrical trailer

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BLANCHE

One of the greatest of all medieval films, not least for its utterly distinctive realisation of a recognisable yet alien world, Walerian Borowczyk s third feature was widely hailed as a masterpiece from the moment it first appeared and is still regarded as one of his greatest films.

Based on Juliusz S owacki s 19th-century play Mazepa but relocated to 13th-century France, Blanche tells the story of the beautiful young wife (Ligia Branice) of a nobleman many decades older (French acting legend Michel Simon). As innocent as her name suggests, Blanche becomes the unwilling centre of attention in a power struggle between her husband, the visiting King and his page, the latter a notorious womaniser. Its unique visual style resembles a medieval fresco, and its period-instruments soundtrack, adapting the ancient Carmina Burana song book, was years ahead of its time.

Blanche is presented in a brand new high-definition restoration from original 35mm elements.

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Special Features:

·         Introduction by director Leslie Megahey

·         Ballad of Imprisonment: Blanche – A new interview programme featuring producer Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin, assistant director André Heinrich, camera operator Noël Véry and assistant Patrice Leconte

·         Obscure Pleasures: A Portrait of Walerian Borowczyk – A newly edited archival interview in which Borowczyk discusses painting, cinema and sex

·         Gun Point – A documentary short by Peter Graham produced and edited by Borowczyk

·         Original theatrical trailer

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IMMORAL TALES

Although it has much in common with Walerian Borowczyk s earlier work, Immoral Tales marks the point where his reputation as an arty pornographer began, and was sexually explicit enough to have caused problems with the censors on its original UK release.

It tells four stories revolving around particular taboos (virginity, female masturbation, bloodlust, incest), each delving further back in time, as if to suggest that the same issues recur constantly throughout human history and in all walks of life, whether it s Lucrezia Borgia (Florence Bellamy) or Erzsébet Báthory (Paloma Picasso in her only screen role) or the anonymous teenagers of the earlier episodes.

This high-definition restoration by Argos Films is being released on Blu-ray with English subtitles for the first time. The film is presented in two versions: the familiar four-part edition, and the original five-part conception, including the short film The True Story of the Beast of Gévaudan that was later expanded into Borowczyk s later feature The Beast. The disc also includes both cuts of A Private Collection (1973), the short film that scandalised film festival audiences with its witty and often graphic study of vintage erotica.

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Special Features:

·         Introduction by Borowczyk expert Daniel Bird

·         Immoral Tales: L’Age d’Or Cut – featuring a fifth episode, The True Story of the Beast of Gévaudan

·         Love Reveals Itself: Immoral Tales – A new interview programme featuring production manager Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin and cinematographer Noël Véry

·         Boro Brunch: A reunion meal recorded in February 2014 re-uniting members of Borowczyk’s crew, featuring Philippe D’Argila, Florence Dauman, Dominique Duvergé-Ségrétin, Dominique Ruspoli, Noël Véry and Zoe Zurstrassen

·         A Private Collection

·         A Private Collection: Oberhausen Cut

·         Original theatrical trailer

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THE BEAST

Originally turned down flat by the British Board of Film Censors and initially released exclusively in London in a version heavily cut by its nervous distributor, The Beast is Walerian Borowczyk s most notorious film, although it s much wittier and more playful than its subject matter might suggest.

Lucy Broadhurst (Lisbeth Hummel) is due to inherit a substantial fortune, but on condition that she marries the son of her late father s best friend. But Mathurin de l Espérance (Pierre Benedetti) seems more interested in his horses than in his bride-to-be, and when Lucy finds out about the story of his 18th-century ancestor Romilda (Sirpa Lane) and brings her to life in one of the most outrageous dream sequences in cinema history, we begin to realise just how bizarre Mathurin s bloodline truly is.

Receiving its Blu-ray world premiere, this new high-definition restoration by Argos Films is supported by the original short-film version of The Beast, and Venus on the Half-Shell (1975), Borowczyk s portrait of the painter Bona Tibertelli de Pisis and her erotic fusions of men, women and molluscs.

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Special Features:

·         Introduction by critic Peter Bradshaw

·         The Making of The Beast: Camera operator Noël Véry provides a commentary on footage shot during the making of The Beast

·         Frenzy of Ecstasy – A new visual essay on the evolution of Borowczyk’s beast and the sequel that never was, Motherhood

·         Venus on the Half Shell

·         Original theatrical trailer

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