Comedy ‘Zombie for Sale,’ Thriller ‘Black Rainbow’ and Atomic Bomb Drama ‘Hiroshima’ Among Titles Due on Blu-ray in July from Arrow and MVD

The Korean comedy Zombie for Sale, the British thriller Black Rainbow and the Japanese atomic bomb drama Hiroshima are among the titles coming to Blu-ray Disc in July from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

In 2019’s Zombie for Sale, due July 7, the illegal human experiments of Korea’s biggest pharmaceutical company go wrong, and one of their “undead” test subjects escapes and ends up in a shabby gas station owned by the Park family — a band of misfits spanning three generations who hustle passers-by to make ends meet. When the family uncovers their undead visitor, he bites the head of their household, who instead of transforming into an undead ghoul becomes revitalised and full of life. The family then hatches a plan to exploit this unexpected fountain of youth, allowing locals to pay to be bitten, too, until things go wrong. Extras include an audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin; a Q&A with director Lee Min-jae from a 2019 screening at Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago, moderated by film critic and author Darcy Paquet; “Eat Together, Kill Together: The Family-in-Peril Comedy,” a video essay by critic and producer Pierce Conran exploring Korea’s unique social satires; a making-of featurette; behind-the-scenes footage; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Mike Lee-Graham; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Josh Hurtado.

Also coming July 7 is the British thriller Black Rainbow (1989). Mike Hodges (Flash Gordon, Get Carter) wrote and directed this supernatural chiller as a meditation on the human race’s ability to destroy the world, a gothic tale of suspense and the occult. Martha Travis (Rosanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction, Crash) is a travelling clairvoyant on the road with her sceptic father (Jason Robards, Once Upon a Time in the West, Magnolia). During a séance, Martha communicates a message from a dead man to his wife in the audience. Shocked the wife insists her husband is still alive. Later that evening the husband is killed by a ruthless assassin. As Martha foresees more and more tragic events journalist Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce, Amadeus, Animal House) follows the pair in pursuit of a hot story with catastrophically eerie results. Sent direct to cable by its struggling distributor on initial release, Black Rainbow never got wide exposure. It is newly restored from the original negative. Extras include new audio commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan; archival audio commentary by Hodges; an archival making-of documentary; several archival featurettes; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh; and for the first pressing only, a booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Hodges and more, illustrated with stills.

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Also on tap July 7 is 1969’s Inferno of Torture. Japanese exploitation legend Teruo Ishii (Horrors of Malformed Men, Orgies of Edo) delivers one of his most extreme visions of violent eroticism in the sixth in his abnormal love series, in which tattoos and torture await women forced into servitude. Unable to repay a local lender, Yumi (Yumika Katayama) takes up an offer to serve as a geisha for two years with a promise of freedom once her debt is repaid. She quickly realizes that this is less a house of geishas than an extremely cruel brothel specializing in supplying Western visitors with tattooed playthings. Extras include audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes; “Erotic Grotesque Nonsense & the Foundations of Japan’s Cult Counterculture,” a condensed version of Jasper Sharp’s Miskatonic Institute lecture; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris D.

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Due July 14 is Hiroshima (1953), about the devastation wrought by the world’s first deployment of the atomic bomb and its aftermath, based on the written eye-witness accounts of its child survivors compiled by Dr. Arata Osada for the 1951 book Children of the A Bomb: Testament of the Boys and Girls of Hiroshima. Adapted for the screen by independent director Hideo Sekigawa (Listen to the Voices of the Sea, Tokyo Untouchable) and screenwriter Yasutaro Yagi (Theatre of Life, Rice), Hiroshima combines a harrowing documentary realism with human drama in a tale of the suffering, endurance and survival of a group of teachers, their students and their families. It boasts a score composed by Akira Ifukube (Godzilla) and stars Yumeji Tsukioka (Late Spring, The Eternal Breasts), Isuzu Yamada (Throne of Blood, Yojimbo) and Eiji Okada (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Woman in the Dunes), appearing alongside an estimated 90,000 residents from the city as extras, including many survivors from that fateful day on Aug. 6, 1945. Hiroshima was produced and distributed outside of the studio system by the Japan Teachers’ Union following the mixed critical reception to Children of Hiroshima (1952), directed by Kaneto Shindo the previous year, the first dramatic feature to deal directly with the atomic bombing. Although sequences from the film were used in Alain Resnais’ classic of French New Wave cinema, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), it has been effectively out of circulation in Japan and the rest of the world since its original release due to the force and political sensitivity of its message. This new HD presentation is the complete version, restoring the footage from the international edit that was released in the United States in 1955. Extras include an archive interview with actress Yumeji Tsukioka; Hiroshima Nagasaki Download (2011), a 73-minute documentary featuring interviews with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings now residing in the United States, with an introduction by the director Shinpei Takeda; a new video essay by Jasper Sharp; newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mick Broderick.

Coming July 21 are two films from 1988, Bloodstone and Life Is a Long Quiet River.

In Bloodstone, a man of action and a cab driver pair up to save a young girl from the clutches of an evil criminal magnate. The Bloodstone, a priceless stolen ruby, accidentally ends up in the possession of American newlyweds Sandy (Brett Stimely, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death) and Stephanie (Anna Nicholas, “Remington Steele”). Now, their honeymoon in India is interrupted as they become the target of international fence Van Hoeven (Christopher Neame, The Prestige) and his evil henchmen. When Van Hoeven kidnaps Stephanie and ransoms her for the jewel, Sandy joins forces with the cabby and dormant stunt-driver Shyam Sabu (Rajinikanth, 2.0) to rescue his young bride. Co-written and produced by Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, The Wind), the film features a performance by legendary Tamil megastar Rajinikanth in his first English-language role. Extras include new audio commentary by Bryan Reesman; “Keeping it to Myself,” a new interview with producer and co-writer Nico Mastorakis; a new video essay on Rajinikanth by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado; trailers; an image gallery; the original screenplay; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mark Cunliffe.

Life Is a Long Quiet River is a fast-paced French satire. The radiantly bourgeois Le Quesnoys, with their immaculate children and perfect manners, and the grubby, disreputable Groseilles are thrown together in absurd chaos by an act of revenge as they discover that 12 years prior their babies were switched at birth. A witty send up of class relations and family ties, Life Is a Long Quiet River was celebrated with a host of trophies at France’s César Awards ceremony, winning best screenplay, best debut work and acting prizes for Héléne Vincent and Catherine Jacob. Extras include archival interviews with director Étienne Chatiliez, actor André Wilms, co-writer/co-producer Florence Quentin and producer Charles Gassot; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jonathan Romney.

‘Manon,’ ‘One Missed Call Trilogy’ and Slasher ‘Deadly Manor’ Due on Blu-ray Feb. 25 From MVD and Arrow

Three titles are coming on Blu-ray Feb. 25 from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Manon, the Japanese “One Missed Call Trilogy” and the slasher Deadly Manor.

Manon comes via Arrow Academy. Loosely adapted from Antoine François Prévost’s 1731 novel, this French drama is the story of a French Resistance fighter that rescues and falls in love with a woman accused of working with the Nazi’s. The couple moves to Paris where their life begins to spiral out of control as they get caught up in prostitution and murder. The film took home the Golden Lion award at the 1949 Venice Film Festival. The new high definition release includes a new video appreciation by critic Geoff Andrew and an archival documentary that features Clouzot discussing his love for literature.

The multi-disc “One Missed Call Trilogy” features a legendary trio of J-horror films launched with Takashi Miike’s 2003 film about people who receive strange voicemails from their future selves predicting their deaths. Yumi Nakamura, a young psychology student, begins to investigate the calls and discovers this terrifying circumstance has been plaguing Japan for centuries. The original was followed by two more films, One Missed Called 2 and One Missed Call: The Final Call. Special features include interviews, documentaries, a TV special and a short film.

Also on tap is José Ramón Larraz’s slasher Deadly Manor (1990), also known as Savage Lust. This final genre effort from Larraz follows teens who stay the night in an abandoned mansion that happens to be home to a lunatic killer. Restored in 2K using the original elements, Deadly Manor is making its Blu-ray debut. Special features include a new interview with actress Jennifer Delora and the original VHS trailer.

Netflix Opens New Paris Office

Netflix has opened a new Paris office in the 9th arrondissement.

“This new office reflects Netflix’s long-term commitment to France’s creative community, including over 20 French productions in 2020,” according to a company press release.

The French HQ is Netflix’s fourth office in Europe. Netflix France currently employs 40 people, across films and series, partnerships and marketing.

“It is a real honor to be in France, with its rich culture and history of storytelling,” said Reed Hastings, founding chairman and CEO of Netflix, in a statement. “This office is a sign of our long-term commitment to the country and will enable us to work even more closely with the French creative community on great shows and films that are made in France and watched all around the world.”

Netflix has, since launching in France in 2014, developed 24 French titles, including six films, nine series, five stand-up shows, three documentaries and one unscripted series, according to the release.

“2019 was a year of great success for original stories in France,” according to the release, citing the horror and YA sci-fi series “Marianne” and “Mortel,” comedies “Plan Coeur” and “Family Business,” the film Banlieusards, and the documentary series Grégory.

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French content executives unveiled several original shows to be produced by Netflix over the coming years as well as a range of series and films made by production partners for Netflix. They include:

  • BigBug, the new film by César Award Winner Jean-Pierre Jeunet that is a comedy set in the future with a cast including César Award Winner Elsa Zylberstein, César Award Nominee Isabelle Nanty, and Manu Payet;
  • A six-part series being developed by screenwriter Fanny Herrero following the lives of four young comedians trying to make it in the Paris stand-up scene.
  • The renewal (Season 2) of the original YA Sci-fi series “Mortel.”
  • Sentinelle, an action film starring Olga Kurylenko, directed by Julien Leclercq (Braqueurs and La Terre et le Sang).

This adds to a range of original shows already announced for 2020:

  • “Arsène Lupin,”starring Omar Sy, and created by George Kay in collaboration with François Uzan.
  • “La Révolution,” a historical thriller series created by Aurélien Molas.
  • “The Eddy,”Damien Chazelle’s series created by Jack Thorne, that reunites Leïla Bekhti and Tahar Rahim.
  • “Vampires,” starring Oulaya Amamra and Suzanne Clément, and created by Benjamin Dupas and Isaure Pisani-Ferry.
  • Two documentaries, one about Nicolas Anelka, developed by Franck Nataf, and the other featuring Maître Gims, directed by Florent Bodin.

“We are incredibly proud of the productions we’re currently filming, the ones we are developing and the ones we’ve unveiled today. The establishment of a new French creative hub brings new opportunities for us to work with the best and most exciting creative talent in France and to bring diverse genres and content to everyone who loves French storytelling,” added Damien Couvreur, Netflix’s director of series in France, in a statement.

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Netflix also announced a series of partnerships with major French creative institutions. Those partnerships include:

  • Strengthening Netflix’s existing partnership with La Fémis by supporting their Residency program, an 11-month full-time training course that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into film and TV.
  • 1000 visages, an association founded in 2006 by Houda Benyamina, which provides a number of training programs in the visual arts and promotes access to jobs within the creative industries. Netflix will become the main partner in the program dedicated to series’ screenwriting, to be launched in January 2020. Houda Benyamina is also the director of two episodes of “The Eddy.”
  • Since 2019, Netflix has partnered with GOBELINS L’École de l’Image, giving one graduate every year the opportunity to work alongside Netflix’s animation experts in Japan. In addition, Netflix will now contribute to Gobelins’ training program by funding four-year scholarships for five students as part of their Master of Arts in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking.

Season Four of “Grantchester,” Season One of “Walter Presents: Killer by the Lake” Coming in July to PBS Masterpiece’s Prime Video Channel

Two murder mystery crime thrillers, Grantchester: Season 4 and Walter Presents: Killer by the Lake — Season 1, will begin streaming in July on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel.

The fourth season of “Grantchester,” streaming starting July 15, marks the final appearance of James Norton as crime-solving Vicar Sidney Chambers and introduces Tom Brittney (“Outlander,” “Call the Midwife”) as new cast member Reverend Will Davenport.

Walter Presents: Killer by the Lake, Season 1

“Walter Presents: Killer by The Lake” is the follow up to the hit French thriller, “Vanished by the Lake.” The series revisits troubled detective Lise who has started a new life with her husband and baby. The happy, rural idyll is suddenly shattered with the discovery of two dead women. Season one starts streaming July 19.

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.