By Ray Pride

Janus Films Restores, Releases Oliver Assayas’ “Lost” 1990s Masterpiece

Janus Films presents the first-ever US theatrical release of award-winning French director Olivier Assayas’ COLD WATER (1994). The film received a stunning 4k restoration and will roll-out in theaters throughout the US beginning April 2018, following the March 9 premiere with the Austin Film Society (AFS). The film, which focuses on star-crossed adolescents in 1970s France, launched Olivier Assayas into the international spotlight– as well as its star Virginie Ledoyen– and has been considered one of the great undistributed films of the 1990s.
Janus Films President Peter Becker said, “Cold Water is one of the great missing films, a nearly unknown tour de force by Olivier Assayas. If it had ever been properly released, it would certainly be considered one of Olivier’s masterpieces. With an uncanny fluidity, this deeply honest coming of age tale fuses wrenching emotional realism and a lush, expressionistic visual style driven by one of the most amazing soundtracks in any film. The uncleared music that is so central to the film’s success is also what kept the film from being seen for so long. We’ve been hoping for years to be able to bring this unseen stunner to theatrical audiences who never got a chance to see it when it was first made. We’re incredibly proud to be presenting it now in a gorgeous new 4K restoration. It has certainly been worth the wait!”
Director Olivier Assayas said about the restoration, “The premiere of the restored COLD WATER is a huge satisfaction, and the result of years of concern, struggle, anger, resilience… Ever since I shot this film in 24 days in December ’93–and it opened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 94–it has had a great life of its own, traveling the world and screening at most major festivals. Unluckily, its access to general release has been plagued by misfortune after misfortune.”
“So, here it is, we cleared the French rights, we cleared the international rights, we cleared the music rights, the film will have its long overdue US release,” continued Assayas. “Let’s go back to square one. This is a movie about kids in the 70’s. They look very much like myself and my friends at the time. This was a small film by any standard, we made it with no money at all, during a freezing cold winter, most of the cast were kids with no experience in film at all. It was my first shot at some sort of cinematic auto-biography and I saw it as an experiment. It taught me that it is by taking chances, by trying side roads that you open up new spaces for yourself. In many ways COLD WATER changed my filmmaking life, and for that reason it always has had a special place in my heart.”
Golden Globe Award-winning director Assayas will be present at the AFS Cinema on March 9 and March 11 for post-screening discussions at several of his films, including COLD WATER, SOMETHING IN THE AIR, PARIS AWAKENS and IRMA VEP. Additional films in the series include SUMMER HOURS, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA and PERSONAL SHOPPER.  The series is co-presented by UniFrance. Assayas can also been seen in Austin as a featured speaker along with AFS founder and Artistic Director Richard Linklater at this year’s SXSW Conference on March 11. Tickets for all AFS programs must be purchased at www.austinfilm.orgor at the AFS Cinema box office.
Janus Films will release the film theatrically starting April 2018, following the premiere in Austin. Additional dates and venues can be found on .
Assayas on the continued support he received, “I have to thank those who step by step have been fighting – through the years – to give this film a new life. First and foremost Sylvie Barthet who was the original line producer and has been working with me ever since, as co-producer of most of my films. This has been her crusade. Nothing would have been possible if the rights to the films had not ended up in the catalogue of Orange, curated by Sergueï Obolensky who has been incredibly helpful, patient and generous. But then it’s all thanks to everybody at Janus Films & Criterion Collection they have been involved in this process for years, even at a time when we thought there was no credible way to untangle this knot, and their faith, their unwavering support, has kept the project alive.”
Olivier Assayas is one of the world’s most acclaimed directors. He is currently finishing a film called NON-FICTION starring Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet and Vincent Macaigne.  More recently, he won the Best Director prize at Cannes in 2016 for PERSONAL SHOPPER, the 2nd of his collaborations with Kristen Stewart.  His first was CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA which also starred Juliette Binoche and won Stewart several awards, including Best Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle.  Starting out as a painter then a television writer, Assayas began making his own films after pursuing his passion for global cinema as a member of the editorial staff of Cahiers du Cinema from 1980-1985.  It was Assayas’ passion for Hong Kong cinema (and his coverage of it in the Cahiers) that opened the doors for the Western cinephile audience’s discovery and appreciation of the Hong Kong studio system. Assayas’ interest in globalizing culture, technology and the place of art and artistic expression are consistent themes in his complex and varied body of work. He has worked with some of the most accomplished actors of his time; frequent collaborators include Juliette Binoche, Maggie Cheung, Kristen Stewart, Jeanne Balibar, Virginie Ledoyen and Charles Berling. His mini-series CARLOS earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Mini-Series, and his film SUMMER HOURS was named one of the “Best Films of the 21st Century (so far)”, by the New York Times.
Since 1956, Janus Films has been dedicated to bringing international art-house films to U.S. audiences. Its ever expanding library of more than 800 films ranges from classics by Chantal Akerman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, François Truffaut, Yasujiro Ozu, Andrei Tarkovksy and Agnes Varda to major works by contemporary masters, Jim Jarmusch, Joel and Ethan Coen and John Waters.
In addition to distributing its classic library, Janus Films also releases carefully selected first-run titles, including Aki Kaurismaki’s award-winning THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE, Abbas Kiarostami’s final film, 24 FRAMES, Kirsten Johnson’s critically acclaimed CAMERAPERSON and Paolo Sorrentino’s THE GREAT BEAUTY, which won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

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~ Eric Allen Hatch