If film history and preservation mean anything to you, then you should know Milestone Films. They’re a small distribution company with an enormous passion for the moving picture, and they’re responsible for some of the most exciting discoveries and re-releases of the last decade. Led by a husband-and-wife team, Milestone celebrates their 20th anniversary with a spotlight position in the Weekend Classics program at NYC’s IFC Center, starting this weekend and running through March 27, 2011. The program is called “Milestone Films: 20 for 20,” and IFC Center has just announced all titles through January 17.
Of particular interest:
Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep (below, 1977), a landmark work of African-American cinema that was held up in music copyright hell — until Milestone cleared the rights and released the film 30 years after its completion. It is part of the National Society of Film Critics’ 100 Essential Films.
A pair of British wartime thrillers directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache (1944). When the British government found both titles too “inflammatory,” the films were hidden away.
I Am Cuba (1964), a remarkable display of Communist cinematic superiority (it’s pretty incredible from a technical standpoint), this Russian-Cuban co-production by Mikhail Kolotozov is a personal favorite, and Milestone’s DVD release is superb. Right down to the faux cigar box that houses the DVDs. (My review of I Am Cuba for AMC filmcritic.com)
Here’s the entire list for the program’s first half. If you don’t live in New York, and would like to see Milestone’s impressive catalog of DVDs, check out the Milestone Films’ site.
Nov 12-14 Rocco and His Brothers (1960, Luchino Visconti)
Nov 19-21 The Edge of the World (1937, Michael Powell)
Nov 24-28 Killer of Sheep (1977, Charles Burnett)
Dec 3-5 The Trial (1962, Orson Welles)
Dec 10-12 The Wide Blue Road (1957, Gillo Pontecorvo & Maleno Malenotti)
Dec 17-19 Two Friends (1986, Jane Campion)
Dec 23-26 Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache (1944, Alfred Hitchcock)
Dec 30-Jan 2 The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926, Lotte Reiniger)
Jan 7-9 The Exiles and Bunker Hill (1961 and 1956, Kent Mackenzie)
Jan 14-17 I Am Cuba (1964, Mikhail Kalatozov)