Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
While the majority of Bildstorung's catalog focuses on the European arthouse cinema of the past, there is a growing portion of their acquisitions that are moving far from their German home. The company has licenses for films from as far away as Australia, the US, and India in an attempt to get wider recognition for these under-seen and under-appreciated pieces. This column will take a look at a few of these releases, as well as examining the common threads between them.

In 2009, the first shot into the heart of international cult cinema was fired from Serbia in the form of The Life & Death of a Porno Gang. It wasn't until 2010 that the world would be shocked speechless by A Serbian Film, but Porno Gang set that dynamic up and opened up the channels by which ASF made its way to the world. Life & Death of a Porno Gang is, for me, the more disturbing of the two. There is something sanitizing about the artifice of A Serbian Film that is ripped away by the immediacy of Porno Gang. The film feels as though, in a not too altered world, it could be real, and there is where the real discomfort starts to seep in.

Bildstorung have treated Porno Gang with the kind of care one usually doesn't see given to a film that is bound to be so offensive to so many people. Unlike A Serbian Film's bare-bones US release, Porno Gang was given three different releases in Germany, including what I believe to be the world's only Blu-ray release. In another coup for Bildstorung, not only is the film and all of its extra material subtitled in English, but there is a double feature which includes director, Mladen Djordjevic's, previous documentary, Made In Serbia on DVD. The double feature disc shown here is actually three discs, Porno Gang on Blu-ray and DVD and an additional DVD with Made in Serbia. If that weren't enough, there is also a ton of bonus material, including well over an hour of interviews, short films, commentaries, and photo galleries. This is some Criterion level work. The set is a bit pricey, but for what you get and it being all-region, I don't think it is absurd.

clean.jpgSpeaking of The Criterion Collection, Bildstorung has another connection with that venerable distributor in the form of Lodge Kerrigan's Clean, Shaven. This film is one that gets very little recognition, despite it's place in Criterion's catalog, and Bildstorung have even managed to one-up the Big C by releasing it on Blu-ray! While this German edition may be missing a few of the extras, it does retain the commentary with the director, Kerrigan, and producer, Steven Soderbergh, as well as including a new essay from Michael Atkinson, though the latter is translated into German. The Blu-ray disc for this film is region B locked, as Criterion don't typically allow all region releases of their licenses.

Another Criterion film in Bildstorung's collection is Stuart Cooper's Overlord. This film, part drama, part found footage, is a very interesting one, and BIldstorung's disc features many, but not all, of the Criterion extras. Again, all of the bonus material is in English, so there's no reason not to pick this one up as well. Overlord is a great film and another of the lesser known films that deserves more recognition. With the added incentive of a commentary, short film, and various archival materials, this is certainly also a winner.

bubby.jpgAnother, better known, cult film from the far reaches in Bildstorung's kitty is the disturbing Australian cult masterpiece, Bad Boy Bubby. This is a film with great releases in many territories, but Bildstorung's deserves notice. This is another completely English friendly release with a ton of bonus material including a commentary, short films, interviews, and Q & A's with the crew. It's a great film, to boot, so if you don't have it yet, this seems to outdo the US Blue Underground edition, and land on firm standing next to the deluxe Australian disc.

The last title I want to share is very unlikely to be English friendly, but will be the first commercial release of the film in the world, and that is Q's Gandu. Both Todd and I reviewed Gandu for the 2010 SAIFF and loved it. The film still has not played officially in its home country of India, and the prospect of that happening any time soon is looking rather slim. However, thanks to Bildstorung's willingness to take on challenges like the ones I've outlined above, we will at least get the opportunity to see Gandu at home. This is one I'm definitely interested in, even without subs, since I have seen it subbed and I know the gist.  Even more impressive is that Bildstorung will be releasing Gandu on Blu-ray, which is an incredible thought for such a visually compelling film.  The exclusive English language premier of the specs of the Gandu Blu-ray are below.

gandublu.jpgI've written extensively about the complex sexual politics involved in releasing Gandu in its home country, and the fact that Bildstorung are giving it an audience is very encouraging. While this disc may not be English friendly, the fact that it retains its Bengali soundtrack means that people in Kolkata can finally legally purchase a copy of it for their own. Q has been inundated with requests for torrents and pirated copies to share among the population of his home state, and now he finally has an answer for that. Q has moved onto his next project, he's working on editing one project down with another in the pipeline, so this is one less thing for him to worry about, and Bildstorung deserves commendation for approaching such a complex and polarizing film.

That's it for this week. There may be another Bildstorung related column next week, but I'm still ironing that out. In the mean time, please check out the releases below at Amazon DE!
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Order The Life & Death of a Porno Gang/Made In Serbia Double Feature at Amazon DE

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