Restored Version Le joli mai Coming Soon

April 4, 2013 | By French Culture
"Le joli mai" by Chris Marker

Icarus Films announced its acquisition of all North American distribution rights to Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s landmark 1963 film Le joli mai. This film had been unavailable for many years and it is now newly restored. It will be screened at several major film festivals before its theatrical opening in New York at Film Forum on September 13, 2013. In November 2013, the film will be released by Icarus Films Home Video in a deluxe 2-disc DVD edition, and online.

The restoration work on Le joli mai was done according to the wishes of Chris Marker (1921-2012) and supervised by Pierre Lhomme, the film’s cinematographer and co-director. The film score was created by composer Michel Legrand, and the English-language commentary is by Academy Award-winning actress Simone Signoret. Working from 55 hours of material filmed with ordinary citizens—made possible by then-new, lightweight, synch-sound cameras—Marker and Lhomme craft a “sincere, brilliant, clever and highly idiosyncratic essay”, according to Paris-Presse.

Considered one of Marker’s major works, Le joli mai was awarded the International Critics Prize at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, and the “First Work” Prize at the 1963 Venice Film Festival. It premiered in North America in September, 1963, at the first New York Film Festival.  “Many people had to cooperate and work together to make it possible for Le joli mai to be restored and released in a form corresponding to the vision of Chris Marker,” said Miller. “We owe all of them, particularly Marker’s friend and colleague Pierre Lhomme, a debt of gratitude. And we are honored to be able to play our part in bringing this beautiful film, on “the lovely month of May,” and a touchstone of Chris Marker’s legacy, to North American audiences.”

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