Arrow Video in February: Lineup Features The Films of Jean Rollin, Sonny Chiba and Sammo Hung

Screen Anarchy

Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin tells the story of one of Eurocult cinema’s most singular voices. Deeply misunderstood and widely misrepresented, during his decades-long career as a film director (1958-2009), Rollin’s work received absolutely no recognition in his native country of France, and was completely unknown anywhere else. In the nineties, because of home video, Rollin attained a marginal cult status in niche English speaking genre circles. Otherwise he has remained completely obscure.

Rollin was raised within the bosom of some of France’s most influential and intellectual elites, thanks to his mother Denise’s friendship with figures such as Maurice Blanchot, George Bataille, Jean Cocteau, as well as Jacques and Pierre Prévert. Similarly his father was a director in avant garde theatre, exposing Jean to some of France’s most interesting aspects of culture. It is perhaps not surprising that when it came to making his films, Jean Rollin’s were unlike anything else on the scene.

Once you dig into the director’s life and passions, what emerges is a strong connection to the French surrealists, to symbolist art, to the poetry of TristanCorbière, to the French anarchist scene in the sixties, and counterculture. Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin sets out to tell this story in an attempt to elevate the director’s work by exploring it in depth alongside these major influences, as well as other key themes such as the tradition of the French Fantastique. The film also looks at his frustrations, the way in which he had to constantly grapple and scramble for funding as one of the only filmmakers predominantly working within the horror genre through the sixties and seventies. Most importantly, it examines his singular vision, one that ran completely counter to other western traditions in genre film.

February starts the month of love on February 3 with a pair of Paul Joyce documentaries about the American indie film scene: Robert Altman: Giggle and Give In and Made in the USA (both US/UK/CA/IRE). Joyce’s documentary profile of Altman, originally produced in 1996 includes contributions from Altman, Elliott Gould, Shelley Duvall, assistant director Alan Rudolph and screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury.

February Seasons also kick off with the celebration of a filmmaker’s voice on February 3: Charles Band: The Puppetmaster (UK/IRE/US/CA). Triple-threat writer-producer-director Charles Band has been pulling the strings making horror, sci-fi and fantasy features since the 70s and his films were a massive part of making the 1980s home video boom, well, boom.

Charles Band: The Puppetmaster brings together many of his wildest and most fun work, from murderous pint-sized puppets to re-animated horrors, from time-travelling Trancers to a terrifying Tourist Trap, and even the re-tooled Doctor Strange movie starring Jeffrey Combs as a slightly different sorcerer supreme.

Titles Include: Puppet Master, Doctor Mordrid, Trancers.

On February 6, while shopping for a gadget for your sweetheart, ARROW uploads Killer Tech (UK/IRE/US/CA) to the service.

We all want the latest gadgets, but in Killer Tech screen time means scream time.

From cursed videotapes and phone calls to the dangers of the dark web and vicious virtual reality, ARROW’s newest, smallest, lightest, fastest, most expensive curated collection doesn’t just have the best screen, largest amount of storage and the coolest camera – it also comes with a guarantee that the newest tech equals instant death.

Titles Include: .com For Murder, Laguna Ave, Edge of the Axe.

On February 10, ARROW hands the keys to the kingdom to Cinematic Void, a Los Angeles-based cult film screening series into the mouth of cinemadness. Focusing on all oddball gems of all genres, the Void unleashes an onslaught of horror, eurotrash, exploitation and gonzo action on the silver screen at the American Cinematheque. CV film programmer Jim Branscome has selected a few of his favourite films of the genre for your viewing pleasure in Cinematic Void Selects.

Titles Include: Deadly Games, Deep Red.

February 14 celebrates Valentine’s Day with the perfect pairing: the undead and the living dead.

Two Orphan Vampires (UK/IRE/US): A pair of teenage girls, who are blind by day, but when the sun goes down, they roam the streets to quench their thirst for blood.

Zombie Lake (UK/IRE/US): In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WWII, come back.

Also on February 14: Jean Rollin: The Fantastique Collection Part IV (UK/IRE/US).

Led by the brand new and exclusive documentary from filmmakers Kat Ellinger and Dima Ballin, Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World Of Jean Rollin, welcome to ARROW’s final volume of horrifying dream-like sauce from the master of conjuring up erotic nightmare fuel, Jean Rollin, The Fantastique Collection Part IV.

Titles Include: The Living Dead Girl, Lost in New York, Dracula’s Fiancee.

February’s final filmmaker highlight debuts February 24 with King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection (UK/IRE/US/CA).

Put up your dukes and prepare yourselves for brutal and lightning-fast martial arts action starring the King of Karate: Sonny Chiba.

Whether you’ve only heard of Sonny through Clarence and Alabama’s True Romance triple-bill, have seen him sword-making for The Bride in Kill Bill, or know Shinichi Chiba from way back in the 70s martial arts boom where his lethal mastery of karate, judo and kenpo made him an in-demand anti-hero to legions of fans, there’s plenty of bruising bad-assery to be had in King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection.

Titles Include: The Street Fighter, Wolf Guy, Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Death Match.

February 28 closes out the shortest month of the year with Millionaires’ Express (US/CA).

All aboard for the all-star action-packed adventure of a lifetime as martial arts maestro Sammo Hung (Heart of Dragon) brings East and West crashing spectacularly together in Millionaires’ Express!

Sammo himself plays Ching Fong-tin, a former outlaw with a wild scheme to make amends with the citizens of his struggling hometown of Hon Sui: explosively derail a brand new luxury express train en route from Shanghai so that its super-rich passengers will have no choice but to spend money in the town. He’s not the only one with eyes on the passengers’ deep pockets, however; a gang of ruthless bank-robbing bandits are on the way, looking for a priceless map being guarded by a trio of Japanese samurai. Bullets and fists will fill the air in equal measure, but will Hon Sui Town be left standing?

ScreenAnarchy – Arrow Video in February: Lineup Features The Films of Jean Rollin, Sonny Chiba and Sammo Hung
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January 19, 2023

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