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March 1995, Week 5


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Joey Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 31 Mar 1995 12:42:32 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Date:    Thu, 30 Mar 1995 20:26:47 CST
>From:    Murray Pomerance <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: Antonioni
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>I can't agree with Krin Gabbard that THE PASSENGER is unimpressive.  But
>I'd like to know more about the statement that Nicholson bought the
>rights and now "prevents people from seeing it."  Does anyone know more
>about this?
In February, 1993, the Cinematheque Ontario (Toronto, Canada), screened the
touring Antonioni retrospective that included new 35mm prints of all of his
films.  Nicholson would not allow the Cinematheque to publicly screen the
newly struck _ Passenger_ ( _Occupation: Reporter_) print.  Apparantly, Mr.
Nicholson owns the public performance rights for the 35mm print, but does
not own the video rights, nor the 16mm rights (at least in Canada and
Europe).  However, there is no letterboxed version of the film in NTSC
video.  From what I can gather, no one is allowed to currently make a new
transfer of the film to either laser videodisc or VHS videotape.
James Quand, the programmer for the Cinematheque Ontario, suggested two
(1)  Nicholson hates the film and is trying to completely surpress it.
(2)  Nicholson likes the film and is trying to give it a really grand
     on its 20th or 25th anniversary (1995 or 2000).
The funny thing about the _Passanger's_ public performance rights is that
Nicholson allowed Mr. Quand to publicly screen Jack's personnal 35mm
_Passanger_ print at Toronto's Harbour Front Cinema, in November of 1989,
for an  earlier Antonioni retrospective.
_The Passanger_ is one of my favourite Antonioni films, mostly because of
its exploration of signifying systems, and their interpretation by
divergent cultures, which utlimately explicates  Antonioni's primary theme
of the inability to communicate. Great film, too bad Antonioni did not get
the chance to make _Technically Sweet_, which was the film that Nicholson
orignally agreed to do with Antonioni, but because of budgetary and
technical concerns, never made it into the production stages (It sort of
became the _Mystery of Oberwald_[1980] and starred Monica Vitte).
_Technically Sweet_ seems to have been the source _The Passanger_'s
narrative, and the video-to-film experiments of _Mystery of Oberwald_.
Joey Schwartz, Innis College Media Supervisor
University of Toronto |  Tel. (416) 966-0593
2 Sussex Avenue       |  [log in to unmask]
Toronto, Ontario      |  [log in to unmask]
M5S-1J5, Canada       |  Tel. (416) 978-0591 (Day)
         "Film is Reality at 24fps!"
            -- Jean-Luc Godard