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September 27, 2011

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DVD of the Week – Spotlight On… Kino International

by HELEN GEIB

An occasional series profiling companies putting out high-quality DVD/Blu-ray releases of classic, independent, and foreign films.

Kino International’s tagline is “The Best in World Cinema.” The company’s more than 500 title strong catalog redeems that pledge with an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary films. Kino.com’s “About” page proudly lists “films and filmmakers…introduced to North American film audiences since 1980” that includes many important directors such as Shoehei Imamura (Japan), Aki Kaurismaki (Finland), Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong), Amos Gitai (Israel), Bertrand Tavernier (France), and Im Kwon-taek (Korea).

Kino International website and DVD/Blu-ray catalog

Kino started in 1977 as a film distributor for the repertory cinema circuit and still sends some titles out to theaters prior to their home theater release. A noteworthy recent Kino-distributed title is the Korean drama Poetry. Himalaya, The Return, and Metropolis are three Kino releases I’ve been fortunate enough to see on the big screen.

Speaking of silents, Kino is well known among silent film enthusiasts. Counting VHS releases, Kino has issued more than 130 silents, always from good (or at least as good as is available) quality material and with appropriate custom scores. The silent catalog boasts several exceptional box sets such as “The Movies Begin,” 122 films made between 1894 and 1914; a three disc set of Gaumont films from 1897 to 1913; and the cinephile’s essential 10 disc “The Art of Buster Keaton.”

New releases this week: Carlos, Transformers: Dark of the Moon

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 28 2011

    I own roughly 20+ Kino DVDs and Blu-rays. Included are all of the Fritz Lang and Tarkovsky Kino releases, and in alphabetical order:

    Asphalt (Joe May)
    Borsalino and Co. (Jacques Deray)
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene)
    Cops vs. Thugs (Kinji Fukasaku)
    A Cottage On Dartmoor (David Thompson)
    Diary of a Lost Girl (G.W. Pabst)
    Fantomas (the Feuillade silent serial)
    The Golem (Paul Wegener and Carl Boese)
    L’Age D’or (Luis Bunuel)
    The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau)
    Les Vampires (the Feuillade silent serial)
    Lured (Douglas Sirk)
    The Man Who Laughs Paul Leni
    Nosferatu Ultimate Edition (F.W. Murnau)
    Tartuffe (F.W. Murnau)

    I also own Metropolis on DVD (because it has a commentary track) and Blu-ray and Buster Keaton’s The General on Blu-ray. Kino’s prints are even more pristine than Criterion’s are, sometimes.

  2. Richard Winters
    Sep 28 2011

    I’ve been a fan of Kino and Criterion for years. Good Post!

  3. Sep 28 2011

    We’re all fans of Kino. That’s great. :D

    @Nir: If I lived in Toronto I’d be raiding your DVD collection constantly. Of course, I’d let you borrow my Keaton DVDs in return. ^_^

  4. Sep 28 2011

    lol
    I also own the MGM Buster set from TCM.

    And I forgot to add Hands of Orlac. :O)

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