Kino Lorber and Raro Join Forces In U.S. Distribution

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In a great melding of film companies, Raro Video U.S., the American branch of Italy’s foremost and influential home video company has partnered up with Kino Lorber, the purveyors of fantastic foreigh, indie and classic films we here at CriterionCast know and love so much. This is great news because slowly but surely, Raro Video U.S. has become one of my favorite distributors in the last few years, primarily for their stunning work on the Fernando Di Leo box set that came out on Blu-ray, their stunning release of Federico Fellini’s The Clowns, Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Vanquished, Ruggero Deodato’s Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man, among many others. And considering they’ve been quiet recently with some releases they announced a bit ago, this news comes at the most opportune time.

This is good news for both companies, Kino furthering their strength of releasing great catalog titles that people want to see or don’t even realize how vital the film is, and for Raro, giving them some strength in their American distribution side of things. A win/win, if you ask me. And now releases such as the second volume of Fernando Di Leo’s crime box set, featuring Shoot First, Die Later (long overdue for a home release), Kidnap Syndicate and Naked Violence looks to have an official release date of June 25th now, with Shoot First, Die Later coming out separately a month before on DVD and Blu-ray on May 28th.

“We could not ask for a better partner than Kino Lorber,” says Raro Video President Stefano Curti. “The company’s experience and expertise will certainly play an integral role in achieving our mission of helping fans of good cinema discover new talents and rediscover overlooked gems.” Which looks to be the case in this deal, with Kino Lorber handling the physical and digital distribution of Raro’s catalog, past and present, so we might see a few of their releases that have only come out in Italy (I’m hoping for Bruno Corbucci’s The Cop In Blue Jeans starring Tomas Milian, as well as the other films in that series) finally come out here in the States.

Raro will still be acquiring their catalog of films and doing screening tours of films, such as the one they did late last year with Roberto Rossellini’s Il Generale Della Rovere, which was an interesting choice considering it is in the Criterion Collection. Ryan had reported on the CriterionCast Tumblr about it, which had us all hoping for a Blu-grade of it in the collection, but that’s of course all speculation.

Either way, this is exciting news and I can’t wait to see what films Raro will bring to the forefront, be it from the catalog of films they put out in Italy or what new acquisitions they’ll pick up with Kino strongly behind them.


Press Release:

NEW YORK (March 13, 2013) – Raro Video U.S., the American branch of Italy’s most influential home video company, is pleased to announce that it has agreed to an exclusive, multi-year distribution deal with Kino Lorber, a leader in distributing independent art house films in the U.S.

A boutique label for Europe’s finest films, Raro Video is best known for its carefully curated library of Italian cinema classics, including, Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Vanquished, Federico Fellini’s The Clowns, Alberto Lattuada’s The Overcoat and Luchino Visconti’s Conversation Piece, as well as works by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roberto Rossellini, Tinto Brass, Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava. Kino Lorber has more than 30 years of experience in film distribution, including theatrical releases and the home entertainment market.

The arrangement combines the firms’ complementary strengths and will enhance Raro Video’s presence in America, says Raro Video President, Stefano Curti. “We could not ask for a better partner than Kino Lorber,” says Curti. “The company’s experience and expertise will certainly play an integral role in achieving our mission of helping fans of good cinema discover new talents and rediscover overlooked gems.”

Kino Lorber will handle the physical (DVD and Blu-ray) and digital distribution of Raro Video’s entire catalog, covering both new and previously released titles. The deal also includes opportunities to partner on select theatrical releases. Kino Lorber President, Richard Lorber says, “We are truly excited to be working with a prestigious company like Raro Video. Our teams share the same deep passion for stylistically bold films that ignore the boundaries between genres and focus instead on visionary filmmaking.”

The first title from this partnership will arrive on May 28 with the release of SHOOT FIRST DIE LATER on DVD and Blu-ray. The 1974 film is by the influential Italian director Fernando Di Leo, a master of bold, intricately plotted, ultra-violent stories and a precursor to such directors as Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.

Di Leo’s work will also be the subject of the second release from Raro Video and Kino Lorber. The FERNANDO DI LEO CRIME COLLECTION VOLUME 2 will be available on June 25 on DVD and Blu-ray. It includes three of De Leo’s films: Naked Violence, Kidnap Syndicate and Shoot First Die Later. This highly anticipated set follows the acclaimed first volume of the Di Leo anthology, which Raro Video released in 2011.