Great news for fans of European cinema, Raro Video has announced their plans to break into the US market and we have information on their first two releases! Tackling two very different markets right off the bat, Raro looks to release a bit of arthouse fare along with some Grade-A classic Eurocult cinema.

The company looks to release Frederico Fellini’s (8 1/2, La Strada) scarcely available The Clowns (1970) on February 22nd, 2011. The company will also be releasing The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection in February, which is a four disc collection that includes the famed “Milieu Trilogy” as well as Rulers of the City (1976), which I reviewed previously under the title Mister Scarface.

Continue Reading after the break for the official press release!

RAROVIDEO INKS FIRST U.S. DISTRIBUTION DEAL Acclaimed Italian DVD Label to Offer Restored and Rare Films from Influential Filmmakers to American Cinephiles Launching February 2011 with Federico Fellini’s The Clowns and Four-Disc Collection Spotlighting Fernando Di Leo

LOS ANGELES (December 6, 2010) – Hailed by cinephiles for expertly restoring rare films by influential filmmakers and publishing them with compelling extras, Italian DVD label RaroVideo announces the company will begin distributing its acclaimed DVDs in the U.S. for the first time ever in February 2011 through Entertainment One.

To launch RaroVideo in the U.S., the company will spotlight two powerhouse directors of Italian cinema with Federico Fellini’s hard-to-find The Clowns (1970) and The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection, a four-disc set that features Fernando Di Leo’s celebrated “Milieu Trilogy,” plus Rulers of the City (1976).

RaroVideo US’s restored version of Fellini’s The Clowns, one of the director’s final masterpieces will arrive on DVD for the first time ever in the US on February 22. The DVD extras contain a rare and exclusive short film by Fellini, a video essay on the genesis of the film and a 40 page booklet with exclusive Fellini drawings. Hard-to-find, this 1970 film melds memoir and documentary into a circus of fiction and reality where Fellini delights in the role of ringmaster. The carnival-sounding score composed by Nino Rota, and an appearance by Anita Ekberg (star of Fellini’s 1960’s masterpiece La Dolce Vita), enhances the Fellini-esque experience.

Master of garish, intricately plotted, ultra-violent stories about pimps and petty gangsters, director and writer Fernando Di Leo perfected the genre with an uncanny accuracy that prefigured the works of Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.

RaroVideo US collects some of his finest work in The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection, a four-DVD set that includes Di Leo’s highly influential “Milieu Trilogy” – Caliber 9 (Milano Calibro 9), The Italian Connection (La Mala Ordina) and The Boss (Il Boss). The set’s final disc includes 1976’s Rulers of the City, which stars Jack Palance as a mob boss.

All four films were digitally restored and remastered in collaboration with the Venice Film Festival. Each is presented with a number of extras, including a documentary about each film. The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection will arrive on DVD February 22.

“The two killers in The Italian Connection inspired me to conceive of Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield for Pulp Fiction,” says director Quentin Tarantino. “The Italian Connection is work of a genius.”

About RaroVideo US

RaroVideo US restores rare films by influential filmmakers for American audiences. The partnership behind the company formed in 2010 when Stefano and Gianluca Curti, owners of RaroVideo Italy, teamed with Nico Bruinsma, owner of U.S. DVD label Cult Epics. Both RaroVideo US and Cult Epics will now be distributed through Entertainment One.

“We’ve respected each other’s work for some time,” Bruinsma said. “When the chance came about to work together, I couldn’t pass it up.”

“We’re thrilled to be restoring great films by exceptional talents like Di Leo and Fellini for American filmgoers and look forward to an exciting first year,” Stefano Curti said.

Stefano and Gianluca Curti started RaroVideo Italy in 1999. Dedicated to digital restoration of films from a wide range of genres, the company has earned an outstanding reputation for the quality of its high-definition transfers. Its releases are also known for their supplemental content as well as the critical analysis and superb booklets that accompany each film.

RaroVideo’s eclectic approach aims to recognize and publish quality works found in the cinema and visual art world. Among the directors featured in the RaroVideo catalog are: Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti, Derek Jarman, Roberto Rosselllini, Shinya Tsukamoto, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Lars von Trier, Lucio Fiulci, Mario Bava, Francesco Barilli, Tinto Brass, Jean Cocteau, Pedro Almodovar and Martin Scorsese to name just a few. Raro Video was also the first company in the world to release on DVD Andy Warhol’s: The Chelsea Girls, My Hustler, The Nude Restaurant and Lonesome Cowboys.

RaroVideo will continue to spotlight the works of major Italian directors next year with plans to release Antonioni’s The Vanguished (I Vinti), Pasolini’s The Anger (La Rabbia) and Carmelo Bene’s Our Lady of the Turks (Nostra signora dei Turchi).