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Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Current Cinema - Terence Malick's Knight of Cups slips into the cinemas unannounced and probably unloved

Terence Malick's  Knight of Cups had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on 8 February 2015. Independently produced and distributed with the money apparently being assembled by Filmnation Entertainment  an American indy that has on its recent slate of productions Mr Holmes, Room, Truth and Knight of Cups. Some successes and failures there.
Acccording to Wikipedia, the film spent two years in post-production. That may account for the fact that four people get a special grouped listing for "additional editing'on the end credits.

Since the Berlin premiere the film has slowly opened around the world. There have been quite a few festival screenings but commercial openings only started in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium in September, Taiwan in October, South Korea in November and France later in November. The UK is scheduled for January 2016 and the USA for March 2016.

Malick's film opened here today, In Sydney it is screening twice a day at the Palace Norton Street and at the opening session ten punters were on hand. It's hard to know just how the word got round as the Australian distributor Roadshow refused all requests for critics' previews and, it would seem, adopted a policy not to spend any money at all promoting the film. A preview does cost money, modest as it may be. 

Roadshow's decision is a hard-headed business assessment of the film's commercial potential. I assume that contractually they are required to get it on somewhere and this screening at Norton Street (plus a shared screen in Melbourne I assume) fills that bill. Roadshow's assessment may also have something to do with any critical consensus formed within the company. A quick summary of  some international reviews published thus far tells all the rest you need to know. You can find it here at metacritic.

Finally it has to be said, adding to the debacle, that the poster published above is a shocker!

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