Fans
of Asian cinema felt the blow that hit a few months ago when Tartan
Films USA was shut down, followed soon after by Tartan’s parent company
in the UK. While the company had their commercial successes with films
like Fast Food Nation and Secretary, they were probably best known for their “Asian Extreme” horror label, which pumped out a ton of memorable genre titles.

While I didn’t always agree with their release choices (how many Ringu ripoffs can one stand?) without the company we would’ve been denied great discs of movies like Oldboy, A Tale of Two Sisters, and Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Can you imagine not having seen Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance trilogy (you have, right? Tell me you have…)



It’s
sad that Tartan’s gone, but there’s hope for us still. Palisades Media
has swept in to purchase most of the rights to not only Tartan’s US
library, but the parent company’s as well. What does this mean for us?
They known own a bunch of films that we never even saw on these shores,
like Battle Royale.
 
“There’s
no denying Hamish McAlpine (former owner of Tartan Films) had a
brilliant eye for cinema. He amassed and distributed an extraordinary
amount of thought-provoking and avant-garde films in three continents
no less, and exposed audiences world-wide to some really remarkable and
astonishing work,” said [Palisades co-manager Kevin] Burns. “We are
thrilled to own the rights to the majority of both Tartan libraries and
look forward to giving these films the kind of treatment they deserve
and the attention that fans of independent cinema will truly
appreciate.”


I will say what everyone’s thinking- Kevin, if you’re serious about this, release Battle Royale!
It could be the smartest thing you’d ever do. Any possible controversy
for the film has long since passed, and I can’t be the only person
who’d buy it again just to have a R1 version in their collection (then
again, I only own a Chinese VCD of the movie I picked up off Ebay 6
years ago). Too many people haven’t been allowed access to this great
film because of the pain of obtaining it.



In
the press release they note that releases will start back up in the
Winter with the Asia Extreme collection. Boxsets, 2-packs and blu-rays
also in the work. Nice to see that we’ll still have a home for Asian
cinema.