ScreenDaily’s weekly round-up of the local and independent releases this week.


Yojiro Takita’s Oscar winning Japanese drama Departures will be released by Golem in key theatres across Spain. The film follows the travails of Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) an out of work cellist who decides to take up job as an undertaker with emotional and comic implications. The film took an impressive $60m in its home country.

This weekend also sees the opening of Anne Fletcher’s romantic comedy The Proposal across Spain. The film, released by Walt Disney International, sees Sandra Bullock play a pushy boss who forces her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her visa status in the US.

Universal will be showing Dennis Iliadis’ horror film The Last House On The Left, a remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 version, about a gang of men who kidnap and assault two young women and then unknowingly find refuge in a house belonging to the parents of one of the victims who enact gruesome revenge.

Meanwhile, Manga Films will be hoping their award winning romantic comedy Pagafantas, directed by Borja Cobeaga, can match the recent success of other local comedy titles in Spain, such as Brain Dead ($9.4m) and Al Final Del Camino ($5.6m).  Pagafantas tells the story of a young man who falls for a girl who he believes is perfect for him, but she just wants to be friends.



In a departure, Pathe is releasing The Hedgehog (Le Herisson) on Friday July 3 rather than the usual French release day of Wednesday. The dramatic comedy from director Mona Achache stars Josiane Balasko, Garance Le Guillermic and Togo Igawa in the story of an improbable meeting between a suicidal little girl, a Parisian apartment building concierge and an enigmatic gentleman. Pathe is releasing the well-reviewed film on 306 screens.

Dans Tes Bras is the other new French release this week. From director Hubert Gillet, the film stars Michele Laroque and Martin Loizillon. The drama from distributor Haut et Court sees a young man seeking out his biological mother. Thus far, audience reaction has been stronger than that of critics. The film is out on 36 screens.

Woody Allen’s Whatever Works was released on Wednesday July 1 by Mars Distribution on 212 screens. The filmmaker returns to shooting in New York with this film starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood. Critical and audience response has been very positive; hardly a shock considering the decades-long love affair Allen has had with the French.



Horror fans will be looking out for Brazilian horror film Embodiment Of Evil, which opens in UK cinemas today. Directed by Jose Mojica Marins, it tells the story of an undertaker who terrorises a town in search of the perfect woman to give him offspring and is the third installment in Marins’ Coffin Joe trilogy following At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963) and This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (1967). Premiering at Venice last year, the film is being released by Anchor Bay Entertainment in the UK.

Lionsgate UK is releasing S Darko today, billed as the sequel to Donnie Darko, and directed by Chris Fisher. Daviegh Chase reprises her role as Donnie’s younger sister, who is still in mourning for the death of her brother Donnie seven years on. The cast includes Ed Westwick, Briana Evigan and Justin Chatwin.The film went straight to DVD in the US, with mainly negative reviews

Meanwhile it seems like a timely release this weekend for Verve Picture’s documentary, (directed by Goran Hogo Olsson) about the demise of black American singer Billy Paul, in the week following the death of Michael Jackson.



Berlin-based production house Rohfilm has launched its own distribution arm for the theatrical release of the documentary Achterbahn by Peter Doerfler about the trials and tribulations of fairground owner Norbert Witte and his family. Filmagentinnen are handling the booking and billing.

Jens Hoffmann’s documentary 9 to 5 - Days In Porn on the US porn movie industry was released by Zorro Film on a limited release at cinemas in Berlin, Freiburg, Nuremberg and Dresden with subtitled prints screening in Berlin and Cologne.

Anne Fontaine’s summer comedy La Fille De Monaco, starring Fabrice Luchini, Roschdy Zem and Louise Bourgoin, opened in 17 German cities such as Berlin, Muich, Leipzig and Munich, for MFA who will be releasing Lars von Trier’s Antichrist later this year.

Julie Delpy’s costume drama The Countess, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale this year, took $106,220 (€75,841) from 67 prints on its first weekend for distributor X-Verleih, while Swiss Film Award-winner Ursula Meier’s Home posted $62,493 (€44,620) for Arsenal Film. Petra Seeger’s documentary about the Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel , Auf Der Suche Nach Dem Gedaechtnis, took $57,242 (€40,877) from 45 prints for distributor W-Film.

Greek director Christos Georgiou’s Small Crimes added another $114,153 (€81,518) last weekend for Neue Visionen for an accumulated $660,670 (€471,749). The comedy will be shown at next week’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and was picked up for international distribution this week by Berlin-based M-Appeal.