The UK may be debating whether to leave the EU, but when it comes to streaming entertainment, we’ve never got on better with our continental cousins: while All 4 is releasing foreign-language TV on its VOD channel Walter Presents from across Europe, Walk This Way, an EU-subsidised scheme, continues to bring films straight to UK VOD.
After a successful first edition in 2015, which saw some 280 multi-territorial releases involving the creation of 180 sets of subtitles, the scheme is back with its first collection of 2016 – a selection of recent thriller and noir films.
This year, Walk This Way will bring 50 European films to many of the continent’s VOD platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Sony, Xbox, and other key local platforms like Filmin, Filmmit and Universciné. The initiative returns with a new instalment of the very first collection it released: Men on the Edge, which last year featured titles by Rachid Bouchareb (Two Men in Town) and Pierre Jolivet (Armed Hands).
Men on the Edge is also joined by the first title of its Premium Films selection: an innovative and fresh, as well as acclaimed, take on the superhero film genre from Italian filmmaker Gabriele Salvatores.
Here’s a full run-down of what’s new on VOD:
The Invisible Boy
One of the most unique Italian films of 2014, The Invisible Boy marked a change in the country’s cinema, proving that a film genre as commercial as the superhero flick can meet arthouse cinema to make a whole new, fascinating experience. The film follows Michele (Ludovico Girardello), a 13-year-old who lives in a quiet seaside town with his mother (Italian star Valeria Golino), struggles with not being popular, athletic or a particularly brilliant student at school – and only wants to be noticed by his classmate Stella (Noa Zatta), the girl of his dreams. But he feels invisible to her. Until, one fateful evening, at a costume party, he discovers that he does in fact possess the power to become invisible. A discovery that will lead him to find out that his family background is not what it seemed, that his daily routine can become the adventure of a lifetime, and that he is after all, a superhero.
Brave Men’s Blood
A tale of crime and corruption, Icelandic title Brave Men’s Blood (Borgríki 2) by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson puts the spotlight on the Reykjavik P.D., where the ambitious head of the internal affairs unit tries to get closer to taking down a major criminal organisation by investigating a corrupt police lieutenant. A box-office hit in Iceland, the film was screened at several festivals and is now available in Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.
The selection will also feature women on the edge: Gold, by German director Thomas Arslan, follows a small group of Germans, led by Emily Meyer, as they head into the hostile northern territory of British Columbia in the summer of 1898, in search of gold at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. Ravishing German actress Nina Hoss stars in the film, which competed for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale and is now available in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Cracks in Concrete
A personal crisis in a marginalised community is also the driving force behind Cracks in Concrete (Risse im Beton). The film, by Austrian filmmaker Umut Dag, follows a tough, aggressive young man who is sentenced to jail for second-degree murder and released a broken man, and his difficult relationship with his younger brother, who he has to look after without revealing his true identity. Audiences in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom can now see it.
Rat King, by Finnish filmmaker Petri Kotwica, follows two 18-year-old Internet gaming buddies who come across a game with real-life tasks and end up being led into serious trouble, going so far as to blur the line between the gaming world and reality. This is now able to stream in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Another story about a dark chase with a nightmarish atmosphere is Gone, by Swedish filmmaking duo Mattias Olsson and Henrik JP Åkesson. A SUV follows a middle-aged woman who, after a recent family tragedy, has started a new life in a new location – embarking on a paranoid voyage into the unknown. The thriller is now available in Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
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