Paul Vecchiali is one of the most fascinating members of the generation of French filmmakers who emerged in the immediate wake of the French New Wave. Hailed as an “icon of a rebellious, reflexive, and emotionally excessive cinema” by Le Monde and celebrated for his prolific filmography and decades-spanning career as a critic, director, and producer, Vecchiali was remarkable both for the often highly stylized, experimental nature of his films and for his pioneering exploration of queer characters and themes.
Releasing work right up until his death earlier this year, he’s considered widely influential in France while much of his work has yet to be distributed and appraised with matched acclaim in America — until now, where he’s the subject of a series at Metrograph theater in New York focusing on the output of his pioneering production company, Diagonale, which operated with a revolutionary focus on female and queer filmmakers, and now to the first-ever U.S. theatrical release of one of Vecchiali’s earliest films, the arthouse psycho-thriller THE STRANGLER (1970).
Nov 15 / New York, NY @ Anthology Film Archives
Nov 17 / Austin, TX @ Austin Film Society
Nov 17 / Austin, TX @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Village
Nov 17 / Chicago, IL @ Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville
Nov 17 / Denver, CO @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Sloans Lake
Nov 17 / Los Angeles, CA @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Los Angeles
Nov 17 / New York, NY @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lower Manhattan
Nov 17 / Raleigh, NC @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Raleigh
Nov 17 / San Francisco, CA @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission
Nov 17 / Yonkers, NY @ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Dec 1 / Seattle, WA @ The Beacon Cinema
** More to come! **
An unconventional French giallo released before the subgenre’s popularity boom resulting from filmmakers like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, THE STRANGLER is regarded as Vecchiali’s most ambitious work, his first foray into genre, and a highlight of his overarching filmography. The film centers on Emile (Jacques Perrin, The Young Girls of Rochefort), a handsome young man targeting women he believes are too depressed to go on living. As multiple women fall to Emile’s suffocating white scarf, inspector Simon Dangret, the detective assigned to track down the killer, resorts to seriously unorthodox and even unethical methods to get his man with the assistance of Anna, a beautiful woman who believes herself to be a potential victim.
Initially a selection of the 23rd Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight section, THE STRANGLER equally subverts and indulges in the conventions of the giallo with unexpected beauty and refinement and was praised as a “complex, melancholic meditation on isolation as well as a portrait of collective hysteria” by New York Film Festival, where it recently screened in the Revivals section.
Beyond THE STRANGLER, some of the highlights of Vecchiali’s illustrious career include Femmes femme (1974), La machine (1977), Drugstore Romance (1979), C’est la vie! (1980), and Rosa la rose, fille publique (1986). As a producer, Vecchiali was able to facilitate work by Liliane de Kermadec (Aloïse) and Chantal Akerman (Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles), among others, and his final film, Bonjour la langue, which he co-wrote, directed, and produced prior to his death, premiered posthumously at the Locarno Film Festival.
Following select limited theatrical screenings across North America, Altered Innocence will release THE STRANGLER on digital and home video.
Most recently, Los Angeles-based distribution outfit Altered Innocence, who champion international and cutting-edge LGBTQ and Coming-of-Age cinema for North American audiences, snapped up Conann, Bertrand Mandicoi’s latest queer fantasy adventure, following its Cannes world premiere and ahead of its bow at Fantastic Fest in selection alongside THE STRANGLER. Additional recent releases include David Depesseville Astrakan, Wallace Potts’s Le Beau Mec, and Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson’s Beautiful Beings, Iceland’s submission for the 95th Academy Awards®, released earlier this year.