CATEGORIES Documentary, Distribution, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinematical Indie, Toronto Film Festival, Movie News, CinematicalIt wasn't surprising that Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O'Connor's Obscene had difficulty securing a distributor. After all, it's a documentary that deals with obscenity. Still, as hard a sell as that sounds, it also sounds like an easy sell to the right markets. Also, the film is nearly as entertaining as similar-themed docs like Inside Deep Throat and This Film is Not Yet Rated. Of course, even with Universal distributing, Inside Deep Throat was not very profitable. And neither will be Obscene, which is sure to likewise receive an NC-17 rating. The funny thing is, that rating would be completely for archive footage, stuff that should be long since deemed tame by today's standards. It does feature John Waters, though, and I think the MPAA has a stipulation that if he's involved in any way, shape or form, the movie gets an automatic NC-17.
Anyway, it's a shame the film couldn't sell to a more familiar distributor when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival a couple months back. Instead, according to The Hollywood Reporter, worldwide rights for Obscene have finally gone to Arthouse Films, a company that has released a number of small films you've likely never seen, or even heard of. I can't imagine that Arthouse could afford the music rights for all the tunes in Obscene, so hopefully they're already paid for.
For those of you who don't know, which is probably for the best since you may not get to ever see the film anyway, Obscene is a biographical documentary about Barney Rosset, a publisher and film distributor who fought many a legal battle regarding his alleged distribution of obscene literature and cinema. By no means did I love Obscene, but I enjoyed much of it and thought only bits and pieces really didn't work. As a whole, I guess I'd recommend it if it makes it way to you, because it's an interesting look into what defines a person's life, which is noteworthy for a biodoc these days. In my review, I said the film, "reminds us that most often is the case that the product -- in this case the thousands of titles released by Grove and Rosset's other enterprises -- is about the person, without whom none of it would have existed in quite the same way."