trailer break: ‘Carlos’

Olivier Assayas’s epic about the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal should be an interesting test in new movie-release paradigms. A five-and-a-half-hour TV miniseries version has been airing on the Sundance Channel — which coproduced the film — over three nights this week, (it finishes tonight). Both that long version and a cut-down two-and-a-half-hour version go to arthouses in North America and the U.K. today (with the short version available on demand in North America).

How that will jibe with year-end awards requirements is another question. AMPAS, the Oscar folks, insist that a film debut in theatrical release first, and many critics groups follow, so presumably that means the shorter version will be eligible for awards this year… though why the longer version debuting on TV wouldn’t eliminate the shorter version from eligibility seems like a cheat to me.

The industry will be facing lots more questions like these as more films take unconventional routes to get in front of audiences.

The theatrical version of Carlos opens in the U.S. and Canada on October 15th, and in the U.K. on October 22.

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