Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DVD Recommendations of the Week

Below are this weeks film recommendations. Again, be sure to offer feedback and start threads on our Message Board, if you want to discuss these films.


The Unbelievable Truth (1989) by Hal Hartley - The first feature film from American independent filmmaker Hal Hartley is a great introduction to the world of this now largely unknown filmmaker. Hartley was part of the "wave" of American independent filmmakers who were popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hartley, unlike many of his contemporaries, remained steadfastly independent and never met with mainstream success, which has made it more difficult for him to make films in the last 10-12 years. As far as I'm concerned, Hartley was the most original and innovative filmmakers of that group and one of the most intelligent and cinematic American filmmakers of the last 30 years. Available on DVD on Netflix and Facets.

Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003) by Tsai Ming-Liang - Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang's ode to a dying movie theater finds the director in full minimalist and absurdist mode. Utilizing long static takes, comedic tableaus, and a possible ghost story, Goodbye Dragon Inn is both one of the filmmakers most engaging and most difficult works to date. Available in DVD on Netflix and Facets.

Ratcatcher (1999) by Lynne Ramsay - Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay's first film in a dark, sad, moving, and poetic film about a lower class neighborhood in Glasgow during the garbage strike of 1973. The film is told through the point of view of a 12 year old boy living among the filth, decay, and disarray of 1970s Scotland. Ramsay has not been prolific (her third film will be released this year), but her films are moving, exciting, and visually dynamic. Available on DVD from Netflix and Facets. Also available to watch instantly via Netflix.

Everyone Else (2009) by Maren Ade - The second feature from German filmmaker Maren Ade was one of the surprises of last year. A sharp, insightful, and challenging film about a failing relationship. Ade is a filmmaker to lookout for. Available in DVD on Netflix and Facets. Also available to watch instantly via Netflix.

Region 2 Film of the Week:

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) by Jacques Rivette - One of Rivette's most famous and playful films, Celine and Julie is a joyful, absurdist, and fantastical film. It is long, complex, and yet one of Rivette's most accessible and entertaining films. The lack of an American DVD release of this film is pretty appalling. BFI has an excellent 2 disc set, which can be obtained via Facets.

Free Film of the Week:

Ode (1999) by Kelly Reichardt - Between her first feature, River of Grass (1994), and her so-called comeback, Old Joy (2006), Reichardt shot several small films on Super-8. Ode is the longest (48 minutes) and most famous of these films. It is available to watch free in 10 minute segments on You Tube.

Download of the Week:

The Death of Maria Malibran (1972) by Werner Schroeter - Enter the bizarre cinematic world of Werner Shroeter, which is part camp, part high art, part opera, part stage tragedy, part experimental film. Schroeter was a marginal figure in New German Cinema, who carved out an extremely unique and insular film style, which has gone largely unnoticed in America. The Death of Maria Malibran is available for download with English subtitles on Pirates Bay.


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  2. I deleted myself for some reason, but I'm currently downloading these films to re-watch Goodbye Dragon Inn, The Unbelievable Truth, and Ratcatcher. And then I'm going to get to check out the new stuff you got there with the other films. I'm ultra-excited. Going to definitely hit up the message board with my thoughts.