October 21, 2008

DVDs, 10/21.

Arch of Triumph For IFC, Michael Atkinson reviews 1965's Paris vu par... (Six in Paris), a "New Wave experiment for producer Barbet Schroeder - six filmmakers, six arrondissements, cheap 16mm cameras, non-pro actors: go.... [T]he coalescent upshot of Paris vu par... is as both a fascinating time capsule (at a moment when, according to Rohmer in the DVD's liner notes, 'Paris is being destroyed') and a New Wave primer, prioritizing the fleeting textures of life over story, and making the real places in which characters find themselves epically vital." Also: Lewis Milestone's Arch of Triumph (1948), an unjustly neglected romantic epic of postwar Hollywood (from a novel by Erich Maria Remarque), set in a 1939 Paris awash with refugees of the rising Nazi machine. The film glowers and broods like a noir on barbiturates." Related: The Observer's Philip French on Ingrid Bergman.

"A chamber piece abetted by one of Ryuichi Sakamoto's loveliest scores as it gradually drifts from narrative into a labyrinthine reverie, Taboo distills a kind of troubled poetry that ultimately asks if beauty is tied to evil and if desire is connected to death," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum. "Yet far from imposing these and related hypotheses as if they were foregone conclusions, the film is content to ponder them from a careful distance, letting the cherry blossoms fall where they may."

The Parallax View runs a 2002 piece from Kathleen Murphy: "A friend once described [Max] Ophuls's elegant cinematic excursions as 'tracking eternity'; it is the director's famously long, complex, beautiful tracking shots - and the power of his lovers' emotions - that carry them (and the willing viewer) out of time. In The Earrings of Madame de..., Ophuls's masterpiece, that inexorable, voluptuous camera movement constitutes the film, a life, the transformation of a beautiful woman from ornament to essence. Madame de... 's pilgrimage ends in an empty cathedral, architecture which rises up to eternity."

Judex For his "Tuesday Morning Foreign Region DVD Report" in the Auteurs' Notebook, Glenn Kenny watches the Masters of Cinema release of Georges Franju's Judex, which "plays beautifully... and is accompanied by the usual distinguished array of extras - not to mention a whole other feature film, Franju's minor but entertaining [Louis] Feuillade-inspired Shadowman."

Bob Westal on Rear Window: "Simultaneously a devilish entertainment and a big-hearted work of art, my personal all-time favorite film from one of the three or four best directors of all time is as funny as it is suspenseful to the point of being terrifying - while also managing to be sexy, romantic, and poignant."

"After some fellow fliers mocked Gus Grissom (Fred Ward) following his landing mishap, test pilot extraordinaire Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepard) silences them by saying, 'It takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially when it's on TV.'" Edward Copeland: "It takes a special kind of filmmaker to make a film as great as The Right Stuff, even if Philip Kaufman has never come close to equaling it again 25 years later."

Online viewing tip #1. Bryant Frazer takes a "look at the shopping-mall car chase from The Blues Brothers, including some of the recent history of the Dixie Square Shopping Mall."

Online viewing tip #2. The NYT's AO Scott on Sullivan's Travels.

DVD roundups: Paul Clark (Screengrab), DVD Talk, Ambrose Heron, Peter Martin (Cinematical), Noel Murray (Los Angeles Times), PopMatters and Slant.

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Posted by dwhudson at October 21, 2008 12:15 PM


Don't forget the Mizoguchi box set from Eclipse! This, to me, is the most anticipated release of the month.

Posted by: Matt at October 21, 2008 6:06 PM

Indeed (and Paul Clark at Screengrab agrees, too). So it's one of the two releases featured in that right hand column. Hopefully, we'll be seeing more reviews of the set, too.

Posted by: David Hudson at October 22, 2008 3:41 AM