Arrow Video has released an excellent Blu-ray edition of Georges Franju’s little-known third feature, Plein feux per l’assassin (Spotlight on a Murderer, 1961), which adds surreal touches to a country house mystery centred on the missing body of a dead nobleman and the bickering relatives who gather hoping to inherit.
The Art Life is a relaxed and nuanced portrait of filmmaker David Lynch’s evolution as an artist which, like his work, is both revealing and enigmatic.
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (2016) is a jewel of the art and craft of filmmaking, an intensely emotional and ultimately heartbreaking study of character and landscape.
More notes on recent viewing, from a sadistic thriller to emotionally resonant anime, from a literary adaptation to two investigations of racism in America.
Two recent releases uncover fascinating fragments of cinema history: G.W Pabst’s dramatically powerful and technically innovative early sound films Westfront 1918 (1930) and Kameradschaft (1931) from Masters of Cinema and Samuel Beckett’s sole foray into movies Film (1965) paired with Ross Lipman’s “kino-essay” about the production Notfilm (2015) together in a dual-format release from the BFI.
Sacha Guitry’s La poison (1951) is a deceptively light and witty comedy about murder; beneath the surface it is a bitter dissection of a society devoid of morality.
A round-up of recent viewing ranging from classic fantasy to low budget horror to rugged adventure and a western.
An almost lost masterpiece resurfaces in Criterion’s excellent Blu-ray release of Michael Curtiz’ The Breaking Point (1950) starring John Garfield. This Hemingway adaptation fell prey to Hollywood’s post-war Red Scare, but is now revealed as among the director’s and star’s finest work.
Technical accuracy is not necessarily what makes science fiction satisfying; more important is storytelling, as illustrated by two older, and one recent, movies released on Blu-ray: Byron Haskin’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), Joseph Sargent’s Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival (2016)..
Criterion’s Blu-ray presents Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Stalker in a stunning new restoration which does full justice to its rich imagery and subtle soundscape.