January releases from Indicator

Santo confronts a smuggler in Joselito Rodríguez' Santo vs Infernal Men (1961)

Indicator start the new year with some impressive Blu-ray sets, including a massive 10-disk tribute to amateur filmmaker Michael J. Murphy whose five-decade career produced three dozen features in multiple genres; a two-disk set of the first two adventures of Mexico’s most famous masked wrestler, Santo, which includes a fascinating history of popular cinema in Mexico; and another two-disk set with three different cuts of Sergio Sollima’s first western, The Big Gundown (1967).

Folk horror and Argentine noir

Collage is used as an organizing principle in Kier-la Janisse's epic folk horror documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched (2021)

The year gets off to an interesting start with a pair of excellent Argentinian films noirs – Román Viñoly Barreto’s The Beast Must Die (1952) and Fernando Ayala’s The Bitter Stems (1956) – beautifully restored by the Film Noir Foundation; Prana Bailey-Bond’s Censor (2021), a disturbing British psychological horror; and Kier-la Janisse’s Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched (2021), an epic documentary exploring the folk horror genre.

Recent miscellaneous viewing, part two

Charles Bronson as real-life career criminal Joe Valachi in Terence Young's The Valachi Papers (1972)

More random viewing: two obscure independent films from the BFI, Margaret Tait’s poetic Blue Black Permanent (1992) and Maurice Hatton’s gritty fake-umentary about the film business, Long Shot (1977); and three from Twilight Time – George Sluizer’s interesting Americanization of his existential thriller The Vanishing (1993), Terrence Young’s straightforward fact-based crime saga The Valachi Papers (1972), and D.W. Griffith’s monumental but deeply troubling Birth of a Nation (1915).

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (1966):
Criterion Blu-ray review

Andrei (Anatoliy Solonitsyn) and Theophanes the Greek (Nikolay Sergeev) ponder the artist's place in the world in Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev (1966)

Criterion’s new Blu-ray release of Andrei Tarkovsky’s second feature, Andrei Rublev (1966), not only features a superb restoration of the director’s preferred 183-minute cut, but also a (much weaker) transfer of the original 205-minute version and a comprehensive selection of new and archival supplements which cover the production and meaning of this, the greatest of all historical epics.

Blasts from the past

DVD of the Week: The World, the Flesh & the Devil (1959)

Recent Viewing part 2

Spectrum of Horror: from class to crass

“Art films” and the nature of boredom

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