A random selection of recent viewing, from Nazi propaganda to British Angry Young Men, from classic sci-fi to the 1960s revival of a French criminal mastermind as slapstick pastiche.
Agnès Varda, whose remarkable career spanned from 1955’s La Pointe Courte to the recently released Varda by Agnès (2019), has died at the age of 90. In six-and-a-half decades, she created a body of work rooted in a fascination with human beings and the social forces which shape them, in features and documentaries full of acute insights and humour.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s La vérité (1960) is less well-known than Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques, but it’s one of his finest features, a complex, emotionally wrenching work which gave Brigitte Bardot her greatest role. Criterion’s excellent new Blu-ray presents the film in a spectacular restoration, with substantial supplements.
Criterion have followed their fine Eclipse set of Julien Duvivier films with a collection of features by another French director pushed into obscurity by the New Wave: Claude Autant-Lara, represented here by four films made during the German Occupation, all starring a fine but not well-known actress named Odette Joyeux.
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.