We have a fantastic range of DVDs that extends well beyond mundane blockbuster movies and schlock television box-sets. 

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July 2018

 - Tuesday, July 03, 2018
Mountain: Dir. Jennifer Peedom ($32.95)
Only 3 centuries ago, setting out to climb a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy. The idea scarcely existed that wild landscapes might hold any sort of attraction. Mountains were places of peril, not beauty. How then have they come to hold us spellbound, drawing us into their dominion, often at the cost of our lives? Australians Jen Peedom, director of Sherpa, and Richard Tognetti, artistic director of the ACO, drove this international collaboration that also involved US-based cinematographer Renan Ozturk, British writer Robert Macfarlane and American actor Willem Dafoe. Filmed by the worlds leading high altitude cinematographers, with works by Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi, Beethoven and new works by Richard Tognetti.

Beau Travail: Dir. Claire Denis ($32.95, region 2)
Inspired by Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Claire Denis’ Beau Travail is a stunning combination of literature, music, poetry & dance that explores the near-mytical world of the French Foreign legion. Denis Lavant stars as Galoup, a sergeant-major whose position & power are threatened when the bravery & heroism of new recruit Sentain (Grégoire Colin) attracts the attention of the platoon’s commandant (Michel Subor). Enraged, Galoup plots Sentain’s downfall, a doomed course of action that leads to his own undoing. In a powerful examination of masculinity, Denis creates a dark mounting tension that underlies the cinematography of Agnès Godard, whose stark visual style contrasts vividly with the graceful training rituals of the sculpted young soldiers.

Happy End: Dir. Michael Haneke ($32.95, region 2)
When her mother falls ill under mysterious circumstances, young Eve (Fantine Harduin) is sent to live with her estranged father’s wealthy relatives in Calais. But trouble is brewing, as a series of intergenerational back-stabbings threaten to tear the family apart. Meanwhile, distracted by infidelities & betrayals, they fail to notice that their new arrival has a sinister secret of her own. Master auteur Michael Haneke returns with a biting satire on bourgeois family values set in the shadow of the European refugee crisis. Featuring a cast of top acting talent, including Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz & Toby Jones—a piercing dark comedy on the blind preoccupations of middle-class angst.

June 2018

 - Monday, May 28, 2018
In collaboration with the screenwriter Hans Kyser, F. W. Murnau fused Faust’s script from German folk legend and the works of Goethe, Gounod, and Marlowe to tell the classic tale of a man who sells his soul to the devil. Starring Emil Jannings as Mephisto, this was Murnau’s last German film feature, and it features astonishing photography, magnificent art direction, and special effects which still have the power to amaze. Freed from the constraints of psychological narrative, his mastery of cinematic technique places Faust at the pinnacle of the silent era, its barrage of visceral and apocryphal imagery contrasting with the simplicity and directness of its spiritual theme. This DVD features a extra audio commentary with film critic John Noonan.

Colin Farrell & Nicole Kidman star in this horror drama written & directed by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. Steven Murphy (Farrell) is a successful cardiac surgeon who lives a happy life with his ophthalmologist wife Anna (Kidman) and their two children. However, his perfect life starts coming apart at the seams after he befriends 16 year-old Martin. Steven spends much of his time hanging out alone with the teenager and also invites him round to his upper-class home to socialise with his kids. However, when Steven visits Martin and his mother (Alicia Silverstone) for dinner, the teenager’s motives for their unusual friendship become clear and it transpires he’s willing to go to great lengths to get what he wants, to the detriment of Steven and his family. Special features: Interviews with Lanthimos, Farrell & Kidman.

From Taylor Sheridan, the writer of Hell or High Water and Sicario, comes a gripping crime thriller set in the unforgiving snow plains of Wyoming. Elizabeth Olsen stars as a rookie FBI agent tasked with solving the brutal murder of a young woman in a Native American reserve. Enlisting the help of a local hunter (played by Jeremy Renner, Hurt Locker) to help her navigate the freezing wilderness, the two set about trying to find a vicious killer hidden in plain sight.

Ralph Fiennes, Sylvie Testud and Aleksandr Baluev star in this Russian adaptation of Ivan Turgenev’s play. Married to a wealthy landowner, Natalya (Anna Vartanyan) laments losing her allure over the opposite sex as middle age approaches, and she finds herself increasingly jealous of her adopted daughter Vera’s (Anna Levanova) youthful beauty. When she employs 21 year-old student Aleksei Belyaev (Nikita Volkov) to tutor her son Natalya instantly falls in love with him, but so too does Vera. While Natalya still welcomes the attention of family friend Mikhail (Fiennes), a bitter rivalry ensues between the two women as they compete for Aleksei’s affection.

May 2018

 - Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Franco Citti & Pierre Clementi are cannibalistic savages who rampage a world outside of any distinct time or place; Pierre Leaud & Anne Wiazemsky are a romantically engaged couple in a contemporary Germany painted as a morass of industrialisation, fascist impulse & bestial instincts. Rivalled only by Pasolinis’ Salo in its obsession with the politics of bourgeois degradation, Pigsty challenges & enlarges the notions of what makes for ‘a political film. One of Pasolini’s most controversial and wilfully provocative works­—a deranged parody of cinema as revolutionary act.

Film is Samuel Becketts’ lone work for projected cinema. It is a beguiling experimental short film in which a probing camera pursues a character named ‘O’—played by silent screen legend Buster Keaton. In his Kino-Esssay, Notfilm, Ross Lipman explores the history surrounding the production of Film. Citing the work of Buñuel, Vertov, Vigo & Eisenstein, and featuring interviews with cinematographer Haskell Wexler, Billie Whitelaw, producer Barney Rosset & others, Notfilm examines Film’s genesis, production, themes & philosophical implications. With a raft of extras including a rare British remake starring comedian Max Wall, The Street Scene; a lost scene reconstruction from the Film outtakes; audio recordings of Beckett, Kaufman & Schneider; Buster Keaton & Film: James Karen in Conversation; and much more.
($45, Region 2 DVD & Blu-ray)

On the mean streets of Rome, Accattone’s eponymous pimp (Franco Citti­—one of the remarkable cast of local non-professionals) leads a hand-to-mouth existence on the very margins of society: prostituting, scrounging, exploiting. When his prize prostitute Maddalena is arrested & jailed, the pimp’s fortunes dwindle, and he is forced to confront his own existence. Pasolini’s debut feature rocked the cineam world with its depictions, at once raw & elegant, of the underside of Roman street life­. Special features include Pasolini’s 1965 feature-length documentary Comizi d’amore, on the complementary theme of Italian attitudes towards sex; a feature length audio commentary by critic Tony Rayns ($36.95, Region 2 DVD & Blu-ray)

Emile Jannings portrays a schoolteacher whose fateful expedition to catch his students frequenting the cabaret know as ‘The Blue Angel’ leads to his own obsession with the establishment’s main attraction Lola (Marlene Dietrich)­­—triggering the downward spiral of his life and fortune. From here, the director, Von Sternberg & Dietrich would go on to make six more films together in the span of five years, and leave a legacy of some of the most indelible iconography in the cinema of glamour & obsession. A new 1080p HD presentation on blu-ray of both the German-language & English-language version. ($34.95, Region 2 DVD & Blu-ray)

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