Friday, July 25, 2008

DVD Under the Radar 25/07/08

With this regular feature, I’m trying to bring attention to smaller stuff just coming out on DVD that is flying under the radar but is definitely worth a look for the discerning DVD viewer. Is that you? Then read on!

21 Up South Africa: Mandela’s Children
Following the premise of Michael Apted’s famous documentary series, this film explores the lives of a group of South African children, first filmed at age 7 in 1992 and revisited at age 14 and again now at age 21 to talk about track, and analyze the changes in their lives, their communities and country, and themselves. It’s a sociologist’s dream project – right up my alley, one could say – and a fascinating look at both the culture of South Africa and the individual within it.

Kill the Artist
This documentary explores the works of several artists – among them Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, The Baroness, and Mike Diana – who have gotten into legal trouble because of their art works. It’s an interesting look into where the lines are drawn between sexuality and pornography, between religious questioning and blasphemy, and between art and provocation.

Dirty Money (Un Flic)
Jean-Pierre Melville’s final film finds him working familiar territory, with a criminal underworld of thieves and drug-dealers and unclean cops working their jobs routinely without any of the excitement and levity of most American crime films. It’s shot in that low-energy, grimy way he has that seems to drain every scene of its color until the blues and grays match the mood of the characters. If you like your crime films fast-paced and dazzlingly exciting, Melville won’t be for you, but if you’re a fan of his earlier works like Bob Le Flambeur, Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge, this one’s sure to speak to you.

Also recently released were box set collection by directors Derek Jarman and Russ Meyer. Jarman’s Glitterbox set includes the films: The Angelic Conversation (1985), Caravaggio (1986), Wittgenstein (1993), and Blue (1993). Russ Meyer’s Cleavage Collection contains Common-Law Cabin (1967), Good Morning and Goodbye! (1967), and Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers (1968).

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