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Stumbled into Barnes & Noble last night just to kill a few minutes and of course made my way straight for the video section. The store clerk recognized be and greeted me this these words... "This is the last night of our "Buy 2, Get the Third One Free " video sale. Boy, does she know me!
Let me say my DVD collection is already out of hand. It's growing, uncatalogued, and sort of pushing me out of my small house. But I keep buying. I think of it as a commitment to art, or perhaps as an investment, but then I wonder... would I ever actually sell any item in my collection? Probably not.
Well, the upshot is I walked out of B & N just a little poorer, but smiling, clutching a bag with three new acquisitions. I had four in hand at one time, but I put "White Materials" back since that's next up on my Netflix queue. Here's what I bought:
"The Mikado" (1939) The legendary Gilbert and Sullivan troupe the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company joined forces with Hollywood for this Technicolor version of the beloved comic opera. 1939, the same year as "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz"... a watershed year in cinema. Anyway it's directed by Victor Schertzinger and stars American singer Kenny Baker and members of the D'Oyly Carte company... It's on Criterion, as are the other two films I bought. Among the special features is an interview with British director Mike Leigh, who directed a great film called "Topsy Turvy" a few years ago. That movie was about a Gilbert and Sullivan production.
"Still Walking" (2008) This is a contemporary film from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. It's a family tale, described as lyrical and profoundly moving. It describes a gathering of the Yokoyama family for a ritual observance... a film of nuance, simple gestures and domestic routines (especially cooking). The blurb also says it's heart-rending, and it was filmed as a tribute to the director's mother. I've a penchant for enjoying Japanese films, and I very much anticipating an evening with this one.
"Summer Hours" (L'Heure d'Été) (2008) This is a French film with Juliette Binoche, which clinched the sale for me. The director is Olivier Assayas, and again it's a family drama, as three siblings meet to decide what to do with the country estate and objects they've inherited from their mother. The other two principal cast members are Charles Berling and Jéremie Rénier. "Natural and unsentimental," an "exquisitely nuanced drama about the material of globalized modern living." I'll see how the French take on family life compares to the Japanese one.
Well, that's it. I wonder if any of you have heard of these movies? Any thoughts?