Thursday, June 12, 2008

DVD releases for June 10

Like the man who thought he could run away from the maniacal hair-washing/ice-cream serving Takeshi Kaneshiro in Fallen Angels, all I can do is hold up my hands and say, with my best Hong Kong accent "Sorry. Sorry!" Inexcusably distracted by the NBA finals, unable to treat a deadline any differently than I did in college, and basking in the light of my new computer, I have been neglecting my responsibilities as...well, I'm not sure what kind of responsibility this is.

Anyway, two DVDs of note this week and one to consider:

The Wayward Cloud (2005) directed by Tsai Ming Liang
This release took a while, but I was not optimistic about any release at all for this movie. Fans of Tsai Ming-liang (who do not have a region free DVD player) should rejoice. The Wayward Cloud picks up where What Time Is It There and The Skywalk is Gone left off. Hsiao-Kang has made a career change from selling watches on the now missing skywalk to amateur porn star. Meanwhile Shiang-Chyi is still desperately trying navigate a society that she seems ill-suited for. She and Hsiao Kang's spiritual connection is reestablished building to the most audacious crescendo I think I have ever seen. Interspersed with the most delightful musical pieces that are anything but elegant, The Wayward Cloud seems like total catharsis, and I am not about to blame Tsai Ming-liang for that. This is an off-the-charts film with material that is as sexually explicit as any porn film that is sure to infuriate most film fans. Personally, I find its irreverence like a breath of fresh air. (Watch the trailer, for 18+ only, here.)

The Ballad of Narayama (1983) directed by Shohei Imamura
Is this really the first time this film has been out on DVD in the US? That is really hard to believe, but kudos to Animeigo who continues to reach outside there normal cult genres to release titles like this. The Ballad of Narayama is truly an amazing film chronicaling life, in its many facets, in a small village in 19th century Northern Japan. Emotionally powerful and beautifully made.

Funny Games (2007) directed by Michael Haneke
If you haven't seen the original, check this version out. If you have seen the original, there is really no reason to see the new version. (Read my thoughts here.)

No comments: