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3 06 2010

Welcome to the Cineaste Magazine Newsletter
Announcing Our New Issue Summer 2010
In This Edition
Special Focus on the DVD
Alain Resnais on Wild Grass
Rick Goldsmith tracks The Most Dangerous Man in America


On The Cover

Family affairs: A Milanese dynasty is rocked by matriarch Tilda Swinton’s infidelity in Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, which opens in the U.S. on June 18. “The film shows how today’s most ruthless capitalist thinking mirrors Mussolini’s emphasis on opportunism and expediency over principle,” writes reviewer Megan Ratner.

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To Our Readers:

Press “Play” and explore this edition’s Special Focus on the DVD, which has changed film culture in unexpected and indeed controversial ways. You won’t want to fast-forward through an array of features that examine DVD’s dominance…and, on the flip side, concern over our retreat to our home theaters.


In The Magazine

The “theatrical experience” is one that moviegoers hold sacred, with DVD seen as a false god. But in an article that appears in the magazine and also online Jonathan Rosenbaum wonders if the purists aren’t too tied to the past, given the availability on DVD of pristine presentations of such films as Carl Dreyer’s Day of Wrath (pictured), which were for decades close to unwatchable on film. The “real thing,” he argues, isn’t always the best option. And for many nontheatrical films, DVD is the only option, writes David Sterritt, as he pores over a variety of international documentaries, literary biographies, and avant-garde productions that are otherwise under the radar.

Alas, options for lovers of classic cinema are fewer these days, as recession-wracked Hollywood majors opt out of releasing much-requested titles on DVD. One solution is Manufacturing on Demand (MOD) programs, exemplified by the Warner Archive, and James Neibaur looks at their pros and cons. Picking up some of the slack, writes Jennifer A. Wood, is Blu-ray, as the high-definition format favored for Avatar and Transformers begins to redefine itself with new editions of Red Desert and Contempt.

Douglas Pratt gives a shout-out to the best DVD commentaries and commentators in an overview of that popular extra. We have extras of our own, too: A guide on how to become a region-free DVD viewer, an editors’ wish list of most wanted titles, and, online, an International DVD Distributor Directory, which includes a list of recommended international websites for DVD purchasing.

Last Year at Marienbad is one landmark film available on DVD and Blu-ray. Director Alain Resnais isn’t resting on his laurels, however, and celebrates his 88th birthday today with a film that echoes his often unconventional approach, Wild Grass. Gary Crowdus and Richard Porton interview the legendary filmmaker as Wild Grass spreads to the U.S. beginning June 25.

Currently in release is The Father of My Children, a fictional film derived from the shocking suicide of French producer Humbert Balsan. Writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve explores the mysteries of love and filmmaking with Richard Porton.

The Most Dangerous Man in America is Daniel Ellsberg, the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary codirected by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith. As the film continues its theatrical run, Goldsmith tells Dan Lybarger how the production got the story behind the story of Ellsberg and his decision to leak the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.


On Our Website

In a Web Exclusive interview Neil Jordan tells Paul McGuirk about his use of fantasy in Ondine (pictured), starring Colin Farrell as a fisherman and Alicja Bachleda as the “selkie” who entrances him. Opening this Friday in the U.S., the film, Jordan says, is his attempt to restore some magic to his native Ireland.

Cataloguing elusive Irish visual culture i s the aim of the new book Ireland in Focus: Film, Photography, and Popular Culture, edited by Eóin Flannery and Michael Griffin. Reviewer Derek Gladwin applauds the effort to demystify the subject, which includes essays on Irish documentaries and features about prisons and hunger strikes.

Though Kino International’s DVD collections Avant-Garde 2 and Avant-Garde 3 are less than the sum of their parts, Michael Sicinski praises their survey of American avant-garde cinema in its transitional phase from the Twenties to the Fifties. Included are the invaluable The Cage, by Sidney Peterson, and Jean-Isidore Isou’s Venom and Eternity.

Rooting out obscurities is the aim of The Orphan Film Symposium, a biannual conference that convened in New York earlier this y ear. Lost, now found, reports Livia Bloom: 1959’s The Cry of Jazz, a Fifties TV show with Orson Welles, and African films from the Sixties and Seventies.

AND MUCH MORE!
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The Editors