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Various – Cinema16: European Short Films (Special US Edition) (1965 – 2005)

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Cinema16 celebrates the short film by showcasing some of the best classic and award-winning shorts on DVD.

Aside from providing short films with a much needed platform, Cinema16 gives filmmakers and movie-lovers access to some great films that would otherwise be near impossible to see, from the fascinating early works of some of the world’s greatest directors to award-winning films from its most exciting new filmmakers.

Launching for the first time in North America, Cinema 16’s European Short Films DVD celebrates some of the best short films to have come out of Europe in the last half-century.

With over three hours of films, this DVD is essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the moving image. The majority of the films are accompanied by original audio commentaries, almost always by the directors themselves. Continue reading

Akira Kurosawa – Ichiban utsukushiku AKA The Most Beautiful (1944)

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The Most Beautiful is a wartime propaganda film depicting the efforts of female factory workers in a precision-lens manufacturing plant. It is episodic and anecdotal and very documentary-like. Donald Richie records specific instances of documentary techniques borrowed principally from Russian filmmakers such as the austere and static composition of its scenes. This need not be entertained to any considerable degree: the point is, holistically, the overwhelming impression is one of a document. We see many shots of the lens-making equipment, and through these learn the process of lens manufacture itself. Nearly every scene is segmented with shots of a parade (a military band, a marching platoon of young soldiers, etc.) and the film itself was shot in a real factory, a length to which Kurosawa would rarely go in later work. Continue reading

Kirsten Johnson – Cameraperson (2016)

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A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home: these scenes and others are woven into Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage collected over the twenty-five-year career of documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson.
Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality and crafted narrative. A hybrid work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, Cameraperson is both a moving glimpse into one filmmaker’s personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world.
Exposing her role behind the camera, Kirsten Johnson reaches into the vast trove of footage she has shot over decades around the world. What emerges is a visually bold memoir and a revelatory interrogation of the power of the camera. Continue reading

Charles Brabant – Les Possédées AKA Passionate Summer (1956)

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Story of the effect on three women living on an isolated farm when a man comes to live there.

Agata, sa fille Silvia et la belle-sœur Pia exploitent une ferme perdue dans un coin de montagne. L’embauche d’Angelo, séduisant quadragénaire, va provoquer affrontements et rivalités amoureuses entre les trois femmes… Continue reading

Gleb Panfilov – Nachalo AKA Debut AKA The Beginning (1970)

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A film-in-film story set in a provincial town in Russia. Pasha (Churikova) is an amateur actress who plays a witch at a local club, but her dream is to play Joan of Arc. In a strike of luck she is cast as Joan of Arc in a big screen film. Now she is torn between her luck and her love to Arkadi (Kuravlev) who is a married man. Continue reading

Jean Vigo – L’Atalante (1934)

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In 1934, French director Jean Vigo tragically died of tuberculosis at the age of just 29, leaving behind his one and only completed feature, L’Atalante (1934). A simple, yet visually complex tale of two young newly weds travelling aboard a barge, Vigo’s film has since been awarded classic status, with its director heralded as one of French cinema’s most significant auteurs despite a relatively small body of work. This new Artificial Eye collection allows completists to revisit Vigo’s newly restored magnum opus, as well as several short films from the same period. Continue reading