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1 CHANGE - December 2013

 

Tokyo Story Blu-rays replaced with the Criterion Blu-ray 

 

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One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema.

François Truffaut’s first feature recreates the trials of the director's own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime.

Initializing with the ascension of humankind, and a recreation of the most important event in our history, immediately informs the viewer of the immense grandeur of Stanley Kubrick's heralded masterpiece.

During the entire story’s meticulous development we’re slowly ensnared in a resolute depiction of one man. We become integrated with his intelligent and persistent manner, with his struggles and his hopes, and eventually, his escape attempt.

Immediately suppressed by the Soviets in 1966, Andrei Tarkovsky’s epic masterpiece is a sweeping medieval tale of Russia’s greatest icon painter. Too experimental, too frightening, too violent, and too politically complicated to be released officially, Andrei Rublev has existed only in shortened, censored versions until this Criterion Collection edition.

  

 

 

 

 

In the tradition of such obsessively driven directors as Erich von Stroheim and Werner Herzog, Francis Ford Coppola approached the production of Apocalypse Now as if it were his own epic mission into the heart of darkness. As epic a film as the journey of its protagonist - operatic in style and bludgeoning in its depth. A shell-shocked captain treks up river to assassinate a renegade colonel - immortalized by Brando's enigmatic performance.

A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema. Through Bresson’s unconventional approach to composition, sound, and narrative, this seemingly simple story becomes a moving parable of purity and transcendence.

A girl mysteriously disappears on a yachting trip. While her lover and her best friend search for her across Italy, they begin an affair. Antonioni’s penetrating study of the idle upper class offers stinging observations on spiritual isolation and the many meanings of love.

A make-or-break risk for MGM Studios that took six years to prepare before the first frame was shot. The epic film adaptation of a Biblical era classic becomes an emotionally exhausting masterpiece that eclipsed all other epics.

Gregg Toland's pure camerawork gives a clinic on the most effective use of deep focus and Wyler's masterwork is further defined by eliciting several unselfish, yet commanding, performances.

 

   

   

 

 

Simple in construction and dazzlingly rich in human insight, Bicycle Thieves embodied all the greatest strengths of the neorealist film movement in Italy - emotional clarity, social righteousness, and brutal honesty.

Though ignored at the time of its release, Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life is now recognized as one of the great American films of the 1950s. When a friendly, successful suburban teacher and father (James Mason, in one of his most indelible roles) is prescribed cortisone for a painful, possibly fatal affliction, he grows dangerously addicted to the experimental drug, resulting in his transformation into a psychotic and ultimately violent household despot..

All the elements of cinematic arts are perfectly fused in Powell and Pressburger’s fascinating study of the age-old conflict between the spirit and the flesh - astonishingly set against the grandeur of the snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga.

One of the most visually influential science fiction films ever made, Blade Runner has a history as labyrinthine as any of its futuristic film noir sets. A fascinatingly contemplative detective story about a world-weary android-killer and his renegade prey, it has attracted a sizeable cult audience and retains a unique place in cinema.

Kieslowski's elliptical time-lapses in Blue support a sober examination of one devastated woman who chooses to create a new, anonymous and wholly independent life for herself.

 

 

   

 

Stan Brakhage challenges all taboos in his exploration of “birth, sex, death, and the search for God,” with 26 masterworks shorts in By Brakhage - a selection taken from the nearly 400 films he made over the past half century.

Pitting the imagination of common man Sam Lowry (the brilliantly befuddled Jonathan Pryce) against the oppressive storm troopers of the Ministry of Information, Terry Gilliam's Brazil has come to be regarded as an anti-totalitarianism cautionary tale equal to the works of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr..

Set amid the tumult of the Second World War, yet with a rhythm as delicate as a lullaby, the film follows three modern-day incarnations of Chaucer’s pilgrims -building to a majestic climax that ranks as one of the filmmaking duo’s finest achievements

Enigmatic propagandist subtexts defined by a brooding faux anti-hero and his past Parisian flame. It all takes place in his jazz-soaked Moroccan gin-joint giving birth to an iconic film where nearly half the world recognizes the key dialogue.

Master thief Corey (Alain Delon) is fresh out of prison. But instead of toeing the line of law-abiding freedom, he finds his steps leading back to the shadowy world of crime, crossing those of a notorious escapee (Gian Maria Volonté) and alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). As the unlikely trio plots a heist against impossible odds, their trail is pursued by a relentless inspector (Bourvil), and fate seals their destinies.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetic realism reaches sublime heights in the ineffably witty tale of a woman loved by four able suitors. Deftly entwining theater, literature, music, and design, are resurrected 19th-century Paris. Children of Paradise is 'the bomb'.

Occasionally life offers essential moments that you only reflect on in memory - unaware, at the time, there significance in your personal growth. Chungking Express is filled with these rare occasions, so crucial that they are recognized by us the viewer, if not by the characters acting out their own narrative.

Made when he was only 26, Welles masterpiece still unfurls like a dream and carries the viewer along the mysterious currents of time and memory to reach a mature (if ambiguous) conclusion: people are the sum of their contradictions, and can't be known easily.

After the visual fireworks of Sunrise and the now-lost splendour of 4 Devils, F.W. Murnau turned his attention to this vivid, painterly study of an impulsive and fragile marriage among the wheatfields of Minnesota. Tenderly romantic and tough-minded in equal measure, City Girl is one of cinema’s great pastorals, featuring some of the most delicate performances Murnau ever filmed and influencing directors such as Terrence Malick and Jean Vigo.

Charles Chaplin’s City Lights is so much more than a simple slapstick roughhouse stitched together with melodramatic sentimentality, like the films that many of his silent-era contemporaries would produce. This is it folks.

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc Godard’s subversive foray into commercial filmmaking is a star-studded Cinemascope epic. A brilliant study of marital breakdown, artistic compromise, and the cinematic process.

'Klaatu barada nikto'. Edmund H. North's intelligent script and Wise's smooth direction are serious without being solemn, while Bernard Herrmann's effectively alien-sounding score reinforces the atmosphere of strangeness and potential menace. A classic science fiction fable, its ambitious storyline conveying a surprising pacifist message.

One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting movies of the twentieth century, and his glorious period tragedy Days of Heaven, featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them. In 1910, a Chicago steel worker (Richard Gere) accidentally kills his supervisor and flees to the Texas panhandle with his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) and little sister (Linda Manz) to work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer (Sam Shepard)..

Diagnosing moral ambiguities with simplistic and gripping realism is only scratching the surface of this probing and infinitely everlasting series of short films that bind themselves together on a ultimately fascinating premise of the scriptures and the tablets of Moses.

Through his diary entries, the suffering young man relays a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from the village and from God. With his fourth film, Robert Bresson began to implement his stylistic philosophy as a filmmaker, stripping away all inessential elements from his compositions, the dialogue and the music, exacting a purity of image and sound.

 

 

 

   

 

 In Luis Buñuel’s deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined.

All at once cynical, sly, dark... a 'hard-boiled' suspense involving adulterous behavior, graft and murder. With Stanwyck as the comely femme fatale seductress, MacMurray as the duped sap and Edward G. Robinson as the street-wise superior with intuition...

Krzysztof Kieslowski's international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irène Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher.

In "Dream of Light" the celebrated director of "Spirit of the Beehive", Victor Erice, achieves the miraculous; a direct look into how an artist creates. Antonio Lopez Garcia is Spain's leading painter who, for several weeks one autumn, tries to paint the sun filtering through the leaves of a quince tree.

The conclusion of Antonioni’s informal trilogy on modern malaise. A story of alienation is told using the architecture of Rome as a backdrop for a couple’s doomed affair.

  

  

 

       
Shot over four arduous months in the wild, windswept Shetland Island of of Foula, a magnificent, primal landscape of high, rocky inland plains and sheer cliffs jutting out of the sea, Michael Powell's first independent production establishes the daring techniques and experimentation that would later become familiar hallmarks of his career. In this film I saw earmarks of Dreyer and Hitchcock - a masterwork film of inescapable beauty. Controversial and popular from the moment it opened, The Exorcist marks its historic Blu-ray premiere. The frightening and realistic tale of an innocent girl inhabited by a terrifying entity, her mother's frantic resolve to save her and two priests--one doubt-ridden, the other a rock of faith--joined in battling ultimate evil always leaves viewers breathless. This greatest supernatural thriller of all time astonishes and unsettles like no other movie.

Ingmar Bergman was quoted as saying Fanny and Alexander is “the sum total of my life as a film-maker”. From all of the reels of shooting Bergman created a 5-hour cut of the film to eventually be shown on television.

Mr. Disney and his troop of little men, together with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra and a corps of sound engineers, have fashioned with music and colors and animated figures on a screen a creation so thoroughly delightful and exciting in its novelty that one's senses are captivated by it, one's imagination is deliciously inspired. The General is perhaps Buster Keaton's finest film and shows the great comic of the silent era at the height of his powers. Keaton's talent lay in his slapstick ability and his famous stoney face expression which he gave at moments of great confusion. Currently much of his work is being re-appreciated at the true extent of his comic genius re-evalued.

 

 

 

 

 

From Russia with Love, along with its successor, Goldfinger, represents Bond at his best. Although the series has run for more than thirty years with seventeen "official" entries, it has yet to better, or even equal, what it achieved in 1963-1964 with the release of these two films. By combining solid storylines, tightly-paced action sequences, memorable villains, and Sean Connery in top form, Russia and Goldfinger mark the cinematic apex for Ian Fleming's 007.

Ermanno Olmi’s masterful feature is the tender story of two Milanese fiancés. His deep humanism charges this moving depiction of ordinary men and women, and the pitfalls of the human heart.

In Powell and  Pressburger's stunningly photographed comedy, Wendy Hiller stars as a headstrong young woman stranded by stormy weather. She meets a handsome naval officer who threatens to thwart her carefully laid-out life plans to marry a rich lord.

Considered by some to be Akira Kurosawa’s greatest achievement, Ikiru presents the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an exploration of a man’s death - a multifaceted look at a life through a prism of perspectives.

 

  

 

 

 

"Last Year at Marienbad" is infuriating for those who do not conform and accept its enigmatic, static beauty. Director Resnais' intentional confusion adds to the poetic mystery with stilted camera angles of emotionless, well-kempt opulence shown in soft, black and white, contrasting stills.

At once delicately mannered and visually stunning, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments in time.

This great American fable is buoyed by its unwavering faith in the wealth of the human spirit. Capra wanted to make a film to help shake America out of a post-Second World War funk, but ironically, the movie has only gained true popularity in the more cynical modern era.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws set the standard for edge-of-your-seat suspense quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon and forever changing the movie industry. When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again. Featuring an unforgettable score that evokes pure terror, Jaws remains one of the most influential and gripping adventures in motion picture history..

THE movie for many fans who greet it with just as much amazement and enjoyment as the multitude of initial viewers anticipating the original release way back in 1933. What it must have been like waiting in line over 70 years ago to get into a 'movie house' and watch the greatest spectacle of the sound era.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu’s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his only, beloved daughter. A story which remains as potent today as ever—almost by itself justifying Ozu’s inclusion in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest directors.

A stirring film biography of the eccentric British soldier who changed the course of World War 1 with his command of Middle Eastern Arabic tribes. "Lawrence of Arabia" is recognized as 'THE' war epic, with very little else of comparable proportions. An enduring classic of cinema.

The film recreates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento—when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster stars as the aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by his upstart nephew (Alain Delon) and his beautiful fiancée (Claudia Cardinale).

A simple, haunting phrase whistled off-screen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who is the murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann… In his harrowing masterwork, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller.

All the characters in Magnolia are enslaved, not by a Pharaoh (Exodus 8:2 - as obvious "8"s and "2"s are embedded throughout the film), but by their pasts, by circumstances, by loneliness, by resentment, by hatred, by shame, by guilt...

  

 

 

  

   

Fritz Lang's Metropolis is perhaps the most famous German film of all time, and certainly one of the most influential of all silent films. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and jawdropping production values, Metropolis stands today as a testament to Lang's ambitious vision of what cinema could be.

Tarkovsky states "It is an autobiographical film." Infused with dense, personal references from memory and an inaccessible use of time, space and performances, this is considered the director most artistically bold work being steeped in layered constructions. In examining his entire body of work this tends to be a catalyst of his vision of transcendency.

Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feeling with Mouchette, one of the most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film. Faced with a dying mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the teenage Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her economic and pubescent turmoil. An essential work of French filmmaking, Bresson’s hugely empathetic drama elevates its trapped protagonist into one of the cinema’s great tragic figures.

Pandora couldn't resist opening the forbidden box containing all the delusions of mankind, and let's just say in Mulholland Drive David Lynch indulges a similar impulse. Employing a familiar film noir atmosphere to unravel, as he coyly puts it, "a love story in the city of dreams", Lynch establishes a foreboding but playful narrative in the film's first half before subsuming all of Los Angeles and its corrupt ambitions into his voyeuristic universe of desire.

The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a standalone masterwork. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s quirkiest rendering of the battle between good and evil.

 

 

 

   

 

Fellini orchestrates his story in waves of simple, pure emotion, telegraphed with silent screen gusto by Giulietta Masina. With her Noh eyebrows and white bobby socks, Masina is the missing link between Charlie Chaplin and Shirley MacLaine.

Nightmare Alley uncovers both the dirt and romance of carnival life, and controversially — for those in the business — the tricks and scams of conmen and hustlers. After this picaresque and cathartic film, you will never again misuse the word "geek".

A key motif is make-believe and Hitchcock even creates somewhat of a parallelism between advertising and espionage, as “in advertising, there is no such thing as a lie”, which one might as well say about the world of espionage. Both worlds live by deceiving others, in fact their survival depends upon it.

The Sacrifice is like a compendium of all the ideas (faith, role of artist, power of nature, virtue of childhood) and images (love as levitation, a boy standing by a tree) from Tarkovsky's previous six films. As usual, there’s a baffling rush of philosophical debate, stitched together with some of the most astonishing shots in all cinema.

A farmer’s family is torn apart by faith, sanctity, and love—one child believes he’s Jesus Christ, a second proclaims himself agnostic, and the third falls in love with a fundamentalist’s daughter. Putting the lie to the term “organized religion,” Ordet (The Word)is a challenge to simple facts and dogmatic orthodoxy.

 

 

 

 

 

Wenders' collaboration with writer Sam Shepard is a master-stroke, wholly beneficial to both talents; if Wenders' previous film, The State of Things, was on the very limits of possibility, this one, through its final scenes, pushes the frontier three steps forward into new and sublime territory.

With its stunning camerawork and striking compositions, Carl Th. Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc convinced the world that movies could be art. Renée Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film, as the young maiden who died for God and France.

Robert Bresson’s masterful investigation of crime and redemption tells the story of the young, arrogant Michel (Martin LaSalle), who spends his days learning the art of picking pockets in the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris. Tautly choreographed and stylistically rigorous, Pickpocket reveals Bresson at his enigmatic, virtuosic best.

Twenty years after it swept Australia into the international film spotlight, Peter Weir's stunning 1975 masterpiece remains as ineffable as the unanswerable mystery at its core. A lyrical, meditative film charged with suppressed longings.

Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most shocking films of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is now available on Blu-ray featuring perfect picture, a newly created 5.1 audio track and bonus features that take you beyond the movie! Join the Master of Suspense on a chilling journey as an unsuspecting victim (Janet Leigh) visits the Bates Motel and falls prey to one of cinema’s most notorious psychopaths - Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).

With breathtaking accuracy, Raging Bull ventures still further into the territory Scorsese has mapped in all his films - men and male values; in this case through the story of 1949 middleweight champion Jake La Motta. This film does more than make you think about masculinity, it makes you see it - in a way that's relevant to all men, not just Bronx boxers.

Rear Window: Taken from the Masterpiece Collection. The movie’s overall narrative form of scanning past windows in a courtyard seems to anticipate channel surfing, but it reflects the way one turns a radio knob, tuning in and out of frequencies while the station indicator moves horizontally or vertically along the dial. The same pattern is apparent in the beautifully calibrated camera movements as well as the brilliantly mixed and nuanced sound recording.

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Rebecca’s haunting opening line conjures the entirety of Hitchcock’s romantic, suspenseful, elegant film. A young woman (Joan Fontaine) believes her every dream has come true when her whirlwind romance with the dashing Maxim de Winter culminates in marriage. But she soon realizes that Rebecca, the late first Mrs. de Winter, haunts both the temperamental, brooding Maxim and the de Winter mansion, Manderley.

This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound.

 

 

 

 

   

A glorious Technicolor pic that influenced generations of filmmakers, artists, and aspiring ballerinas, The Red Shoes intricately weaves backstage life with the thrill of performance. A young ballerina (Moira Shearer) is torn between two forces: the composer who loves her (Marius Goring), and the impresario determined to fashion her into a great dancer (Anton Walbrook).

Rosetta is in the same, grim realist mould as the Dardennes' earlier La Promesse; it, too, offers a glimmer of hope through the prospect of friendship. The Dardennes never sentimentalise their heroine but respect the mysteries of her soul; the result is a film almost Bressonian in its rigour and power to touch the heart.

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays a contract killer with samurai instincts. A razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture—with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology—maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece Le Samouraï defines cool. While Sátántangó, due to it being in black and white, Hungarian and running 7 hours, on paper may sound like the ultimate joke about art-house cinema, it is nothing less than a mesmerizing life changing cinematic experience.

In “The Scent of Green Papaya” Tran floats his camera through windows and over walls. He also brushed vibrant green foliage in some extremely elegant and painstakingly thought-out choreographed scenes. This transparent fluidity served as a constant backdrop to, and effectively put its blessing upon, Tran's clever blend of gentle classical and soothing traditional Vietnamese music reflecting the naturalistic purity of the surrounding scenery.

   

 

 

 

 

It’s not what is said and done in John Ford’s The Searchers that makes it such an effective film. It is what is not said and done—the actions that are implied but never seen, and the dialogue that is thought but never spoken. It is about two men’s five-year search for a girl kidnapped by Comanche Indians, but it is more interested in why they are searching than who they are searching for.

One of the most beloved movie epics of all time, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai features legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura and seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

The plot is also somewhat of a historical expression for the film genre with the prevalent mention of the advent of talkies, how it was done and the technical bridges that were crossed in that era. An all-time family favorite and one of the most exhilarating musicals of all time.

An audacious critique of the disastrous legacy of the Spanish Civil War, The Spirit of the Beehive is set in a rural 1940s Spanish village haunted by betrayal and regret. Víctor Erice’s spellbinding masterpiece is widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s.

Stalker sets a form of absolute linear simplicity. The wettest, grimmest trek ever seen on film leads to nihilistic impasse - huddled in dirt, the discovery of faith seems impossible; and without faith, life outside the Zone, impossible. But hang on in to the ending, where a plain declaration of love and a vision of pure magic at least point the way to redemption. As always, Tarkovsky conjures images like you've never seen before; and as a journey to the heart of darkness, it's a good deal more persuasive than Coppola's.

 

 

  

 

 

With La Strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide.

Conceived by Murnau and written by Carl Mayer while they were both still in Germany, Sunrise takes a simple situation — the marriage of a peasant couple (George O'Brien and Janet Gaynor) from a country hamlet, invaded by a seductress from the city (Margaret Livingston) — and elevates it to the realm of fable, stripped of melodrama yet brimming with poetic impulses.

Taxi Driver is the definitive cinematic portrait of loneliness and alienation manifested as violence. It is as if director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader had tapped into precisely the same source of psychological inspiration ("I just knew I had to make this film," Scorsese would later say), combined with a perfectly timed post-Watergate expression of personal, political, and societal anxiety.

A big-budget, spectacularly mounted epic, The Thin Red Line is also one of the most deeply philosophical films ever released by a major Hollywood studio, a thought-provoking meditation on man, nature, and violence. Featuring a cast of contemporary cinema’s finest actors.

Tokyo Story reprises one of the director Ozu's favorite themes—that of generational conflict—in a way that is quintessentially Japanese and yet so universal in its appeal that it continues to resonate as one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces.

 

 

 

 

 

Pixar are not simply making a great animated movies here... these films will last for generations of adults and children. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 deal with, at its most basic root, the universal interaction of children and toys - their imaginative communication and playful reflections and musings as adults.

Ugetsu offers a commentary on the delusions of lust and power and the folly of war. Renowned cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa helps Mizoguchi seamlessly interweave the supernatural with reality, creating one of the most beautiful films of all time.

After the success of his Fantomas films, French director Louis Feuillade attempted to create the ultimate espionage serial, a ten-episode, seven-hour epic called Les Vampires. Edouard Mathe stars as Philippe Guerande, a crime-fighting journalist who attempts to penetrate the international ring of thieves known as The Vampires. Among the most fascinating of these sophisticated thieves and assassins is Irma Vep (Musidora), a black-clad seductress whose name is an anagram for ''vampre'' and who endures today as an icon of European cinema.

Vertigo: Taken from the Masterpiece Collection. Although it wasn't a box-office success when originally released in 1958, Vertigo has since taken its deserved place as Alfred Hitchcock's greatest, most spellbinding, most deeply personal achievement. A tale that mocks our own perceptions of superficiality and inconclusive aspects of love... and why we cannot recreate it.

The communication bridges in the film harkens back to Roeg’s subtle theme of the “hustle and bustle” of civilization versus idyllic pastoral innocence. The ending encapsulates the story as a mysterious and defining moment in one young girl's life. Her appreciation of that time is purposely indecipherable.

 

 

 

 

 

Musicals pine to reach the zenith created by Leonard Bernstein’s iconic score whilst finger clicking to the classic ‘Romeo and Juliet’ sub narrative behind a backdrop of what makes New York City the moody Big Apple. It covers all topics from sex, race, freedom, love, survival, honor and family.

Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse's finest hour--a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko, who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo's very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to establish her independence in a male-dominated society.

With Winter Light, master craftsman Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence. Beautifully photographed by Sven Nykvist, Winter Light is an unsettling look at the human craving for personal validation in a world seemingly abandoned by God.

There's no place like home, and there will never be another movie like this one. MGM’s fantasy musical about the adventures of Dorothy (Judy Garland) in Oz deserves its enduring classic status. Just follow the Yellow Brick Road…

Leaving aside all the teasing questions of allegorical meaning, Teshigahara's film is a tour de force of visual style, and a knockout as an unusually cruel thriller. It builds on its blatantly contrived premise (taken from Kobo Abé's novel) with absolute fidelity and conviction.

CHANGE LOG:

 

1 CHANGE - December 2013

Tokyo Story Blu-rays replaced with the Criterion Blu-ray 

 

1 CHANGE - November 2013

City Lights Kinowelt Blu-ray replaced with the Criterion Blu-ray

 

1 CHANGE - October 2013

The Best Years of Our Lives DVD replaced with the Warner Blu-ray

 

1 CHANGE - March 2013

Gaumont A Man Escaped Blu-ray replaced with the Criterion Blu-ray

 

2 CHANGES - December 2012

Criterion Passion of Joan of Arc DVD replaced with the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray  / Brazil DVD replaced with the Criterion Brazil Blu-ray

 

2 CHANGES - November 2012

Rear Window and Vertigo DVDs replaced with the Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray,

 

4 CHANGES - September 2012

TFI In the Mood For Love DVD replaced with Criterion Blu-ray, Columbia LE DVD of Lawrence of Arabia replaced by Sony Blu-ray,  Studio Canal Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Blu-ray) replaces Criterion DVD, Criterion Children of Paradise (Blu-ray) replaces Criterion DVD.

 

5 CHANGES - August 2012

Rosetta (Blu-ray), Double Indemnity (Blu-ray) and Singing in the Rain (Blu-ray) replace the same film DVD versions.  Millennium Mambo and Summer at Grandpa's DVDs were replaced by Jaws (Blu-ray) and Les Vampires (Blu-ray).

 

3 CHANGES - May 2012

REPLACED: Casablanca (Blu-ray) with 70th Anniversary (bare package Blu-ray) / Replaced BFI (Blu-ray) Late Spring with Criterion (Blu-ray), and replaced Criterion DVD of Ugetsu Monogatari (Blu-ray) with Masters of Cinema (Blu-ray).

 

1 CHANGE - February 2012

REPLACED: Rebecca (MGM Blu-ray)

 

1 CHANGE - January 2012

REPLACED: Fanny and Alexander  (Criterion Blu-ray)

 

4 CHANGES - October 11'

ADDED: Ben Hur  (Warner Blu-ray), West Side Story (20th Century Fox Blu-ray), Kieslowski's Blue (Criterion Blu-ray) and replaced Metropolis OOP Steelbook with Standard (Masters of Cinema Blu-ray)

 

5 CHANGES - September 11'

Citizen Kane (Warner Blu-ray), The Sacrifice (Kino Blu-ray), M (Universum Blu-ray), Sunrise (Masters of Cinema - Dual Format Blu-ray) and City Girl (Masters of Cinema - Dual Format Blu-ray)  - all replacing older SD, inferior BD or new Dual-Format editions.

 

4 NEW ADDITIONS - May 11'

Bicycle Thieves (Arrow Blu-ray), The Double Life of Veronique (Criterion Blu-ray), Taxi Driver (Sony Blu-ray) and The Scent of Green Papaya (Lorber Blu-ray).

 

13 NEW ADDITIONS - NOVEMBER 2010! (see below)

 

ABOUT THE LIST: Firstly - Thank you to all the respondents who gave us their opinion to complete our list of 100 DISCs to take to a 'Desert Island'.

 

The current 100 selections were culled from over 700 contributors choices of 10 or less each. An edition must have had at least 6 votes for consideration. Disc attributes such as image/audio transfer and supplements (especially commentaries) rank very highly - in some circumstances almost comparable to film value.  We allowed only individual feature film selections or shorter compilations (ex. By Brakhage and The Decalogue) - not boxsets - although you could choose one film from a boxset even if it was not available individually at this time. Two, three or more disc special editions of one film are still viable.

 

For the curious: We also received multiple (at least 3 votes each) for the following DVDs:
Sony's The Passenger, Paramount's The Conformist, Criterion's Rushmore, Columbia Tri-Star's Punch Drunk Love, Paramount's The Godfather, Universal (CE) The Big Lebowski, Criterion's Brief Encounter, Beuna Vista's Cinema Paradiso, Koch Lorber's La Dolce Vita, FVD's Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Paramount's The Godfather (Part 2), Criterion's Le Grand Illusion, Artificial Eye's L'Argent and MGM's Crimes and Misdemeanors.
We will be adding/deleting in the future and we all note the upcoming release of Godard's Histoire (s) du cinéma which will undoubtedly make the list.

The choices cover many genres and styles (westerns, film noir, silent films, musicals, drama, arthouse etc.), although not proportionately equally. We have shortage of comedies where we seem to spread a bit thin, chronologically speaking, between Chapin's City Light and Toy Story 2. Modern action extravaganza's are also not strongly supported being easily eclipsed by our balloters for more contemplative, narrative films. This is sometimes referred to as 'The DVDBeaver Effect'.

 

When completed this list should represent the most valuable 100 DISCs ever produced. We organized in alphabetical order (usual English title translation). With constant new releases and Blu-ray format upgrades this list will be in a state of flux - additions and deletion expected over time.

NOTE: As usual DVDBeaver does not discriminate against region code, standard or format.

 

REMOVED AS OF AUGUST 2012:

   

 

Looking at the youthful friends around me, I find that their cycle and rhythm of "birth, age, illness and death' are moving several times faster than those of my generation. This is particularly true of young girls: like flowers, they are fading almost immediately upon blooming.

Summer at Grandpa's from the Hou Boxset. The warmest of Hou's films - he, like many other directors, have focused on children and the intricacies of becoming educated in the working ways of the world... and its inhabitants (us). A positive examination of the human condition - there is even a hint of melodrama. For this reason some my dismiss it but I will continue to embrace it as a favorite.

REMOVED AS OF NOVEMBER 2010:

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Possibly our most bizarre selection - both as a film and DVD (a few seconds are even censored on this edition). Ming-Liang Tsai's Vive L'amour literally translates to "long live love" which could be more of a request than a statement.

John Cassavetes’ devastating drama details the emotional breakdown of a suburban housewife and her family’s struggle to save her from herself. Mostly the picture is full of movement, some of it dashing in fine romantic costume style, some of it just sprightly it remains one of the most beautiful three stripe Technicolor films ever...

April Story is a simple and wonderful vision of unrequited love that leaves you aching for the continuation, yet content that you have seen enough.

Almost all of this superbly rendered tragedy takes place within the confines of the Master's vast estate, and Zhang Yimou uses a mostly stationary camera to frame the characters within careful compositions of doorways, portals, canopies and courtyards; the severe, rigid style effectively turns the sumptuous residence into a metaphorical prison compound.

 

  

 

 

 

Animator Wanee and screenwriter Junah are in love and live together to give each other comfort. However, one day, the return of Wanee's stepbrother and her first love (Youngminn) recalls the fading memories of her puppy love. The queer coexistence of present and past love leads to an unexpected confusion in their minds...

Filmed on the virtually deserted Setonaikai archipelago in south-east Japan, The Naked Island was made — in the words of its director — "as a 'cinematic poem' to try and capture the life of human beings struggling like ants against the forces of nature". Using one-tenth of the average budget, Shindo took one last impassioned risk to make this film.

Zhang Yimou’s To Live (aka Lifetimes) is an exploratory masterpiece that transcends its political inferences and rests heavily on it’s real meaning; the importance of family. Yimou includes previous themes of survival, perseverance and the resilience of the human spirit also found in many of his other films.

Sound of the Mountain draws on the concerns of Naruse’s earlier marriage films, including Repast (even the pairing of stars Hara and Uehara is reprised), to offer a profoundly moving account of the complex relationship that develops between an older man and a younger woman.

Nicholas Ray's epic 1959 film about Eskimo life was unfairly victimized on release, censored at the UK cinema, and neglected by both TV and home video for decades. The Savage Innocents continued Ray's fascination with alternative lifestyles — examining the life of Eskimos and their remoteness from "civilized" values. It represents Ray's first and most ambitious attempt to break free from Hollywood and forge his own route.

 

 

 

Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece follows Umberto D., an elderly pensioner, as he struggles to make ends meet during Italy’s postwar economic boom. Umberto’s simple quest to fulfill the most fundamental human needs — food, shelter, companionship — is one of the most heartbreaking stories ever filmed and an essential classic of world cinema.

Louis Feuillade's 1915 silent French masterpiece "Les Vampires" represents part of the 'primordial soup' from which all modern cinema evolved. Don't let the name fool you... there are no 'vampires' as in the 'blood-sucking undead' in this film. Les Vampires are a sinister gang plaguing Paris with their underworld activity including burglaries, decapitation of law enforcement officers, bombings, forgery and other unsavory dealings.

Sensationally modern, the film follows the downward spiral of the fiery, brash, yet innocent showgirl Lulu, whose sexual vivacity has a devastating effect on everyone she comes in contact with. Daring and stylish, Pandora's Box is one of silent cinema's great masterworks and a testament to Brooks' dazzling individuality.
 




 

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Gary Tooze

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