February 11, 2011 / Mediation, Uncategorized
In 1991, the Academy Award for Best Picture went to the disturbing psycho thriller, The …
October 10, 2011
I’m beginning to wonder: How many cinematic masterpieces will I miss in my lifetime because nobody has bothered to make them available in America?
This question is on my mind because I’ve just watched my imported blu-ray of Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy a fourth time, and my review will go up tomorrow at Image. It’s probably my favorite film of the last five or six years. But what good will a review do for readers in the U.S.? They only way they can see this movie now is to order the British blu-ray.
I see that Jonathan Rosenbaum has re-posted his original review of Terence Davies film Distant Voices, Still Lives. That film remains unavailable on DVD or blu-ray in the U.S. Your options are a streaming version from Amazon, or dear old VHS.
It’s not a film we can afford to forget. I saw it for the first time on an import DVD just a few weeks ago, and the experience was overwhelming. If you’d told me it was a brand new film from a visionary talent, I might have believed you (although the presence of the late Pete Postlethwaite might have seemed strange.)
Here’s a clip from Rosenbaum’s review:
Nothing in the above summary can convey the weight, the flow, or the impact of these sounds and images; they create a world of their own that is so self-sufficient and distinct from other film experiences that it is impossible to say whether this sequence — or any subsequent ones in the film — is proceeding quickly or slowly. We all know that “real time” and “film time” aren’t the same thing, but the emotional time of recollection that this film works with is so singular that it doesn’t seem to bear much relation to what we ordinarily mean by either of these temporal registers. The film as a whole lasts only 85 minutes, but the density that it conveys is closer to that of a three-hour epic.
Hopefully the pending arrival of Davies’ new film The Deep Blue Sea will trigger a release of what are, arguably, his two masterpieces. Distant Voices, Still Lives features Pete Postlethwaite at his terrifying best. The Long Day Closes fuses music, imagery, memory, and dream in ways that critics seem to think that Malick (that other great Terrence) invented just this year with The Tree of Life.
Do you know of any other essential films that aren’t currently available on blu-ray or DVD in the U.S.? What are they? What should we add to the wish list?
Jeffrey Overstreet watches far too many movies, writes film reviews and two weekly columns for ChristianityTodayMovies.com, maintains the Web site LookingCloser.org, contributes to Paste Magazine, and is at work on a series of novels. He works at Seattle Pacific University.