New DVDs

Jean Renoir’s La grande illusion

Jean Renoir’s classic prison escape movie, often seen as a humane and pacifist indictment of war, offers an ambiguous perspective on class differences. In a WWI German prisoner-of-war camp, three French soldiers, working-class Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin), middle-class Jew Rosenthal (Marcel Dalio) and aristocratic senior officer Captain de Boieldieu (Pierre Fresnay), are held prisoner by Commandant Von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim). The film shows how a bond of sympathy exists more between the German Commandant and the senior French officer than between the three Frenchman of different classes.

La jetee AND Sans soleil

A Chris Marker double bill. ‘La Jetee’ is a science fiction short that takes a man from the future back to his childhood in pre-apocalypse Paris. His ability to make contact with a woman he once glimpsed may be humanity’s last hope. The film makes use of still pictures to tell almost the entire story.

 The passing

Considered by many to be one of video artist Viola’s most important and accessible works, this film speaks eloquently to human experience at its most profound, it is a meditation on the passage of generations, filled with black and white nocturnal imagery and underwater scenes depicting a twilight world.

Les enfants terribles

Hauntingly atmospheric film of Jean Cocteau’s claustrophobic, hothouse novel, for which the author wrote the screenplay and provided the voice-over. Compelling tale of incestuous passions lead a teenage brother and sister into powerful tragedy.

 M : a Fritz Lang film

Of all Fritz Lang’s creations, none have been more innovative or influential than M, the film that launched German cinema into the sound era with stunning sophistication and mesmerising artistry. A spate of child killings has stricken a terrified Berlin. Peter Lorre gives a legendary performance as the murderer Hans Beckert, who soon finds himself chased by all levels of society.

From cinema’s first serial killer hunt, Lang pulls back to encompass social tapestry, police procedural, and underworld conspiracies in a multi-faceted and level-headed look at a deeply incendiary topic. One of the greatest psychological thrillers of all time, M remains as fresh and startling almost 80 years on.

 
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