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Lars von Trier, New Season


This Sunday’s issue of Arts and Leisure in the New York Times is devoted to the upcoming season, so there’s no DVD column from me — though I do have an interview with the redoubtable Lars von Trier on the subject of his upcoming “Antichrist,” as well as a scrupulously unopinionated list of all the theatrical releases coming up between now and the end of the year.

I’m back from the Venice Film Festival, where Samuel Maoz’s Isreali film “Lebanon” won the Golden Lion, and Todd Solondz had to content himself with a best screenplay prize for his excellent “Life During Wartime.” For me, most of the revelations in the festival came in the series of recently restored Italian films curated by Sergio Toffetti of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, a program that ranged from such curiosities as Giorgio Simonelli’s “Accidenti alla guerra! . . .,” a 1948 slapstick comedy that takes a look at the lighter side of the Nazi eugenics program, to a handsome new print of Luciano Emmer’s 1961 masterpiece “La ragazza in vetrina.” The true jaw-dropper was Raffaello Matarazzo’s long lost “La nave delle donne maldette” (“The Ship of Damned Women”) of 1953, now pieced together from various fragmentary prints and digitally restored to an approximation of its original color. Reportedly the most radical work of a filmmaker sometimes described as the Italian Douglas Sirk, it’s a period melodrama that moves with impressive formal precision toward an orgiastic climax: a mid-Atlantic mutiny led by a legion of female prisoners who use the only weapons available to them — their bodies — to convince the crew to support their cause. Astonishing stuff from a filmmaker who clearly merits further investigation.

104 comments to Lars von Trier, New Season

  • Dave K

    I heard that Paramount bought the Republic titles mainly for the Wayne movies, which they intended to re-issue for his 100th birthday. But they dropped the ball, and just allowed Artisan to reissue a handful of things that had already been around. At this point I’m not sure that anyone in the DVD division at Paramount is aware that they own these films (apart from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I guess). These days, they’re intent on reissuing every CBS series ever made, and seem to have allowed their film library to slide into complete neglect. But like you, Blake, I live in hope!

  • Blake Lucas

    What else can one do?

    Sometimes there seems no rhyme nor reason to me as to what gets endlessly shown on cable, movies that were arguably would have been boring to see even once, while so many treasures are languishing in the vaults, and I know they are movies plenty of people out here want to see.

    Seriously, I think the market for that Republic Ford set would be good at a fairly easy price. The two Wayne films are going to sell anyway, in whatever edition, and those getting it would have a chance to discover another very special film they might never have seen.

  • Arthur S.

    A lot of the great films made at Republic need to come out on DVD – I cannot understand why JOHNNY GUITAR is still AWOL on R1. Then there is MOONRISE and GOOD SAM.

  • Junko Yasutani

    ‘ I cannot understand why JOHNNY GUITAR is still AWOL on R1. Then there is MOONRISE’

    These movies and THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT (100 minute version)was released as laser disc from US manufacturer in 1990s. I saw for sale at cinephile store in Akihabara in Tokyo. Too expensive to buy for me, but I bought I’VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU becuase it was at discount, not so popular movie. Of course it was good movie even if not known to Japanese cinephiles.