I apologize for my absence during most of last week’s very interesting discussion of retrograde imagery and how best to confront it. A loss in the family kept me away from the keyboard but the debate seemed to flow along nicely without me — maybe I should stay away more often!
This week’s New York Times column is another hodgepodge that reflects the slowdown in library releases in the weeks right before Christmas — this is when you’re supposed to be out there scarfing down those pricey gift sets (how about this one, for a mere $$499.98 list?) instead of those underpriced oldies.
Nevertheless, there’s “Trouble in Mind,” one of my favorite indie films from the 80s; another obscure Paramount title, Ronald Neame’s “Escape from Zahrain,” from Olive Films (got to give those folks some support — they’ve got Preminger’s “Skidoo” and “Hurry Sundown” coming out in ‘scope for March), and a true oddity from VCI, Leopold Lindtberg’s sort-of neo-realist “Four in a Jeep,” a postwar drama shot in Vienna. The full text is here.
Our friend and faithful French correspondent Nicolas Saada’s first feature, “(E)spions,” has been selected for “My French Film Festival,” a VOD initiative that Unifrance is sponsoring in cooperation with the French film website Allocine. The site, here, opens January 14 and will include ten features from first and second-time filmmakers.
One of my favorite websites, Europa Film Treasures, has added eleven new titles to their on-line collection of streaming rarities from the European archives, including a stunning hand-colored print of Augusto Genina’s 1923 feature “Cyrano de Bergerac”. For those who were as haunted as I was by Rick Prelinger’s recently restored “A Trip Down Market Street” — a 13-minute ride through San Francisco, seen from the front of a cable car filmed only four days before the 1906 earthquake that was recently featured on “60 Minutes” — there is a similar tour of the French city of Dunkirk, shot from a moving tram in 1913: a tracking shot that Max Ophuls might have envied.