Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Christmas List

This is the time of year that bloggers worldwide start publishing their Christmas Lists. Very often people beg openly for items, hoping that their friends, family or even perfect strangers will buy gifts for them.

Why should I be any different? Actually, I am about to be. I'm going to publish here my list of desired DVDs, movies that I would absolutely love to find under my tree this year. The catch is, none of them have been issued.

First of all, there's The Miracle of Flight by Terry Gilliam. This was a short animated film he made for TV, recently (well, a few years ago) seen in cinemas when Jabberwocky was rereleased across the US. That would be my top choice...

...followed very closely by Mark Romanek's Static. I had this film on VHS once, an ex-rental copy, and there are some laserdiscs of it hanging about eBay but hope of a DVD release seems rather slim. Romanek himself has dismissed the film as juvenilia, which is a bit dispiriting. Not only do I now doubt I'll ever get my hands on this film, I know that Romanek finds me juvenile for liking it so much.

Larry Cohen's Return to Salems Lot is inexplicably unavailable on DVD. The world is missing out on a typically Cohen affair, this time with the added bonus of Sam Fuller as a Vampire hunter.

L'Ange by Patrick Bokanowski couldn't be more different from a Larry Cohen film. Lyrical, beautiful, enigmatic and almost indigestibly rich beneath the bright, gossamer light surface. I want this on DVD, and I want it now.

Ida Lupino's Outrage is a blinding hot B-movie with a sociopolitical agenda that it simply won't let you ignore. Ida had an axe to grind and she did so in fine, hardboiled fashion. I'm surprised that I can't find this film on DVD anywhere.

Jacques Demy's Three Places for the 26th was the last of his musical fantasies, and while it isn't the best of them it is certainly a wonderful film and well overdue a decent DVD release.

There is such a following for Charles Burnett's The Killer of Sheep I'm astonished nobody has taken a gamble on putting out a DVD. Brilliantly constructed, endlessly witty and genuinely life affirming, this is a rare American Indie from the 70s that can be seen as a proper crowd pleaser.

My Friend Ivan Lapshin is a brilliant picture of Communism's first massive failings in the USSR. It might make you very angry but this film is nonetheless very rewarding and often utterly compelling.

I think that's my lot for now - but I may be back with an appendix. Add any suggestions in the comments below. I was about to add Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea but I found a Czech DVD of it... now all I need to know is how to actually get one. The film is a gem of time travel sci-fi from Poland. I'd remake this film in a heartbeat.

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