Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Second Run DVD For January, February And March

Three more months of the unexpected from Second Run DVD kicks off a pair of Czech films from the 60s: Jan Nemec's The Party and the Guests (party? party? I've not seen the film, but that double meaning practically leaps out at me screaming) and Romeo, Juliet and Darkness by Jiri Weiss which is, I'm told, a haunting romance set amidst the Nazi occupation of Prague. Those two will be on UK shelves from January 29th.

Then, on February 19th, Miklos Jansco's WWII POW drama My Way Home joins Second Run's previous release of his The Red and The White. They have more Jansco coming, too - The Round Up has been announced for an unspecified date 'later in 2007'. Typical of Second Run's selection, these films go where Criterion generally fear to tread.

Artur Aristakisyan's Palms is the newest film in this wave of releases, having been made in 1993. I remember its cinema release quite vividly - the film was, at the time, fairly unlike anything else I had ever seen. I wasn't totally convinced by it, but there was no denying the film's originality, nor escaping from it's surreality. I'd be interested to see it again, now that I'm that much older, perhaps wiser.

Palms is due for release on March 19th, as is Marta Meszaros' Diary of My Children, the first in a trilogy of Diary films. Meszaros has made over 60 films but is barely represented on DVD at all, her, in her native Hungary or anywhere else in the world. This is likely to be my introduction to her work and I'm looking forward to it keenly.

And that takes us deep into springtime. Put those in your diary, your Lovefilm queue or your Amazon basket.

1 comment:

Michael said...

(party? party? I've not seen the film, but that double meaning practically leaps out at me screaming)

Here's a sneak preview of a small part of the essay I wrote for the accompanying DVD booklet:

"The widespread assumption, very much shared by AntonĂ­n Novotny, the Czechoslovak President at the time of production, was that the film was a direct attack on the Communist government and therefore too dangerous to show.

To be fair to Novotny and his equally censorious successors, this impression has also been widely assumed in the West, aided and abetted by its two official English titles. A literal translation of O slavnosti a hostech, stripping out articles and ambiguity, would be something like 'About Celebration and Guests'. However, both British and American versions translate 'slavnost' as 'the party', which the rules of English title capitalisation turn into 'the Party', an unhelpfully loaded term.

The American title, A Report on the Party and the Guests, goes further still, suggesting that the film itself has been commissioned by some unnamed agency (possibly with links to the secret police) to be used as evidence in an impending prosecution of its unwitting protagonists. This certainly doesn't counter the film's spirit, but it does tend to narrow its focus. "