DVD RELEASES 2009/5/19

Some very fine cinema is being released on DVD this week, so be sure not to overlook these titles:

Intimidad (Carnivalesque Films) — I dare anyone to not fall head over heels in love with David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s Intimidad, a heartbreakingly sweet portrait of familial love at its most untainted and pure. Over the course of several years, Redmon and Sabin followed a young Mexican couple (and their insanely cute daughter) in their quest to purchase a home of their very own. Intimidad is a tender, though never overly sentimental, lesson in humility. Read the Hammer to Nail review (which is included in the DVD booklet), then buy it at Amazon. (Michael Tully)

Mississippi Chicken (Watchmaker Films) — John Fiege’s documentary, which was nominated for a 2007 Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You Award, is actually a great companion piece to Intimidad. Shot predominantly on super-8, Mississippi Chicken has the aesthetic, not to mention socially conscious, vibe of a PBS documentary from the 1970s, as it shows the struggles of Hispanic immigrants in rural Mississippi over the course of a hot summer. Fiege and narrator/subject Anita Grabowski never get preachy with their material, keeping it humane even when situations arise that make one want to start marching in protest. Buy it at Amazon. (MT)

Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (Watchmaker Films) — (Note: this is a repost from May 5th’s DVD update, as it turns out the film actually hits the streets this week.) John Gianvito’s Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind is a solemn and reverent tribute America’s history of political activists, but it’s also a film that pushes the boundaries of documentary cinema in exciting—and effective—ways. Poetic rather than didactic, Gianvito jettisons traditional modes of communication (such as narration) and instead films public monuments in their actual context (whether in the woods, a public square, or by an Exxon station), while the alternating sounds of nature and modernity whisper of a heritage that may be overrun by moss, but is more important now than ever. Buy it at Amazon. (Cullen Gallagher)

Pigs, Pimps & Prostitutes: 3 Films by Shohei Imamura (Criterion) — The freak-flag-flying giant of the Japanese New Wave gets the deluxe Criterion treatment with this set collecting three of his early films. Pigs and Battleships is a wild satire on the U.S. military occupiers and the Japanese gangsters who seek to exploit them. The Insect Woman is Imamura’s characteristically offbeat take on the Mizoguchian or Narusean “woman’s picture” melodrama, spanning fifty years in the life of a factory worker, union activist, religious convert, prostitute, madam, maid, mistress, mother, and more. Intentions of Murder is a downbeat drama about an unhappily married woman who turns the tables on her victimizers. The box set maintains Criterion’s usual high standards of picture and sound quality and elegant packaging, and comes with several useful and informative extras, including interviews with Imamura from Japanese television. Buy it at Amazon, and click here to read my longer review. (Nelson Kim)

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