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Pick of the Week

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (Kino Lorber) — One thing you should know about Andrei Ujica’s epic three-hour documentary about Romanian president Nicolae Caeusescu: the title is ironic. Though you’d have to be missing a screw or two not to figure that out while watching it. Filled with a staggering array of archival footage (most of which appears to be 16mm), we join Ceausescu as he visits the home soil of other countries, welcomes leaders of other countries onto his home soil, visits businesses and construction sites, holds parades (the most incredible of which is a moving sports demonstration that must be seen to be believed), and, of course, plays volleyball? Ujica bookends his film with harsh interrogation footage of the former leader, when the time has come for him to be punished for his sins. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu is a strangely exhilarating experience. Available on DVD.


Herman’s House (First Run Features) — To be frank, most documentaries that feature comparatively privileged white individuals devoting their time and energy to bettering the lives of less fortunate people of color come off as tacky at best and condescending at worst. In these situations, there is an unavoidably, incredibly thin line between the inspirational and the egotistical. Yet in Herman’s House, Angad Bhalla finds a way to keep things from succumbing to the latter. This can be attributed to a few things: his and editor Ricardo Acosta’s narrative construction, which covers much ground without ever losing the film’s primary thread; Jackie Sumell, who proves that she’s in this for the long haul; and, of course, Herman Wallace himself, whose refusal to become bitter or give up on his dream of freedom is a flat-out miracle. Read the full HTN review. Available on DVD.

The House I Live In (Virgil Films and Entertainment) — Available on DVD.

From the Head (Breaking Glass Pictures) — Available on DVD.

New/Old to DVD/Blu-ray

The Kentucky Fried Movie (Shout! Factory) — Available on Blu-ray.

Have Not Seen Yet But Really/Kinda/Sorta/Maybe Wanna

56 Up (First Run Features) — Available on DVD.

Venus and Serena (Magnolia) — Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and at Amazon Instant.

The Curtis Harrington Short Film Collection (Flicker Alley/Drag City) — Available on Deluxe Combo DVD/Blu-ray Edition.

The Girl (Virgil Films and Entertainment) — Available on DVD and at Amazon Instant.

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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