Is the last weekend of home video releases for the calendar year 2010 a washout? Not quite, thanks to Indiepix…
Samson & Delilah (Indiepix) — From the opening strains of Charley Pride’s “Sunshiny Day,” set to a slow-motion shot of an Aboriginal teenager waking up in bed only to immediately begin huffing gas out of a can, Samson & Delilah lets you know that it’s going to be different. It is. Written, directed, and photographed by Warwick Thornton on 35mm, this exhilarating feature-length debut isn’t just an assured, touching, and original tale of young love in the Central Australian desert. It’s a very precious reminder of the transportive power of cinema. Samson & Delilah will make you fall in love with movies all over again. Buy it on DVD.
Big River Man (Indiepix) — (I may have jumped the gun a few weeks back and then I missed the gun last week but now the release is official so here we go.) Slovenian endurance swimmer Martin Strel is like a real-life version of a character Werner Herzog might have pitched to Walt Disney in the ’70s. After having conquered the Mississippi, the Danube, and the Yangtze rivers in order to call attention to the world’s pollution problem, Strel decided to test the deadly waters of the Amazon. In collaboration with Strel’s son Borut, who co-produced and narrates this truly wild ride, filmmaker John Maringouin (Running Stumbled) was there to capture the mounting insanity, which starts humorously enough, but gradually devolves into a modern-day Heart of Darkness as not just Strel, but everyone on the journey, succumbs to the Amazon’s powerful mind-and-body-altering forces of nature. Though Strel’s true purpose becomes more ambiguous as the film wears on, Big River Man gains in power for that very reason. What is this man really fighting against? Perhaps even he doesn’t know, but the mere fact that he’s fighting in such a preposterously insane way sets an oddly compelling example for the rest of us. Buy it on DVD.
Have Not Seen But Wanna
Germany In Autumn (Facets) — Directed by Alexander Kluge and featuring Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Germany in Autumn is best known for crossing genre borders to become an altogether unique time capsule of life in 197os Germany. Buy it on DVD.