One of the week's most unusual releases. Enki Bilal, born in Belgrade and now living and working in France, is a comic-book artist with a highly dedicated cult following. Here, he brings the first volume of his Nikopol Trilogy, La Foire Immortels (The Immmortal Market) to visually spectacular life with the help of a cast that includes Thomas Kretschmann and Charlotte Rampling.
They Came Back (2004).
What if 70 million people came back from the dead - zombies, basically - but they weren't particularly interested in chowing down on the living? Suppose they simply wanted to reassimilate themselves back into society? They're not too quick about it, of course, and they have to sort of learn to cope with the sluggishness of their bodies and the forgetfulness of their minds, but they're trying.
"Though the fear that the film's walking dead can turn violent at any second is completely unjustified, the writer-director allows this paranoia to reflect the feelings of loss, disassociation, and hopelessness that cripple the living," writes Ed Gonzalez in Slant. "It's rather amazing how far the film is able to coast on its uniquely fascinating premise, even if it isn't much of a stretch for its director: [Robin] Campillo co-authored Laurent Cantet's incredible Time Out, a different kind of zombie film about the deadening effects of too much work on the human psyche, and They Came Back is almost as impressive in its concern with the existential relationship between the physical and non-physical world."
In the Realms of the Unreal (2003).
An extraordinary and unique documentary about one of the most famous, intriguing and even disturbing outsider artists ever known. Or rather, unknown; though the Chicago janitor left behind 300 paintings and a 15,000-page novel, his work is the only record of a lonely life that ended in 1973.
"Was Henry Darger's output the work of a singular artist or the symptom of mental illness?" asks Dave Kehr in the New York Times. "[Jessica] Yu suggests that the question is not only impossible to answer, but also reductive and inappropriate in the face of such a singular achievement. Obscure by nature and unwieldy by design, Darger's work is difficult to confront and consume; Ms. Yu has brought it a little closer, and that is as fine a public service as an art documentary can provide."
Narrated by Dakota Fanning.
Bright Leaves (2003).
"Hearing Ross McElwee's voice at the beginning of a movie is like getting a phone call from an old friend," writes Ty Burr in the Boston Globe. "The Cambridge-based documentarian is a raconteur of elegiac discursiveness, and films such as 1986's Sherman's March and 1994's Time Indefinite wander from topic to topic with a charming, self-absorbed, and oddly liberating waywardness. Bright Leaves is supposedly about the North Carolina tobacco industry and McElwee's ancestral connection to it, but somehow you don't mind that you end up hearing actress Patricia Neal talk about her enduring love for Gary Cooper."
Put the Camera on Me (2003).
"An amazing, unclassifiable bit of queer Americana," enthused Bright Lights Film Journal editor Gary Morris when he caught this one at the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in 2003. "Ever been to a family function and tried to pick out the future gay boys of America by cataloging the strange behaviors of your young cousins and their friends?" asks Ed Gonzalez in the City Pages. "If so, this film from Darren Stein (Jawbreaker) and Adam Shell is for you."
Siren of the Tropics (1928).
No history of Europe between the wars is complete without at least a mention of the woman who electrified the continent, Josephine Baker. While you may have seen clips of her before, there was a lot more to her vibrant persona than a banana dance. She made features as well, and this is her first. The disc also features Josephine Baker: The Performer and more extras.
Zou Zou (1934).
Josephine Baker's first talkie is a "backstage musical" in the tradition of 42nd Street and features Jean Gabin who was himself just about to break and break huge around the world. "Electrifying," wrote Michael Wilmington of Baker in the Los Angeles Times, "a great boisterous presence that irradiates the screen with arcs of eroticism."
Princess Tam Tam (1935).
"Irresistible... as of today the most enchanting new film in town," wrote Vincent Canby in the New York Times back in the day. Hailed Patrick Pacheco in the New York Daily News: "Baker like you've never seen her before." The disc also features Josephine Baker: The Films.
R.O.D. The TV Series. Volume 7: The New World (2005).
"A very dynamic series with some interesting characters," says JHeneghan. "A good extension fo the R.O.D. OVA."