DIRECTORS SUITE RELEASES OF 2009
With the Films Team
Every year we at Directors Suite release a bumper crop of delightful DVDs for the avid Aussie cinephile. While it is often difficult for us to choose a favourite (like with one’s offspring), there will inevitably be one release which is a little bit special, prompting us to coo with delight upon seeing it grow up: going off to the warehouse wearing its brand-new packaging to be ordered by an excited shop owner before finally sitting, all grown up, on the shelves of a video store just waiting for somebody to discover it. Here are the Films team’s favourite Directors Suite releases of 2009 – how many of them have you seen?
Yasujiro Ozu’s re-imagining of his own early silent film I WAS BORN BUT… is a sweet and cheeky lark uniting some of Ozu’s star favourites with brilliantly-cast child actors. OHAYO is a Tati-esque must-see!
9. THE EDGE OF HEAVEN
Fatih Akin’s meditation on the divide between cultures, generations and people was definitely one of the highlights of 2009: if you haven’t seen it, check it out. You won’t be sorry.
8. NIGHT AND THE CITY
Jules Dassin was forced to shoot NIGHT AND THE CITY in London after his formerly flirtation with Communism rattled McCarthy’s witch huntin’ government, but Dassin’s isolation and feeling of being out of his depth lent an atmospheric verisimilitude to the noir drama. Top notch drama, this.
7. A MAN ESCAPED
Robert Bresson’s near-silent masterpiece is testimony to the art of subtle thriller production. Proving how unnecessary Hollywood’s sound-and-visual-effects-driven dramatic thrillers really are, A MAN ESCAPED builds tension by examining the intricate details of one man’s escape from prison. So much so that despite the fact that the title is the world’s biggest spoiler, A MAN ESCAPED is edge-of-your seat exciting.
6. YOU, THE LIVING
Visually stunning and darkly humourous, YOU, THE LIVING is a crazy, deadpan series of vignettes about life – slices of humanity which simultaneously celebrate and revile what it is to be human. With a package of extras including an audio commentary by director Roy Andersson and a glance at his set design clips, this release gives further insight into the nutty Swede’s mind…
5. F FOR FAKE
Orson Welles was more than a celebrated actor and director. He was even more than the voice of Unicron in TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE. He was a prankster, a trickster: proficient in magic tricks and slight of hand, Welles here examines the art of trickery and forgery in an intricate, witty and entertaining documentary which may or may not ring true…
4. RW FASSBINDER: THE BRD TRILOGY
Fassbinder’s masterpiece THE BRD TRILOGY, comprised of THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, LOLA and VERONIKA VOSS, charts West Germany’s post-war economic miracle through the lives of three distinct women, all connected by the ambition and strength they each manage to muster in Germany’s darkest hour. A long-awaited addition to the Directors Suite catalogue.
3. THE RIVER
Not only is the cover of this Jean Renoir classic breathtakingly beautiful (big ups to our star graphic designer Michelle!) but it is also a nostalgic tribute to first love, a lovingly-rendered adaptation of Rumer Godden’s novel and a poem to Renoir’s spiritual home, India.
2. THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW
Douglas Sirk’s terrific melodrama about the romantic “what might have been” unites a compelling storyline with a flawless print and comprehensive extras package. And there’s a robot on the cover. Cute!
1. THE FILMS OF JEAN VIGO
The unanimous decision was made to award THE FILMS OF JEAN VIGO “Best Cover Art ‘09”, so congrats to our fab graphic designer George, but this release is so much more than the sum of its parts, or even the sum of its arts…Vigo died before the world could give him just kudos for his startling, luminous work, but with the release of this collection, Australia will no doubt begin to appreciate the filmmaker’s genius.