DVD - Round-up
‘What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding?’ Well apart from the fact that they are all non-existent man-made conceits, quite a lot, actually. Just ask Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose two most recent works Uzak and Climates, take a cold knife to the buddy movie and marital discord film genres respectively. These two works may have put Ceylan on the world cinema map but he has been making films for years. Nuri Bilge Ceylan: The Early Works (Artificial Eye, 4 Stars) pairs his 1999 film Kasaba, the story of life in a small Turkish town as seen through the eyes of children, and 1998’s Clouds of May, about a movie director who goes back to his hometown to make a movie using a cast of local people. Of the two, the latter is more fun but both are worth checking, as it is likely that this 48-year-old photographer and filmmaker may be declared one of the greats of his generation. This two-disc set also contains a behind the scenes featurette and a music video made by Ceylan.
If you fancy that, you may also be interested in The Andrei Tarkovsky Companion (Artificial Eye, 4 Stars) featuring three rarely seen films about the work of the great, visionary Russian director by brilliant filmmakers in their own right Chris Marker, Alexander Sokurov and Tonino Guerra. Or what about Four Films From Fellini (Nouveaux Pictures, 5 Stars) featuring four irrefutable masterpieces, I Vitelloni (1953), La Dolce Vita (1960), 8 1/2 (1963) and Guilietta degli Spiriti.
There’s a whole load of mad solos out this fortnight. If you are in the mood for ‘chonging and bonging’ before the weather lifts then there are some Cheech and Chong reissues of three of their better films Get out of My Room, Next Movie and Born in East LA (all 4 Front Video all, 3 Stars). Staying on the retro tip there’s also Gonks Go Beat! (Optimum, 3 Stars, pictured) a bizarre time capsule of a British sci-fi musical fantasy from 1965 starring Lulu And The Luvvers, The Nashville Teens and The Graham Bond Organisation. Mushrooms may be needed.
Finally, fans of James Joyce should rejoice in the long overdue DVD release of Joseph Strick’s 1967 adaptation of Ulysses (Optimum, 4 Stars). Strick’s film, adapted by US screenwriter Fred Haines, is far from perfect but it does catch the masturbatory vagabond spirit of the book and the fact that this film was banned in Ireland until 2000 due to the use of the word ‘fuck’ gives it extra caché. Next time I’ll be giving you the option of kneeling before the mighty John Pilger or going drag racing. Don’t give up.