My Best Blu-Rays List for DVD Beaver, 2017 (the long version)

A much shorter version of this was just posted by DVD Beaver:

Top Blu-ray Releases of 2017:


1. Othello (Orson Welles, 1952) Criterion Collection

2.Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 2 (Limite — Mário Peixoto, Revenge — Ermek Shinarbaev, Insiang — Lino Brocka, Mysterious Object at Noon — Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Law of the Border — Lütfi Ö. Akad, Taipei Story — Edward Yang) — Criterion Collection

3. Vampir Cuadecuc (Pere Portabella, 1971)  UK Second Run Features

4. The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount (The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup) (1929-1933) RB Arrow UK

5. Anatahan (Josef von Sternberg, 1953) Kino

6. A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991) RB Criterion UK

7. Moses and Aaron (Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub, 1973) Grasshopper Film                                                                                                           

8. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948) Olive Signature

9. Lost in Paris (Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, 2016) Oscilloscope Pictures

10. A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971) Olive Signature

A major reason for listing Criterion’s Othello first is that it includes the digital premieres of not one and not two but three Orson Welles features: both of his edits of Othello available with his own soundtracks, heard for the first time in the U.S. in several decades, and Filming Othello, his last feature.

I’m sorry that I can’t vote for the ten best DVDs because I don’t and can’t keep track of which of these releases aren’t available on Blu-Ray (a requirement on DVD Beaver’s form). But I should at least acknowledge, belatedly, Facets’ invaluable Jean Rouch box set.

Other very worthy Blu-Ray or dual format releases, especially for their extras: Black Girl (Ousmane Sembène, 1966, Criterion), Notfilm (Ross Lipman, 2015, Milestone Films), L’argent (Robert Bresson, 1983, Criterion), La chinoise (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967, Kino), Red Line 7000 (Howard Hawks, 1965, Kino Lorber), Le Plaisir (Max Ophüls, 1952, Arrow UK), The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (Roy Rowland, 1953, Region FREE Indicator UK), The Taisho Trilogy (Limited Edition) (Zigeunerweisen, Kageroza, Yumeji) (Seijun Suzuki, 1980-1991, RB UK Arrow), La poison (Sacha Guitry, 1951, Criterion), L‘innocente  (Luchino Visconti, 1976, RB UK Cult Films), Ludwig (4-Disc Limited Edition) (Luchino Visconti, 1973) Arrow Video US), Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (Limited Edition) (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972-73, Arrow Academy UK), Avanti! (Billy Wilder, 1972, Kino Classics), and Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985, Criterion).


For me, the year’s two best extras were both on the L’argent Blu-Ray: Bresson’s own very short trailer and James Quandt’s lengthy and superb audiovisual essay about the film.

Mont 19

I was both stunned and stumped by the fact that on Arrow Video’s mainly excellent Blu-Ray of Jacques Becker’s 1958 Montparnasse 19, what was for me the single most notable fact about the film — Jean-Luc Godard’s singular and extraordinary review, in some ways the most remarkable and the most radical text he’s ever written — isn’t mentioned or referenced even once, on any of the several extras. Whether this absence indicates a serious deficiency in contemporary film culture or an equally serious obtuseness on my own part isn’t a question I feel qualified to address.[12/30/17]




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