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Second Run

Second Run films encompass many genres and languages; what distinguishes them is their quality and their ethos. They are niche-market films which we hope anyone who seriously cares about cinema would want in their collection – but which, crucially, have never before been available anywhere in the world physically; and now are, additionally, being presented with newly-translated English subtitles. We’re offering all these titles and many more at £7 on DVD and £10 on Blu-ray. Offer ends 27th March.

Black Peter


Director  Miloš Forman
Written by  Jaroslav Papoušek · Miloš Forman
Starring  Ladislav Jakim · Pavla  Martínková-Novotná · Jan Vostrčil 
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from a brand new 4K restoration of the film, Second Run presents the stunning debut feature film of the late, great Czech filmmaker Miloš Forman (A Blonde in Love, The Fireman’s Ball, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus). A wry and provocative comedy set in 1960s Czechoslovakia, Black Peter explores the passions and confusions of teenage life. Peter is tentatively taking his first steps into the adult world; he has a new job and a new focus for his burgeoning erotic fantasies – provoking conflict with the older generation. This key work of Forman’s emerging vital talent brought to the screen something that Czechoslovak filmgoers weren’t used to: an authentic testimony about the lives of young people. With a cast of mainly non-professional actors, Black Peter conjures up a naturalistic and witty portrait of everyday life under totalitarianism. Full of charming performances, youthful spontaneity and a rock’n’roll soundtrack, Black Peter helped launch the internationally acclaimed Czechoslovak New Wave. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD formats, Black Peter includes all-new special features including part one of an archival film-by-film interview with Miloš Forman, newly edited for this release with never-before-seen footage; audio commentary by film historian Michael Brooke, a filmed interview with actor Pavla Martínková and a booklet with new essay on the film by Jonathan Owen.

Blissfully Yours


Director  Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Written by  Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Starring  Kanokporn Tongaram · Min Oo · Jenjira Jansuda
Language(s) Thai · Burmese  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD
Innovative and enigmatic, Blissfully Yours is a languid celebration of the pleasures of the moment. In Apichatpong’s heady, sensual and playful film, a leisurely road trip and a picnic in the jungle give way to uninhibited emotion and eroticism. A meditation on happiness, superstition, politics and sexuality, nothing really happens except that it happens with a purpose. Blissfully Yours confirms the reputation of one of the most distinctive new filmmakers in world cinema.

A Blonde in Love


Director  Miloš Forman
Written by  Jaroslav Papousěk · Ivan Passer · Miloš Forman
Starring  Hana Brejchová · Vladimír Pucholt · Vladimír Menšík
Language(s) Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Available for the first time anywhere on Blu-ray, and presented from the stunning new 4K restoration which premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, A Blonde in Love is a subtle and beautifully observed social satire that deftly balances hope and despair, and is widely celebrated as one of the great films of the 1960s. This bittersweet romance from Miloš Forman, the multiple Oscar-winning director of Black Peter, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, unfolds as a sweetly seductive film but also provides a wry critique of life under totalitarianism. Aided by Miroslav Ondříček’s sublime camerawork, and naturalistic performances, the film adeptly distils universal truths from the simplest of situations, presenting them with a sharp yet compassionate eye. Our region-free Blu-ray Special Edition also features Life As It Is Part the second part of an archival film-by-film interview with Forman, an original Projection Booth commentary recorded especially for this release with Mike White, Samm Deighan and Kevin Heffernan, a 24-page booklet featuring an essay on the film by film historian Michael Brooke.. and more!

A Case for a Rookie Hangman


Director  Pavel Juráček
Written by  Pavel Juráček
Starring  Lubomír Kostelka · Pavel Landovský · Klára Jerneková
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Pavel Juráček’s free-form and darkly surreal adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels also channels Lewis Carroll and Franz Kafka to create one of Czechoslovak cinema’s most audacious and disturbing works. Lost on a country road, a man finds himself trapped in a nightmare world that mirrors Communist-era Czechoslovakia. This transgressive film, like his earlier surrealist triumph Josef Kilián (1963), greatly provoked the authorities and was promptly ‘banned forever’. Jurácek, who earlier co-wrote Czech masterworks like Věra Chytilová experimental Daisies, Jindřich Polák’s pioneering sci-fi epic Ikarie XB 1 and Karel Zeman’s historical fantasy A Jester’s Tale, was never allowed to direct another film – but his legacy and his commitment to poetic and political truth, remains one of the most profound, invigorating and important in all Czech cinema. Presented from a stunning new 4K restoration, our region-free Blu-ray and DVD editions also feature a new 4K restoration Juráček and Jan Schmidt’s renowned Josef Kilián (Postava k podpírání), two additional short films, a 24-page booklet featuring a new essay by film historian Michael Brooke… and more!

Daisies


Director  Věra Chytilová
Written by  Ester Krumbachová · Věra Chytilová
Starring  Jitka Cerhová · Ivana Karbanová · Julius Albert
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from new HD materials, Second Run presents a special Blu-ray edition of one of its most enduringly popular titles – the glorious Daisies. Věra Chytilová’s classic of surrealist cinema is the most adventurous and anarchic Czech movie of the 1960s. Two young women, both named Marie, revolt against a degenerate, decayed and oppressive society, attacking symbols of wealth and bourgeois culture. A riotous, punk-poem of a film that is both hilarious and mind-warpingly innovative, it has influenced generations of filmmakers. Defiant feminist statement? Nihilistic, avant-garde comedy? Daisies remains a fascinating cinematic rollercoaster. Remarkable and refreshingly uncompromising, it continues to provoke, stimulate and entertain. Presented from a new HD transfer this region-free Blu-ray special edition includes Jasmina Blaževič’s acclaimed documentary film portrait of Věra Chytilová, Journey (Cesta) and audio commentaries by Peter Hames and Daniel Bird, and by Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan.

Diamonds of the Night


Director  Jan Němec
Written by  Arnošt Lustig · Jan Němec
Starring  Ladislav Janský · Antonín Kumbera · Ilse Bischofová
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from new 4K remaster, Second Run present Jan Němec’s masterful and harrowing Diamonds of the Night. Němec’s debut feature is one of the most thrilling and startlingly original works of cinema. Told almost without dialogue, it chronicles the tense and desperate journey of two teenage boys who are trying to stay alive after escaping from a German train bound for a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Adapted from ‘Darkness Casts No Shadow’ by Arnošt Lustig, Diamonds of the Night is one of the earliest key early works of the Czechoslovak New Wave. This stunning new 4K restoration premiered in the at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and Second Run are delighted to present the film in its new restoration for the first time anywhere on Blu-ray. This region-free Blu-ray special edition includes the world Blu-ray premiere Jan Němec’s acclaimed debut short film A Loaf of Bread (Sousto, 1960), a new audio commentary by film historian Michael Brooke, and interviews with Eva Lustigová, daughter of author Arnošt Lustig, and Czech cinema expert Peter Hames.

Distant Journey


Director  Alfréd Radok
Written by  Mojmír Drvota · Erik Kolár · Alfréd Radok
Starring  Blanka Waleská · Otomar Krejča · Zdeňka Baldová
Language(s)  Czech · German  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from a new 4K restoration which premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, Second Run are honoured to release for the first time in the UK Alfréd Radok’s remarkable and powerful contemplation of evil, Distant Journey. Made in 1948, just a few short years after the atrocities it strives to process, Distant Journey is one of the first feature films to address the Holocaust, and was the debut film from the controversial avant-garde visionary of Czech theatre, Alfréd Radok. Set in the Terezín ghetto as deportations to Nazi extermination camps escalate, Radok’s film interweaves the love story of a young Jewish doctor forcibly separated from her Gentile husband, and harrowing documentary footage. With striking, expressionist imagery, Distant Journey presents a harrowing account of the Nazi horrors of the recent past and remains a stark, still-relevant warning from history. Presented from a stunning new 4K restoration, our region-free Blu-ray and DVD editions also feature new remasters of Radok’s celebrated short film The Opening of the Wells (Otvírání studánek), his ‘Laterna magica’ film of the great Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů’s famous cantata of the same and inspired by a poem of Miloslav Bureš; and Butterflies Don’t Live Here (Motýli tady nežijí), a documentary film by Miro Bernat about the children of the Terezín ghetto – plus an all-new Projection Booth commentary by Mike White, Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan, and a booklet featuring new writing by film historian Jonathan Owen.

 

Electra, My Love


Director  Miklós Jancsó
Written by  László Gyurkó · Gyula Hernádi
Starring  Mari Törőcsik · György Cserhalmi · József Madaras
Language(s)  Hungarian  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Revolutionary in form as well as content, Electra, My Love is one of the great Miklós Jancsó’s finest works. Shot in twelve beautiful, intricately choreographed long takes by cinematographer János Kende, and expressing political ideas that were forbidden in 1970s Hungary, it is a searing exposé of oppression and the abuse of power. Jancsó here radically reworks the ancient Greek myth as Electra (seeking revenge for the murder of her father, the former king) attempts to rouse a cowardly and apathetic population against the rule of usurper tyrant Aegisthus. Jancsó’s film examines issues of law, justice and power; the deliberate distortion of myth and reality reflects the horror that Hungary endured through the twentieth century. A provocative call to arms against any system that rules without justice, this film continues to resonate powerfully today. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD formats, Electra, My Love is presented from the brand new 2K restoration of the film by the Hungarian Digital Archive and Film Institute, supervised by the film’s cinematographer János Kende, with special features including the featurette ‘The Evolution of the Long Take’ with János Kende in conversation, and a booklet featuring an essay by Hungarian cinema specialist Peter Hames.

The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On


Director  Kazuo Hara
Starring   Kenzo Okuzaki · Riichi Aikawa · Masaichi Hamaguchi
Language(s)  Japanese  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from a new director-approved HD remaster, Second Run present one of the most renowned, ground-breaking and inspirational documentaries of the past half-century. Conceived by Shôhei Imamura, Kazuo Hara’s infamous and audacious documentary follows Kenzo Okuzaki, an ageing Japanese WW2 veteran, on a mission to uncover the truth about atrocities committed as the war in the Pacific reached its bloody end. Ultimately, Okuzaki blames Japan’s Emperor Hirohito himself for these barbarities, and his obsessive pursuit of those he deems responsible soon escalates. Willing to confront the taboos of Japanese society in his fanatical quest for justice, Okuzaki is driven to unsettling acts of violence.
Harrowing and extraordinarily powerful, Hara’s film forces us to face the disturbing realities of war and, crucially, to question the complicity between filmmaker, subject and audience. Our region-free Blu-ray and DVD editions also features a new interview with director Kazuo Hara, shot by the filmmaker especially for this release; the 2018 Open City Documentary Film Festival Masterclass with Hara and a booklet featuring writing by film historians Tony Rayns, Jason Wood and Abé Mark Nornes.

The Fabulous Baron Munchausen


Director  Karel Zeman
Written by  Karel Zeman · Josef Kainar · Jiří Brdečka
Starring  Miloš Kopecký · Jana Brejchová · Rudolf Jelínek
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Often described as the ‘Czech Méliès’, visionary filmmaker Karel Zeman is treasured by generations of filmmakers worldwide, from Jan Švankmajer to Tim Burton, the Quay Brothers to Terry Gilliam, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Wes Anderson. His ground-breaking innovations in the use of live-action and animation mark him as one of the great masters of 20th Century fantasy cinema, ranking alongside his more celebrated Western counterparts Willis O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen. The Fabulous Baron Munchausen is perhaps Zeman’s most beloved achievement. Zeman’s wildly inventive and comic take on the surreal adventures of the bragging Baron explodes on to the screen in a riot of colour, visual wit and poetic verve. A celebration of human imagination, The Fabulous Baron Munchausen has become widely recognised as a classic – a timeless work that continues to astonish. Presented from a new 4K restoration of the film, our release includes a new and expansive filmed appreciation by writer, editor and film historian Michael Brooke, a wealth of additional special features and a new essay on the film by journalist and critic Graham Williamson. The Blu-ray edition also includes Tomáš Hodan’s acclaimed
feature-length documentary Film Adventurer Karel Zeman.

Ikarie XB-1


Director  Jindřich Polák
Written by  Jindřich Polák · Pavel Juráček
Starring  Zdeněk Štěpánek · Radovan Lukavský · Dana Medřická
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from the new 4K restoration of the film which premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Second Run are delighted to present a new Blu-ray Special Edition of Jindřich Polák’s seminal work of fantasy cinema: Ikarie XB 1. Polák’s pioneering and much-imitated feature Ikarie XB 1 is one of the cornerstones of contemporary science fiction cinema. It predates Star Trek and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and was clearly a pronounced influence on both – and on countless other sci-fi films and TV shows that followed. Adapted from Stanisław Lem’s novel The Magellanic Cloud, the film is set in 2163 and follows a mission deep into space in search of alien life. During their perilous journey the crew confront the effects of a malignant dark star, the destructive legacy of the 20th century and, ultimately, the limits of their own sanity. With outstanding design and cinematography, and a superb score by Zdeněk Liška, Ikarie XB 1 is imbued with a seriousness, intelligence and attention to detail rarely seen in science-fiction cinema of the period. This region-free Blu-ray special edition includes Josef Kořán’s 1963 short film The Most Ordinary of Occupations, a filmed appreciation by Kim Newman, the opening credits and end-sequence from the alternative, dubbed US version Voyage to the End of the Universe, and booklet with an essay on the film by historian Michael Brooke.

Invention for Destruction


Director  Karel Zeman
Written by  Karel Zeman · František Hrubín
Starring  Lubor Tokoš · Arnošt Navrátil · František Šlégr
Language(s)  Czech · English   Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from a new 4K restoration of the film, Second Run are delighted to follow their hugely popular release of the visionary Czech animator and filmmaker Karel Zeman’s The Fabulous Baron Munchausen, with his most famous work – Invention for Destruction. Described as the ‘Czech Méliès’, Karel Zeman has been a profound influence on generations of filmmakers. His innovations in the use of live-action and animation mark him as one of the great masters of 20th Century fantasy cinema, alongside his Western counterparts Willis O’Brien, George Pal and Ray Harryhausen. Invention for Destruction, based on the writings of Jules Verne, is Zeman’s most beloved work and is still the most commercially successful Czech film ever produced (it was released internationally to huge success in 1960, dubbed into English and retitled ‘The Fabulous World of Jules Verne’). Wildly inventive, and breaking new ground in its combination of live-action, animation and design, creating a ‘steampunk’ aesthetic decades ahead of its time. Zeman’s film is both a heartfelt homage and love letter to Jules Verne’s wonderful tales of science and adventure, and a valiant cry against man’s propensity for self-destruction. Our region-free Blu-ray and DVD editions includes the alternative English-dubbed version of the film as ‘The Fabulous World of Jules Verne’ with alternate credits and opening introduction sequence, a new filmed appreciation by filmmaker John Stevenson, new and vintage featurettes and (exclusive to the Blu-ray edition) two of Zeman’ exquisite short films – Inspiration (1949) and King Lavra (1950)… and more!

Journey to the Beginning of Time


Director  Karel Zeman
Written by  Karel Zeman · J.A. Novotný
Starring  Vladimír Bejval · Petr Herrmann · Josef Lukáš
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Presented from a glorious new 4K restoration, Second Run are delighted to follow their hugely popular releases of The Fabulous Baron Munchausen and Invention for Destruction by the visionary Czech animator and filmmaker Karel Zeman, with his groundbreaking work of fantasy: Journey to the Beginning of Time. A joyous adventure that celebrates science and nature, Journey to the Beginning of Time sends four schoolboys on an epic and perilous voyage through prehistory encountering mammoths, monsters and dinosaurs along the way. Using a variety of innovative techniques (cel animation, stop-motion, puppetry and animatronics) Zeman evokes worlds of wonder and discovery to produce his most beguiling and magical work. Described as the ‘Czech Méliès’, Zeman has been a profound influence on generations of film artists from Jan Švankmajer to Tim Burton, the Quay Brothers to Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson. His innovations in the use of live-action and animation mark him as one of the great masters of 20th Century fantasy cinema, alongside his more celebrated Western counterparts Willis O’Brien, George Pal and Ray Harryhausen. Presented from a stunning new 4K restoration, our region-free Blu-ray and DVD editions also features a new filmed introduction by filmmaker and animator John Stevenson, a reconstruction of the feature-length English dubbed US release version of the film with alternate opening and closing scenes, a ‘Making of’ documentary and a booklet featuring new writing by film historian Michael Brooke… and more!

 

The Miraculous Virgin


Director  Štefan Uher
Written by  Dominik Tatarka
Starring  Jolanta Umecka · Ladislav Mrkvička · Otakar Janda
Language(s)  Slovak  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Surrealism was arguably the most important artistic movement of the 20th century in Slovakia as it challenged both cultural and political establishments. From The Sun in a Net director Štefan Uher, The Miraculous Virgin is an exquisite, surreal, mystery drama set in the art scene of the 1960s became one of Slovak cinema’s most admired and controversial works. Centring on the ‘dream’ figure of Anabella (Knife in the Water’s Jolanta Umecka) who casts her spell on a group of young artists, and the film, through its embracing of fantasy and imagination, becomes a provocation to those only concerned with the material world. Available on region-free Blu-Ray and DVD, The Miraculous Virgin also includes Štefan Uher’s breathtaking 1959 short film Marked by Darkness (Poznačení tmou), plus ‘The Story of The Miraculous Virgin’, an all new documentary on the film, the talents behind it and its legacy, produced by the Slovak Film Institute; archival promotional documentary ‘ Looking for Anabella’ on the search for the titular lead, and a 16-page booklet with new essay on the film by Michal Michalovič.

My 20th Century


Director  Ildikó Enyedi
Written by  Ildikó Enyedi
Starring  Dorotha Segda · Oleg Jankovsky · Paulus Manker
Language(s)  Hungarian · German  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
From Ildikó Enyedi (whose latest film On Body and Soul scooped four major prizes – including the Golden Bear – at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival) this magical film spins a tale of twin girls, Dóra and Lili, born in Budapest at the very moment that Edison’s wondrous electric light-bulb is unveiled to the world. Separated in childhood, the sisters’ lives follow radically different paths: one grows up to a naïvely idealistic, bomb-toting anarchist, the other a pampered, hedonistic courtesan – until they meet once again on the Orient Express on New Year’s Eve 1899… This dazzling film portrays the birth of modernism, a daring world of revolutionary ideas and inventions that promised enchantment and inspired wonder. Shot in luminous monochrome by cinematographer Tibor Máthé, the film echoes the magic and exuberance of early cinema. Celebrating the enthralling technological marvels as well as the political and sexual upheavals of the time, this film reclaims the birth of the twentieth century as a miraculous moment to be alive. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD formats, My 20th Century is presented from the brand new High Definition remaster of the film by the Hungarian Digital Archive and Film Institute, supervised by director of photography Tibor Máthé and director Ildikó Enyedi, with special features including an all new interview with the director conducted exclusively for this release by filmmaker Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio; The Duke of Burgundy), and a booklet featuring an essay by author and academic Jonathan Owen.

Mysterious Object At Noon


Director  Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Starring  Somsri Pinyopol · Duangjai Hiransri · Kannikar Narong
Language(s)  Thai  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Winner of the 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or, Thai artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul is recognised as one of contemporary cinema’s most unique voices. Mysterious Object at Noon is his hallucinatory debut feature, an extraordinary mix of experimental documentary and fiction that wends its way through the landscapes and mindscapes of rural Thailand. The film is structured as a surrealist game; a small film-crew travel the Thai countryside asking people they encounter along the way to invent the next chapter of a story. The daisy-chain structure of interlocking vignettes – alternately fantastical, comic and workaday – bridge documentary realism and the avant-garde, resulting in a boldly original debut that looks and feels like nothing else. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD formats – Mysterious Object at Noon is presented from a new 2K restoration of the film by the Austrian Film Museum and Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation and also includes Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s short film Nimit, plus an exclusive new filmed interview with the director, and a booklet featuring a new essay on the film by Tony Rayns.

 

Neon Bull


Director  Gabriel Mascaro
Written by  Gabriel Mascaro
Starring  Juliano Cazarré · Alyne Santana · Maeve Jinkings
Language(s)  Portuguese  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Gabriel Mascaro’s sensual, subversive Neon Bull unfolds within the macho world of traditional Brazilian rodeo, the vaquejada. Iremar is one of a motley gang of bull wranglers who travel from rodeo to rodeo, living an arduous itinerant life on the fringes of society. But each aspires to a better future and, after-hours, Iremar strives to fulfil his dream of becoming a fashion designer. Balancing provocative realism with improvisational drama, Neon Bull is a celebration of its characters and their everyday lives as well as their obstinate capacity to dream. Filmed in mesmerizing, hypnotic visuals, it explores the lives of its protagonists with fierce, funny, sweaty intimacy, lyrically subverting its macho domain. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD formats, Neon Bull is presented from the brand new HD transfer of the film, with special features including an extended ‘Making of’ featurette and director Gabriel Mascaro in conversation at the Film fra Sør festival in Norway, plus a booklet featuring a previously unpublished interview with the director by David Jenkins.

The Shop on the High Street


Director  Ján Kadár · Elmar Klos
Written by  Ladislav Grosman · Ján Kadár · Elmar Klos
Starring Ida Kamińska · Jozef Kroner  · František Zvarík
Language(s)  Slovak · Yiddish  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature in 1965, Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos’ The Shop on the High Street (aka The Shop on Main Street) is one of the cornerstones of World Cinema, and perhaps the most internationally renowned film in all Czechoslovak cinema. ‘Tóno’ Brtko, a poor carpenter, is appointed by his despised Nazi brother-in-law to be ‘Aryan controller’ of an old Jewish widow’s sewing shop in a Nazi-occupied Slovakia in 1942. The widow, Rozalia (Yiddish theatre legend Ida Kamińska, nominated here for a Best Actress Oscar® for her performance) is near deaf, isolated and partially sighted, barely even aware of the war or able to comprehend the danger in which she lives. Believing Tóno is simply her new assistant, the two develop a friendship that sees him maintaining that fiction as he attempts to protect her from the encroaching Nazi horror. The Shop on the High Street is a complex tale of common lives disturbed and destroyed by war. Wonderfully written and performed, and with an extraordinary Zdenek Liška score, the film becomes a devastating examination of how minor compromises can finally lead to complicity in the horrors of tyranny. Available on both Blu-Ray and DVD formats, The Shop on the High Street is presented from a new High Definition transfer prepared by the Czech National Film Archive.

Tropical Malady


Director  Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Written by  Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Starring  Banlop Lomnoi · Sakda Gaewbuadee · Huai Deesom
Language(s)  Thai  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD
Like Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s other films, Tropical Malady is a mechanism to channel thoughts and feelings that are hard to express in words – which means that trying to write about it is at best reckless and at worst stupid. As mechanisms go, it’s beautiful and seductive, and has many working parts. But we shouldn’t forget that the name of Khun Apichatpong’s production company is “Kick the Machine”. Let’s start with the mystery of the title – or rather the titles, since there are several. The main Thai title is Sud Pralad, which means “Strange Creature” or “Monster”. It could fit the kind of horror movie that the Thai film industry used to produce in bulk in its heyday; the revived Thai film industry of the last decade has brought the genre back, so there are plenty of ‘monsters’ on Thai screens these days. The main English title, at least when you first hear it, has a hint of kitsch. Who sang the original “Tropical Melody”? Was it Maria Montez? Carmen Miranda? Dorothy Lamour? Whoever it may have been, there’s a touch of Myra Breckinridge in Apichatpong’s punning evocation of half forgotten Hollywood exotica. On the other hand, “Malady” has a faintly sinister ring to it. A malady is something that demands a cure, and both of Apichatpong’s parents were doctors. But Tropical Malady is two films in one, and the second film opens with its own title and main cast credits. The second Thai title is Winyan, which means “Spirit”; the English title given in the subtitles is A Spirit’s Path. From strange creatures to something less tangible. Does this imply a distinction between body and spirit, between real and surreal, or between physical and metaphysical? Well, yes, all of the above, not to mention a distinction between stories as told and stories as they resonate in the mind. Apichatpong has a very pronounced interest in dualities.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders


Director  Jaromil Jireš
Written by  Jaromil Jireš · Ester Krumbachová
Starring  Jaroslava Schallerová · Helena Anyžová · Petr Kopřiva
Language(s)  Czech  Subtitles  English
Format  DVD and Blu-ray
With its stunning visuals and transcendent score by the great Luboš Fišer, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a potent mix of fairy tale, horror and surrealism, drawing the audience into the fantastical world inhabited by a young girl on the threshold of adulthood. Caught between waking and dreaming, Valerie’s enchanted realm is inhabited by vampires and phantasmagorical creatures evoked in a marvellous kaleidoscope of intoxicating imagery. Haunting and poetic, Jaromil Jireš’ audacious film casts a powerful spell. Recognised as one of the most enduring and influential fantasies ever made, it has become a cult classic. Our region-free Blu-ray Special Edition features two expert audio commentaries (an all-new discussion of the film from The Projection Booth and featuring Mike White, Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan; the other with Peter Hames and Daniel Bird), a filmed introduction by Michael Brooke, and an interview with ‘Valerie’ herself, Jaroslava Schallerová. Our edition also includes three acclaimed short films by Jaromil Jireš: – Uncle (Strejda, 1959); the complete 21-minute version of Footprints (Stopy, 1960) – previously only available in a truncated form; and The Hall of Lost Footsteps (Sál ztracených kroků, 1960) with original colour sequences missing from previous releases – plus a 24-page booklet featuring writing on the film by Peter Hames and Joseph A Gervasi.

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