Thursday, December 13, 2007

All I Want For Christmas

Everyone here at Out 1 loves Christmas because it is the #1 time of the year to get new DVDs. However, every year there are a lot of titles that we wish for that still haven't come out. These are our Christmas lists dedicated to them. The films that we love, or would love, if we were only given the chance to see/own them. Much like our Forgotten VHS Series, the standards for what is "available" is different for each writer, but these are certainly not the titles you expect to find at Blockbuster. These are our lists of the films that we want the most for Christmas that are (mostly) impossible to have as of now. Step one to ensuring that we get these titles ASAP is to purchase a multi-region DVD player, which is essential given the state of video distribution these days. Nevertheless, one with the lists. Add your own wish lists in the comments and happy holidays to all!

James Hansen’s Christmas List

1. Out 1 (Jacques Rivette, 1971)- I got to see the full thing at MOMI in New York and have been thinking about it ever since. It fully grasps Rivette’s conspiratorial, wandering “narratives” and defines his postmodern sensibilities. Hell, I named the damn website after it and the more Rivette I watch, the more he becomes one of my favorite filmmakers. (Be sure and check out the wonderful BFI Region 2 release of Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) which came out earlier this year otherwise it would be on this list as it is one of my favorite films) Out 1 is considered, with good reason, the cinephile’s holy grail, and this cinephile wants this film in his collection more than any other.

2. Khrustalyov, My Car! (Alexei Gherman, 1998)- Maybe it’s just that this was one of the “walk out champs” of Cannes and NYFF, which usually means that I will like it. Maybe it’s just that this is listed as one of J. Hoberman’s top films of 1998 and a special mention for best film of the 1990’s. Maybe it’s just that I don’t speak Russian so a Region 5 DVD with no subtitles will do me any good. Anyway you look at it, this needs a DVD release with English subtitles and I need that DVD.

3. From The Pole to the Equator (Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, 1987)- Filmed at the start of the 20th century in exotic locations, this is another film that I have only heard of because of its mention on Hoberman’s top 10 of the 1980’s. This is said to be a landmark in documentary film production with imagery that will haunt and fascinate the viewer. This may be an ambiguous choice since I don’t know much about it, but I would sure like to know more and see this in all of its glory.

4. 24 Hour Psycho (Douglas Gordon, 1993)- So maybe I wouldn’t watch the whole thing in one sitting, but this experimental film, slowing down Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho so that it lasts 24 hours, has to be absolutely fascinating. These kinds of reflections on memory, repetition, and sculpting of time are one of my greatest interests and this has to be the penultimate modern example.

5. *Corpus Callosum (Michael Snow, 2002)- Snow is one of the most important experimental artists in the last half of the 20th century creating the structuralist masterpiece Wavelength (1967), however this piece (supposedly) signals the experimental move into digital in the 21st century. The explosive imagery and Snow’s ever present discourse with modern society make this an essential work. Again, this could end up being heresay, but from all I have heard this has to be a great statement on the state of art and cinema making a digital transition.

Brandon Colvin’s Christmas List

1. The Trial of Joan of Arc (Robert Bresson, 1962) – I am a HUGE Bresson fan and this is one of his films that isn’t available anywhere. It follows the story of Joan of Arc, much like Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), which is one of my favorite films of all-time, but in a much different way. Bresson reportedly disliked Dreyer’s version and created his cinematic interpretation of Joan of Arc almost as a rebuttal to Dreyer’s monumentally great film. Allegedly, Criterion owns the rights to the film, which inspires great hope in my little cinephile heart.

2. Last Year At Marienbad (Alain Resnais, 1961) – This one of my favorite films of all time and it is in desperate need of a DVD release, considering the old DVD is out of print and runs for $125. Rumor has it that Criterion might release the film within the next couple of years. Last Year at Marienbad + a new, improved print + special features = a happy Brandon Colvin.

3. Made in USA (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966) – One of the many Godard films that are notably absent from anyone’s DVD or VHS collection, “Made in USA” is one of the final films in Godard’s “cinematic period” and is one of his brilliant color features. I wish I could see the master in action!

4. Face to Face (Ingmar Bergman, 1976) – There are so many Bergman films without a decent DVD release that it’s hard to find a place to begin. I’ve heard this one is especially great (check out Jeremy Richey’s piece on “Face to Face” at Moon in the Gutter – see links).

5. Chimes at Midnight a.k.a. Falstaff (Orson Welles, 1965) – This Shakespeare adaptation in one that I’ve been pining to see for quite some time. Welles claimed he felt this was one of his best films, along with The Trial (1962). Hopefully, it will get a release some time, but prospects look dim.

Jacob Shoaf’s Christmas List

1. Napoleon – I’ve heard great things about this film by Abel Gance. It was selected by the Vatican (cinephiles that they are) as one of the 15 most artistic films of all time alongside 2001, 8 ½, Citizen Kane, Metropolis, and The Leopard if that gives you any clue as to how awesome it probably is. I was about thirty seconds in when my VCR started making funny noises and so I spared my professor’s tape.

2. Nostalghia – I keep expecting Criterion to announce the release of this title any day now. I believe the rights to it initially belonged to Fox-Lorber (who also had the rights to Andrei Rublev before it was lovingly released by Criterion), and the original DVD is now out of print. This is one of the scant few Tarkvosky films that have eluded me. I have an .avi rip of it, but I consider it some kind of blasphemy to watch it that way. Someone please release this and save my cinematic soul.

3. The Phantom Carriage – I know nothing about this film, but the fact that it was one of Ingmar Bergman’s favorite films is more than enough to justify my seeing it. It was directed by Victor Sjöström (who later starred in Bergman’s Wild Strawberries). That is seriously all it should take to convince you to see this film if/when it gets released.

4. Santa Sangre - Alejandro Jodorowsky’s most recent mind-f*ck (Let’s be honest, The Rainbow Thief stars Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, and Christopher Lee. It’s probably not that crazy.) is the story of a boy who witnesses his father cutting off his cult-leading mother’s arms only to commit suicide. Years later, the boy “becomes” his mother’s missing limbs and havoc ensues. Roger Ebert rated this as his sixth favorite film of 1990, so that’s worth something. But can anyone really pass up a Jodorowsky amputee-fest?

5. Satantango – Arguably Bela Tarr’s masterpiece. This film is a massive, meandering Leviathan of Hungarian awesomeness. It follows the inhabitants of a small village as they are swindled by a mysterious man and his cohort. According to a Facet’s employee, they are waiting for Tarr to finish supervising the transfer and then it should be ready for production, but they don’t know when that will be. If you’ve got 7 ½ hours to kill, this is a great way to do so.


James Hansen said...

These were Jacob Shoaf's "stocking stuffers" that were edited out so that everyone had the same amount of films named. Stocking stuffers was a good idea...we'll all do those next time. Anyways, here are Jacob's:

Stocking stuffers (alphabetically): The Big Parade, Bigger Than Life, The Crowd, The Day the Clown Cried, Drawing Restraint 9, Gore-met Zombie Chef From Hell, Greed, Haunted-ween, I Was Born, But…, Moments Choisis des Histoire(s) du Cinema, My Dinner with Andre, A Page of Madness, Paisan, Pledge Night, Rosetta, The Wind, and Zero for Conduct

Nostalgia Kinky said...

If you do manage to secure a copy of OUT 1 can you get a copy to Brandon so he can hook me up. I am so wanting to finally see that film (it would be near the top of my list as well)

Brandon, I can get you a burn of MARIENDBAD to tide you over until the Criterion...I also have MADE IN USA and will make you a copy of that. I have several rare Godard titles. I'll have to get a list to you...

Brandon Colvin said...

That's awesome, Jeremy. I'll be sure to snag those next semester.

Also, I'd like to heartily second Jacob's desire for "Greed." That totally should have been on my list.

James Hansen said...


If I ever get anything of "Out 1" I'll be sure to pass it on. It's really something.

Also, Chimes at Midnight has a region 2 dvd (and they have it in Columbia's library!) Gotta get that region free player, Brandon! :)

I'm working on getting a rip of MADE IN THE USA...we'll see how good it looks. I also want to get my own copy of "Numero Deux" but VHS' of it run $40. I think I'll manage to never pay that much for a VHS again (unless it is of Out 1...)

Nostalgia Kinky said...

I can make Brandon a copy of that NUMERO DEUX tape for you so save your isn't great looking but it is watchable...I'll try to get that Godard list together and you guys can tell me what you need...

James Hansen said...

Awesome! Something is better than nothing...

I would offer something, but I don't have a DVD-recorder as of now (though my mom/stepdad do in KY) but last time I was home I made copies of Chantal Akerman's "D'est" and Terence Davies "The Long Day Closes." "D'est" looks pretty good, but "Long Day Closes" looks awful. I would redo it, but I don't know when I'll get there next.

If I come up with anything, I'll be sure to let everyone know.

Anonymous said...

One title that I seemed to have left out of my stocking stuffers has been announced as having a DVD release. As someone who's obsessed with David Lynch, it gives me great pleasure to share that his film Lost Highway will be available on DVD as of March 25, 2008 according to I know nothing of its features, but right now it's listed at a scant $14. So stock up! I shall bid farewell to my widescreen VHS copy: We'll always have Balthazar Getty.

w. said...

-johnny guitar, dir. ray
-voyage in italy, dir. rossellini
-last days of disco, dir. stillman
-la luna, dir. bertolucci
-zabriskie point, dir. antonioni

Anonymous said...

This is a list of mighty titles. I was just alerted of you work in a comment made on mine: I made my own wish list, focusing on special editions and box sets that should (and could) be. It's published at on GreenCine. No surprise there is a lot of overlap. My most passionate want is the Jacques Rivette's "Out 1," the complete, original cut. I was able to see the shorter "Out 1: Spectre," which I loved and saw twice, but not the original, longer cut.