CATEGORIES Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, IFC, New on DVD, Cinematical Indie, DVDs, CinematicalMy pick of new indies out on DVD this week (July 10) is Japanese filmmaker Shunji Iwai's Hana and Alice. The bare bones of the plot are bare indeed: two teenage girls who have been lifelong friends find a boy coming between them. As with all such adolescent dramas, though, it's the characters that separate the wheat from the chaff. I can't put it better than this review by luna6: "This film is packed with moments that will stay permanently etched in your mind." True enough; it's been three years since I've seen it and I can still recall the gorgeous visuals and the warm, very recognizably human interplay, both dramatic and humorous, between the three teens coming of age. Look for the DVD from Homevision.
Another notable release this week is Danish director Susanne Bier's After the Wedding, about a man coming to grips with family issues after an unexpected invitation to a wedding. Cinematical's Jeffrey M. Anderson called it "fairly middlebrow and melodramatic," though he had kind words for the "unique and charismatic star Mads Mikkelsen." (Jeffrey really nailed down why this extraordinary actor is so good.) Other critics rated the film much higher; Rotten Tomatoes certified reviews as 86% positive. IFC is the distributor.
When Robinson Devor's Police Beat played at the Seattle film festival in 2005, Cinematical's Kim Voynar wrote that it "isn't your typical cop movie, not by a long shot. There are no prolonged gun battles, no drawn out car chases ... It's a story about lovesickness, and jealousy .. played out, almost distantly and distractedly, amidst a cacophony of crime scenes." Kim's conclusion? "Judging Police Beat on its own merits, though, I have to say that overall I enjoyed the film. I like it when a director has the chutzpah to try something different." Devor went on to make the controversial documentary Zoo. Police Beat hits DVD this week, courtesy of Homevision.