With Academy Award insanity upon us, it's a good week to catch up with several highly-acclaimed films that display the true independent spirit. Moolaadé was the last film completed by African master filmmaker Ousmane Sembene. Roger Ebert felt it was the best picture he saw at Cannes in 2004 and programmed it for his Overlooked Film Festival last year, where our own Kim Voynar caught a screening and said it was "perhaps one of of the most socially relevant films of the decade." The DVD from New Yorker Films was originally scheduled for release in December, but was delayed until this week. The two-disk edition includes a "making of" feature, a portrait of the filmmaker, interviews, a 16-page booklet, and more.

A very different type of music documentary, Kurt Cobain: About a Son, also premieres on DVD today, which makes me happy because I've heard so many good things about it but haven't had an opportunity to see it. A. J. Schnack constructed his film based on 25 hours of audio interviews with the late musician. You can read more about the release at Schnack's blog, All these wonderful things. The DVD from Shout! Factory includes selected scene commentary, a "making of" feature, and more from the Cobain interviews.


Barbet Schroeder may be better known for his narrative features (Reversal of Fortune, Barfly) but he's also a skilled documentarian (General Idi Amin Dada, Koko, a Talking Gorilla). His latest, Terror's Advocate, essays French lawyer Jacques Vergès, who has defended people of every stripe, from accused terrorists to Klaus Barbie. Look for the DVD from Magnolia; their web site doesn't have any information on additional features.