CATEGORIES Documentary, Independent, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Cinematical Indie, Features, DVDs, CinematicalAs I mentioned in an earlier post, this is a very busy week for notable indie films coming to DVD for the first time. For fans of documentaries, at least three titles deserve mention.
Kudos to distributor Halo-8 Entertainment for unleashing Frank Pavich's N.Y.H.C. The title refers to the mid-90s New York hardcore music scene; the film itself was originally released on an underground VHS tape in 1999. Digitally remastered, the doc looks smashing, and, even if you're not a fan of the music, it's a terrific, well-told, engaging story. Musicians and fans open up about mothers, drugs, death, lyrics (one fan says, "You can't understand what they're saying, but if [the singer is] saying what he's saying he's saying, it's pretty cool"), day jobs, piercing, tattoos, violence, and above all, a love of music.
The two-disk edition features plenty of supplemental material, including deleted scenes, bonus segments, director's commentary, complete live performances of songs by the seven bands highlighted in the film, and more than three hours of updated interviews, in which those involved with the scene talk about what's happened to them. The DVD is available directly from Halo-8.
I very much enjoyed Liz Mermin's most recent doc, Shot in Bombay (check out my SXSW review), so I'm looking forward to catching up with her previous film, Office Tigers, which explores American corporate culture in India. When it premiered at the Toronto film festival in 2006, Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun called it "an entertaining and surprisingly balanced critique of the perils of globalization and the incredibly seductive power of American popular culture." The DVD is available from Red Envelope Entertainment.
By dint of its subject matter alone, Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains should have been a better film. Filmmaker Jonathan Demme tags along on former US President Carter's book tour in the late fall of 2006 as the indefatigable Southern gentleman flogs his controversial best-seller, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Clocking in at 125 minutes, the doc becomes wearisome as Carter patiently explains over and over and over again why he chose such a charged title for his book and why Israel's dealings with Palestine deserve further debate. We get only a limited sense of Carter as a private citizen, which is somewhat understandable because he's seeking publicity for his book and the issues it raises.
Yet I couldn't help feeling that we were seeing Carter as politician, always putting the best foot forward, with every word out of his mouth carefully chosen. Still, he comes across as a warm, compassionate, and spiritually-minded man, well-versed on his subject. The DVD from Sony Classics includes an audio commentary by Demme, bonus scenes and a feature on the soundtrack recording sessions.