Heal the Living, The Stranger, Their Finest | Fast Scans: Top Foreign & Indie Picks

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 2 discs. color. 162+/178+ min. Kino Lorber. 1966. DVD UPC 738329214678. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 738329214685. $29.99.

The definitive “spaghetti Western,” Sergio Leone’s stylish epic pits three greedy antiheroes (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef) against one another in a quest for buried gold. Ennio Morricone’s quirkily grandiloquent score shares top billing. Beautifully remastered and available in both its original European version and an extended cut with a few reconstructed scenes, this edition includes several audio commentaries, making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and more. While the dubbed dialog is obvious, this flawed but groundbreaking genre classic endures.

Heal the Living. color. 103+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Cohen Media Group. 2016. DVD UPC 741952838296. $25.99; Blu-ray UPC 741952838395. $30.99.

A 19-year-old boy left brain dead by a car crash has his parents agonizing over removing life support and then donating his organs. The heart recipient is a short-of-breath middle-aged woman whose own is inexorably degenerating. Doctors on each side of the surgery do their part to ensure the transfer of precious, life-giving property. Katell Quillévéré’s triptych of interconnected stories sublimely captures the emotional material with, as she succinctly puts it in a supplemental interview, “no exaggerated pathos”—no mean feat in a heartfelt tale in which the beat goes on.

The Piano Teacher. 2 discs. 130+ min. Criterion Collection. 2001. DVD ISBN 9781681433561. $29.95; 1-disc Blu-ray ISBN 9781681433554. $39.95.

A coldly demanding middle-aged piano teacher (Isabelle Huppert), who still lives with her domineering mother, only finds pleasure in voyeurism until she embarks on a sadomasochistic affair with a handsome student. Michael Haneke (Cache; The White Ribbon) directs with detached precision, exploring how control functions in relationships—both familial and romantic—in this challenging film. As she proved yet again with last year’s Elle, Huppert is never undeterred by controversial roles—carefully striking the difficult notes in this newly restored, high-def ­presentation. [See Trailers, LJ 8/17.]

The Stranger. b/w. 95+ min. Olive Films. 1946. DVD UPC 887090136716. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 887090136815. $29.99.

After the artistic success of Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles set out to show he could make a commercial film by directing himself as a Nazi official taking refuge as a small-town prep school professor, trailed by a war-crimes investigator (Edward G. Robinson) out to bring him to justice. Suspenseful, if a tad melodramatic, this archetypal thriller proves the third time is the charm for this latest high-def release. Sourced from a preprint element superior to the rather worn-out prints scanned for two prior discs makes this a highly ­welcome Stranger.

Their Finest. color. 117+ min. Lionsgate. 2016. DVD UPC 031398265948. $19.99; Blu- ray UPC 031398265979. $24.99. Rated: R.

With German bombers blitzing London, a plucky female screenwriter (Gemma Arterton) in a male-dominated British Ministry of Information film production fights to tell the story of two sisters who rescued evacuating soldiers at Dunkirk. With its film-within-a-film ode to old-school moviemaking, growing love story, and send-up of vainglorious actors (Bill Nighy is priceless), Lone Scherfig’s (An Education) dramedy celebrates the role of patriotic movies in wartime morale building; an inspirational picture for modern-day cynics.

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