Top Foreign & Indie Picks | Fast Scans

Café de Flore. color. 2 hrs. In French w/English subtitles. Adopt Films, dist. by Kino Lorber. 2011. DVD UPC 748252866400. $29.95.

A single mother in late-Sixties Paris with a seven-year-old son who has Down syndrome and a club DJ in present-day Montreal whose ex-wife still loves him despite his live-in girlfriend share a metaphysical connection in Jean-Marc Vallée’s dazzling drama. Vanessa Paradis costars with a lesser-known but talented cast in this expressionistic meditation on obsessive love that freely moves back and forth in place and time. Ambitious almost to a fault, Café offers sustenance for viewers hungry for more than cookie-cutter film fare.

martinscorsesesworld033114Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project. 9 discs. color & b/w. 590+ min. w/English subtitles. Criterion Collection. 1936–73. DVD/Blu-ray ISBN 9781604658026. $124.95.

Six feature films—five dramas and one documentary—from Turkey (Dry Summer), Morocco (Trances), Senegal (Touki bouki), South Korea (The Housemaid), Bangladesh/India (A River Called Titas), and Mexico (Redes) comprise director and preservationist Scorsese’s effort to ensure restored versions of seldom seen but important films from diverse cultures. Full of extras (including introductions, interviews, and essays), this set may appeal even to marginal foreign-film buffs thanks to Scorsese’s imprimatur.

La Notte. b/w. 122+ min. In Italian w/English subtitles. Criterion Collection. 1961. DVD ISBN 9781604657562. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604657555. $39.95.

Michelangelo Antonioni (1912–2007) was a pivotal figure in international cinema whose English-language hit Blow Up (1962) piqued the intellect while remaining widely accessible. This second of his “alienation trilogy”—between L’avventura and L’eclisse—stars Marcello Mastroianni as a bored novelist drawn to an attractive signorina (Monica Vitti) in lieu of his disaffected wife (Jeanne Moreau). Serious film fans will welcome its arm’s-length examination of barren love; others will find their cure for insomnia. [See Trailers, LJ 9/1/13.]

Thanks for Sharing. color. 113+ min. Lionsgate. 2012. DVD UPC 031398181989. $19.98; Blu-ray UPC 031398182023. $24.99. Rated: R.

In his directorial debut, Stuart Blumberg, who made a splash with his script for The Kids Are All Right in 2010, proves adept behind the lens as well. Focusing on several sex addicts (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, and rock star Pink) in a treatment program, coscreenwriter Blumberg excels at creating sympathetic characters struggling with a problem easily susceptible to ridicule in a refreshingly seriocomic manner. Gwyneth Paltrow stands out as the budding girlfriend of an addict who is taking things one step at a time. [See Trailers, LJ 12/13.]

Una Noche. color. 91+ min. In Spanish w/English subtitles. Sundance Selects, dist. by MPI Media Group. 2012. DVD ISBN 9780788617447. $24.98.

Desperate to escape the slums of Havana, three teens—Elio; his twin sister, Lila; and friend Raul—scrape together the materials for a crude raft to make the 90-mile journey to Miami. Based on a real event, Lucy Mulloy’s feature-film debut gets the most from its nonprofessional performers, the energized direction making palpable their anxious characters’ plight. An opening credit “Spike Lee presents” offers the veteran director’s stamp of approval. While lending realism, a few brief sex scenes are a bit raw—the only proviso here.


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