Hayek/Lithgow, Artist Lynch, Forster’s Maurice, French Animation, Drama | Fast Scans: Top Foreign & Indie Picks

Beatriz at Dinner. 82+ min. Lionsgate. 2017. DVD UPC 031398268642. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 031398269496. $24.99. Rated: R.

Massage therapist and holistic healer Beatriz (Salma Hayek), a Mexican immigrant living in Los Angeles, is invited to stay for an intimate dinner party after kneading the host (Connie Britton)—a longtime client living in a distant gated community—when her car fails to start. Sparks start to fly when Beatriz engages with a ruthless real-estate magnate (John Lithgow) whose laid-back arrogance rubs her the wrong way. Miguel Arleta’s (Chuck and Buck) biting satire of the privileged class is not very subtle, and the ending is a bit problematic, but it works despite a few kinks.

David Lynch: The Art Life. 88+ min. Criterion Collection. 2016. DVD ISBN 9781681433608. $19.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781681433592. $29.95.

Putting paint (and the sundry object d’art) on canvas—not making movies—is the subject of this fascinating documentary by three directors (Rick Barnes, Jon Nguyen, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm) on the enigmatic Lynch’s early (and ongoing) artistic passion. Art-studio interviews, home movie footage, archival material, and up-to-date scenes of the artist at work lend an aura of normality to an eccentric vision. A bit of family history allows for insight into the formative process that eventually graduated to animation and live-action shorts and, ultimately, feature films beginning with the seminal Eraserhead. [See Trailers, LJ 8/17.]

Louise by the Shore (aka Louise en hiver). 75 min. First Run Features. 2016. DVD UPC 720229917414. $24.95.

An elderly French woman stranded at a seaside resort after missing the last train of the holiday season faces the coming winter alone save for the company of a talking dog. After almost getting washed away by a storm, Louise (voiced in this English-language version by France Castel) sets up house on the beach, recalling her tough upbringing and haunted by the recurrent childhood memory of a soldier hanging by his parachute from a tree. Hand-drawn with elegant simplicity, Jean-François ­Laguionie’s endearing animated tale celebrates a hardscrabble dame in her dotage.

Maurice. 140+ min. Cohen Media Group. 1987. DVD UPC 741952838098. $22.99; 2-disc Blu-ray UPC 741952838197. $30.99. Rated: R.

The love that dared not speak its name develops at college and eventually comes between aristocrats Maurice (James Wilby) and Clive (Hugh Grant) in early 20th-century England, with the former finding acceptance with the latter’s servant—a gamekeeper (Rupert Graves) also demonstrative of his true sexual nature. After A Room with a View (1985) but prior to Howards End (1992), the Ismail Merchant–James Ivory duo adapted their second E.M. Forster novel, which has been given a splendid restoration plus an additional disc of extras befitting a near-classic film.

Moka. 90+ min. In French w/English subtitles. Film Movement. 2016. DVD UPC 859686006321. $24.99.

After the death of her teenage son in a hit-and-run accident—and impatient with police efforts to turn up a lead—a grief-stricken mother (Emmanuelle Devos) takes it upon herself to locate the driver of the tan sedan reported by an eye­witness. Getting friendly with the vehicle’s owner (Nathalie Baye) is the first part of a plan for revenge in Frédéric Mermoud’s deliberately paced but involving psychological drama, which delivers its welcome catharsis after a twisty climax. Very watchable performances by two veteran French actresses make for a revelatory pas de deux.

This article was published in Library Journal's November 15, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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