Daily Archives: February 3, 2019

My Dozen Favorite Non-Region-1 Box Sets

From DVD Beaver (posted June 2008). Some of these listings may be out of date — and in the case of Godard’s Histoire(s), superseded by subsequent American and/or Blu-Ray editions. –  J.R.

Coming up with my favorite box sets from abroad is a far cry from compiling a list of my favorite films on DVD, foreign or otherwise, even if some of my favorite films are represented here. The problem is, as Mick Jagger puts it, you can’t always get what you want. To start with an extreme example, my favorite Hou Hsiao-hsien film is most likely The Puppetmaster (1993), but my least favorite of all the DVDs of Hou films in my collection happens to be the Winstar edition of that film. It’s so substandard —- not even letterboxed, and packaged so clumsily — that I’m embarrassed to find myself quoted on the back of the box, especially with the quotation mangled into tortured grammar.

I’ve aimed for a certain geographical spread as well as some generic balance: popular comedies, art films, experimental films, and one serial; DVDs from Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Admittedly, roughly half of my selections come from France, and a quarter of them, to my surprise, comes from a single label, Gaumont —- maybe because this blockbuster company seems to specialize in blockbuster box sets.Read more »

Stargazer: Andy Warhol’s World and his Films

From Film Quarterly (Spring 1974). I wrote this review while I was living in Paris, which made acquiring a review copy especially difficult. (I grimly recall even getting into something resembling a fistfight with the French distributor of the book, who didn’t want to give me one and blew a fuse when I insisted, even though I had an assignment.) Stephen Koch, whom I knew from my previous stint as a graduate student at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was a friend at the time, as was Annette Michelson, who commissioned the book for Praeger. My second-hand assessment of **** (Four Stars) came from another friend, Lorenzo Mans, who saw the entire film and reviewed it for the Village Voice, though I had attended a New York screening of Blue Movie, when it went by the title Fuck. -– J.R.

STAR-GAZER:

ANDY WARHOL’S WORLD AND HIS FILMS

BY Stephen Koch. New York: Praeger. $8.95.

Books about filmmakers that do something more than regurgitate filmographies and sketch career summaries are not exactly plentiful these days, and for this reason alone Stargazer is worthy of serious attention. What it attempts is not a mere pigeon-holing of Warhol’s films but a complex assessment of his persona and its accompanying strategies — in, through and beyond these films — as they flourished in the sixties.… Read more »