Kino Lorber is proud to announce that the acclaimed 1988 PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers is for the first time available digitally, premiering March 20 on all major digital services including iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo, and on Kino Lorber’s own Alive Mind Cinema website and www.PowerOfMyth.net. A home media edition of the series, with expanded special features, is planned for release later this year. Originally broadcast less than a year after Joseph Campbell’s passing, the six-part, six-hour program features a conversation between mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers, discussing the importance of myths and storytelling, and the impact they have on our lives. Each segment focuses on a different aspect of the mythologies, characters, and themes central to world cultures and religions. Individual episodes include “The Hero’s Adventure,” “The Message of the Myth,” “The First Storytellers,” “Sacrifice and Bliss,” “Love and the Goddess,” and “Masks of Eternity.”
Cohen Media Group will release Merchant-Ivory Productions’ breakthrough film Shakespeare Wallah (DVD: $25.99, Blu-ray: $30.99) on April 3. One of the first Merchant-Ivory productions, this sumptuous black-and-white/English and Hindi 1965 drama established the tone for so many of the collaborations to come from producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory: a deft, multilayered screenplay by their frequent collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, luminous cinematography, a wry sense of humor, and a cast of characters rich in their very human complexity. Here, the true story of British actor-manager Geoffrey Kendal and his family of traveling theatrical players is used as a fascinating lens into the ever-evolving relationship between Great Britain and India. Shakespeare Wallah follows Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal) and his wife (Laura Liddell) as part of a troupe who travel through 1960s post-colonial India staging Shakespeare’s plays. But the Buckinghams come to realize to their dismay that classic English theater is falling out of favor in a changing country where the public has become more excited by the explosion of vibrant Bollywood films, while the Buckinghams’ daughter Lizzie (Felicity Kendal) becomes involved in a love triangle. With music by the great Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray and memorable performances by cinema icons Shashi Kapoor and Madhur Jaffrey, this 2K digital restoration—completed in conjunction with the British Film Institute’s Unlocking Film Heritage program—includes bonus materials such as a conversation with filmmakers Merchant and Ivory as well as Kapoor and Felicity Kendal.
Criterion has announced its upcoming June slate. Coming June 12 in a new 4K restoration is Lino Brocka’s searing 1975 Tagalog-language urban melodrama Manila in the Claws of Light (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), a candid portrait of a young fisherman from a provincial village who arrives in the capital on a quest to track down his missing girlfriend. Arriving June 19 is the home video debut of Víctor Erice’s haunting 1983 Spanish masterpiece El Sur (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), an adaptation of a novella by Adelaida García Morales that follows a young girl captivated by her doctor father and his mysterious past. Also on June 19, director Michael Moore joins the Criterion Collection with the release of his Oscar-winning 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine (DVD: 2 discs, $29.99; Blu-ray: $39.95), an incisive and perennially relevant documentary on gun control in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Coming on June 26 is a 4K restoration of John Waters’ outrageous 1974 melodrama Female Trouble (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Divine as a teenage nightmare whose egomaniacal impulses land her in the electric chair. Finally, on June 26 also look for a 2K restoration of Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 Swedish Best Foreign Language Oscar-winner The Virgin Spring (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a harrowing tale centering on the murder of a virgin and her father’s (Max von Sydow) ruthless pursuit of vengeance.
From executive producers and Academy Award winners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, National Geographic’s first-ever scripted series, Genius (DVD: 4 discs, $29.98), which offers an extraordinary look into the life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein, is slated for release on April 17 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush stars as the rebellious daydreamer who became the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century. Beyond his groundbreaking theories of relativity, viewers will also witness Einstein’s struggles to be a good husband and father, and a man of principle during a time of global unrest. Also featuring Johnny Flynn as young Albert and Emily Watson as his second wife, Elsa, Genius takes viewers on a 10-episode journey of discovery guided by Einstein’s wit, wisdom, and insatiable thirst for knowledge. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes featurettes.
What do the most ravishingly beautiful actress of the 1930s and ‘40s and the inventor whose concepts were the basis of cell phone and bluetooth technology have in common? Both were Hedy Lamarr, a glamour icon whose face was the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman and she was a technological trailblazer who perfected a radio system to throw Nazi torpedoes off course during WWII. Acquired by Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber, filmmaker Alexandra Dean’s Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $34.95) weaves interviews and film clips together with never-before-heard audiotapes of Lamarr speaking on the record about her incredible life, from her beginnings as an Austrian Jewish émigré, to her scandalous nude scene in the 1933 film Ecstasy, to her glittering Hollywood life, to her groundbreaking but completely uncredited inventions, and finally her latter years when she became a recluse, impoverished, and almost forgotten. This is the story of an unusual and accomplished woman, once spurned as too beautiful to be smart–a role model for today.
One of the most memorable portraits of Manhattan’s 1980s New Wave subculture, Liquid Sky (Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $32.98) is being released by Vinegar Syndrome on April 24. Director Slava Tsukerman’s iconic underground 1982 sci-fi cult film had an indelible impact on pop culture, film, music, and fashion. Starring Anne Carlisle in a dual role as promiscuous, erotic, and bisexual fashion model Margaret and her gay rival and nemesis, the androgynous Jimmy, the indie film is seen as heavily influencing the club scene known as “electroclash,” which emerged in the early 2000s in New York, Berlin, Paris, and London. Extensive bonus features include audio commentary by Tsukerman, interviews with Tsukerman and Carlisle, outtakes, rehearsal footage, and an alternate opening sequence.
PBS Distribution has announced the upcoming release of their latest POV title, Bill Nye: Science Guy (DVD: $24.99, Blu-ray: $29.99), slated for April 24. Once the host of a popular kids’ show and now the CEO of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye is leading a mission to launch LightSail, a satellite propelled by sunlight, while in turn fulfilling the legacy of his late professor and Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan. The film serves up a behind-the-scenes portrait of the “Science Guy,” who continues to inspire millennials to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). In addition to Nye, the documentary features Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan, and other notable voices in the field. Nye and his team are working toward the first-ever successful launch and flight of a solar sailing satellite propelled by sunlight in space. The film also offers a personal portrait of Nye’s life.
Director Leslie Zemeckis brings to the screen the life of an unheralded female pioneer, Mabel Stark, the world’s first female tiger trainer, in the documentary Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer (DVD: $19.95), slated for April 10 from Cinema Libre Studio. Mabel Stark first started working with tigers in 1916 and—over a 57-year career—would handle up to 22 tigers at once. She doubled for Mae West during the big top scenes in I’m No Angel (1933) and performed with or provided animals for several other films of the era. When the circuses divested from big cat acts in the ‘40s, Stark toured in Europe and Japan before joining Jungleland, a wild animal theme park in Thousand Oaks, CA, where she performed daily well into her 70s. Narrated by Melissa Leo, the film combines radio and TV interviews, archival footage and images, and interviews with circus historian Janet M. Davis,Clyde Beatty, Jr. (son of the famous tiger trainer, Clyde Beatty), and Zoltan Hargitay (son of Jayne Mansfield), who was mauled by a lion at Jungleland. Bonus features include additional tiger training footage, and a behind-the-scenes featurette with Zemeckis.
A large number of the winners at the 90th Academy Awards are either currently available on home video or slated for release soon. The big winner in a contest that saw no wide sweeps was Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water (Fox, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.99, Mar. 13), which picked up awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Original Score, and Production Design. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.99, avail. now) scored wins for Frances McDormand for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor. Best Actor went to Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour (Universal, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.98, avail. now), which also won for Makeup and Hairstyling, while Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya (Universal, DVD: $19.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $22.99, Mar. 13). Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (Warner, DVD: $28.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $35.99, avail. now) snagged three technical awards—for Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing, while Blade Runner 2049 (Warner, DVD: $28.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $35.99, avail. now) scored for Cinematography. On the writing side, Call Me By Your Name (Sony, DVD: $25.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $30.99, Mar. 13) won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Get Out (Universal, DVD: $19.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $22.98, avail. now) took home the gold for Best Original Screenplay. Phantom Thread (Universal, DVD: $29.98, Blu-ray: $34.98, Apr. 10 ) won for Costume Design. Coco (Disney, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, avail. now) was a winner for both Best Animated Film and Best Song (“Remember Me”). Finally, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (Grasshopper Film, DVD: $325, http://store.grasshopperfilm.com/heaven-is-a-traffic-jam-on-the-405.html), which won for Documentary (Short Subject), is currently available for institutions.
National Media Market and Conference (NMM) has announced the formation of the Academic Libraries Video Trust, a cooperative open to interested institutions, to facilitate preservation of commercial video content (primarily VHS) which is no longer in distribution. The Trust will leverage preservation and replacement exceptions for reproduction by libraries established by U.S. copyright law (17 U.S. Code § 108) that allow for duplication of content that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or is in an obsolete format. The Trust is expected to become fully operational by late 2018, thanks to a $10,000.00 gift by recently retired librarian deg farrelly.
“The opportunity to help create this new organization and serve libraries that value media collections is very important to me,” said farrelly, a Librarian Emeritus at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, who prefers his distinctive name spelled without the customary capital letters. “The Academic Libraries Video Trust will provide a service to benefit many institutions, especially research libraries. It’s a natural extension of the work I’ve been performing for four decades, to strengthen the usefulness and legitimacy of film and video as a tool in teaching and research across all disciplines.”
Section 108 is a topic explored extensively by farrelly and colleagues Chris Lewis, Media Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C., and Jane Hutchinson, former Associate Director of Media Services at William Paterson University Library, in Paterson, N.J. The trio created an online database called The Section 108 Due Diligence Project (http://section108video.com/) and documented search efforts for thousands of titles no longer available for purchase or licensing. Maintenance of the site and creation of secure technology will become the responsibility of the Trust, administered under the auspices of National Media Market and Conference.
Former NMM Chair Sarah McCleskey, Head of Resource & Collection Services at Hofstra University, is facilitating development of the Trust along with Chris Lewis. “Based on research performed by deg and other prominent media professionals, it’s estimated that U.S. academic libraries alone have thousands of VHS titles which are rapidly degrading,” said McCleskey. “It’s a matter of preservation — libraries that have spent significant funds collecting video need to protect their investments and fulfill their mandate to preserve this content.” According to Lewis, “The Trust has been created because the VHS format, which was once massively popular, is now obsolete, and much of the content borne on videotape has never been rereleased. No one makes VHS players anymore, and regularly-circulated tapes and players quickly degrade to the point of being unusable. The benign neglect that resulted in the loss of thousands of early motion pictures and early television recordings will happen with VHS recordings unless libraries undertake major preservation projects to protect them.”
“The intent of Section 108, and of the Academic Libraries Video Trust, is clearly not to sidestep any legitimate commercial interest,” states Kenneth Crews of Gipson Hoffman & Pancione in Los Angeles, the attorney retained by NMM for legal counsel regarding the Trust, “but to help support replacement and preservation copying after checking the market. The institutions that become members of the Academic Libraries Video Trust won’t be purchasing anything through the organization, but replacing a copy of a work they’ve already acquired consistent with copyright law.” “In fact,” adds farrelly, “the purpose of the Section 108 Due Diligence Project website has been to make widely available a list of titles for which librarians want to find replacements, and can’t. It can be viewed by rights holders as well as librarians.”
Member institutions will confirm that their use of any materials archived by the Trust will be in compliance with Section 108.
The Trust is currently inviting libraries and archives to become founding institutional members. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Jeff Tamblyn, Chair of the National Media Market and Conference (email@example.com), for further information.
Relevant sites :
National Media Market https://www.nmm.net/
Section 108 Due Diligence Project http://section108video.com/
Cornell Law School Section 108 webpage https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/108
Photo caption: deg farrelly (right) makes a major donation to kickstart NMM’s new service initiative. Accepting is NMM Chair Jeff Tamblyn.