Meanwhile, on the European front…

A lot of attention tends to fall on American releases, whereas some superb work in Europe either takes a while to arrive here, or has to be imported by specialty labels.

On the DVD front, there’s Francis Veber’s hysterical French comedy The Dinner Game / Le diner de cons (1998) which the writer/director adapted from his own play, carrying over actor Jacques Villeret from the stage to the screen as ‘the world class’ idiot (the titular 'con') who torments an arrogant publisher by breezy moments of accomplished stupidity.

For a while out of print in Canada, the film returns via Maple on an anamorphic DVD, with English subtitles accompanying the original French dub track. (The box art is all-French, but the DVD does include English subs.)

Also of note is Black Night / Nuit noire by Belgian director Olivier Smolders. Released by Cult Epics, this is the director’s feature film debut, and fans of his short films will relish this surreal, sometimes Lynch-like tale of a reserved entomologist who’s bug fixation is extended to a strange woman who refuses to leave his apartment.

Shot in lovely HD, the film looks and sounds great, and features multiple story threads that may be part hallucination, repressed childhood memories, or part of an inverted reality. Smolders’ short film Adoration (1987) was featured in the anthology DVD Cinema of Death, also from Cult Epics, and in a 10-film anthology of Smolders’ early work, Spiritual Exercises, of which a review will appear shortly, alongside a detailed review of Free Cinema, a massive 3-disc anthology from Facets gathering rare British short films by some legendary filmmakers.

On the soundtrack front, we’ve uploaded a batch of Italian and Swedish releases available from various online shops.

From Italy’s DigitMovies comes two Ennio Morricone scores: Uomini E Uomini No / Men Or Not Men (1980), and the suspenseful Milano Odia: La polizia non puo’ sparare / Almost Human (1974). Both contain previously unreleased tracks.

And from Sweden’s Fin de Siecle Media comes Pino Donaggio’s second film score, the dynamic Corruzione al palazzo di giustizia (1975), and a pair of expanded /premiere CDs of two Franco Micalizzi scores: Hold-Up, instantanea di una rapina / Hold Up (1974), and the little-seen Adolescenza perversa / Adolescence pervertie (1974).

The above releases are fine examples of labels bringing out rare and obscure scores on beautifully mastered CDs, and it’s worth checking out their respective websites for some great Italian film scores.


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