the traveler's resource guide to festivals & films
a site
part of Insider Media llc.

Connect with us:

Digital Week 21: Stormy Europe

Blu-ray of the Week

Summer HoursSummer Hours
Olivier Assayas has directed a superior soap opera about a trio of French siblings who must decide whether to sell the family estate–famous paintings, antique furniture, and all–after their 75-year-old mother unexpectedly dies. Skillfully juggling his disparate characters (oldest brother, who’s most conservative; middle sister, a free spirit living in New York and engaged to an American; youngest brother, working with a shoe company in Shanghai, his wife and three kids in tow), Assayas gives us glimpses into their lives with a single line of dialogue or a brief shot of subtle body language or minute gestures. He even frames Summer Hours with sequences showing the next generation—these characters’ children and (at the end) their friends—and there’s something simultaneously touching and sad about their lack of knowledge about their own past (with one exception).

There’s seamless acting from Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, and Jérémie Rénier as the siblings and Edith Scob as the benevolent family matriarch. On Blu-ray, Assayas’ subtle color palette is rendered with expert consistency—this is another in a long string of flawless Criterion high-def transfers. The usual plethora of superb Criterion extras includes Inventory, an hour-long documentary about the relationship of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris to the film’s making; on-set interviews with Assayas and his cast; and an Assayas interview.

DVD of the Week

(Film Movement)Storm
In this harrowing drama directed by Hans-Christian Schmid, Kerry Fox persuasively plays a worn-out prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague with a nearly impossible task: how to convict an obvious guilty Yugoslav commander of crimes against humanity when her hands are, literally, tied by the court? Schmid concentrates on the minutiae of the political backstabbing and dealing that occur in a supposed place of justice, and only rarely does he go all wobbly trying to turn this already harrowing story into a “thriller” that relies on near-accidents and strange disappearances. 

Storm is an involving nail-biter, and complementing Fox’s terrific work is another spectacularly lived-in performance as a key witness by Anamaria Mancia, the actress so unforgettable in the Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days. As usual with Film Movement releases, the lone extra is a short film: from Germany, Toyland in 14 quick minutes asks still-pertinent questions about guilt and complicity.

Newsletter Sign Up

Upcoming Events

No Calendar Events Found or Calendar not set to Public.