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Archive for January 1st, 2012

by Allan Fish

This year Sam will be giving us his usual Best of the Year cinema releases.  Or at least the first draft.  He’ll make twenty changes before he’s through and still won’t be happy.  As you all know from past arguments, I won’t be doing such a list as I consider the year in question to be the first time seen, not the year in which it got to the UK or US or Madagascar.  So, leaving the cinematic lists aside, I shall confine myself to looking over the best of the DVD and Blu Ray releases of the last year, items released between 1st January 2011 and 31st December 2011, not that you just got off your arse and got them in this last year (as with me on several occasions).  And like the DVD Beaver and Criterion polls, it will include releases from all over the world.  This will not be US or UK-centric.  Hopefully, this will become an annual consideration, designed to point you guys in the right direction as to the major releases of the year, not just Americans blanket buying Criterions irrespective of title or Brits doing the same with Masters of Cinema or BFI.

Considering how major studios have stopped issuing old films on DVD and Blu ray unless they’re popular guaranteed sales – Warners, the even worse TCF (who only want to re-release Star Wars every time George Lucas gets a yen to remove a mole from the face of an extra on the Deathstar), etc – it’s been a strong year for those companies whose aim is to provide films for cineastes, not black for studio bank balances.  Bearing in mind the London riots screwing over so many UK distribution companies, it’s a miracle they got many films out at all after August.  Artificial Eye, BFI, Third Window, Arrow, Second Run, Final Cut, Nouveaux, even Masters of Cinema, all lost massive amounts of stock in the blaze.  For the latter alone it meant that if you haven’t already got the likes of the Naruse set (Sound of the Mountain, Flowing, Repast), Renoir’s Toni, The Lubitsch in Berlin set or Goulding’s Nightmare Alley it’s too late unless you fancy paying over the odds from entrepreneurial lowlifes on amazon marketplace and ebay.

That there are so few non US or UK releases only goes to show how few foreign distributors aim for the English speaking market.  I either own or have seen and will own all items on this list.  It’s only fair to put pictures up to prove I put my money where my gob is.  Serious connoisseurs with more money than sense should do the same.

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