by Sam Adams
The British filmmaker’s first two features—only available in the U.S. via streaming services—find him using radically different techniques to produce eerily congruent results.
Before the defining breakthrough of Videodrome, The Brood and Scanners—both out of print, but available streaming on demand—find the director as a bloody-minded craftsman squatting on the line between science fiction and horror.
Philippe Garrel’s 1993 film The Birth Of Love stars Lou Castel and Jean-Pierre Léaud as aging veterans of France’s tumultuous 1960s who struggle to grow up. Also streaming: a little-seen Claire Denis documentary about choreographer Mathilde Monnier.
All but exiled from his native Hungary, Miklós Jancsó found a home for visions of political and personal upheaval in Italy. Once hard-to-find, two of his most striking films, The Pacifist and The Red And The White, can now be streamed.
The ambitious Big Wednesday didn’t find the audience it deserved in 1978, and has since become hard to find on DVD; but it can now be found on several streaming services. Meanwhile, Nicolas Roeg’s The Witches adaptation never got a home-video release in its proper aspect ratio, an oversight that’s been corrected online.
Seven Days In May and The Train bridge the gap between John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate and Seconds, turning the paranoid thriller to steadily more philosophical and internal ends.
The actor’s short directorial filmography is only available online, in passable-at-best quality, but the dinner-table discomfort in What Happened Was… and The Wife is enough to demonstrate that Noonan could have been a major figure—or even that he was one.
Les Blank famously chronicled Werner Herzog’s attempts to film Fitzcarraldo, but Burden Of Dreams provides just a hint of his searching vision.
The Century Of The Self and All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace draw connections, make conclusions, and command attention.
The weekly Upstream column examines Steven Soderbergh's King Of The Hill and Steve Martin in Pennies From Heaven. Neither film is available on DVD, but both are worth seeking out online.