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So today must be a happy time for him, digitally speaking: Sundays and Cybèle is finally available (see below), as is Alfie (another ’60s Simon favourite), and Greed and The Wedding March still aren’t. The original is commercially available with English subtitles, but in such a lousy copy that I’m reluctant to guide you to it.
The better copy that I screened last fall for my Film.
In this case, it involves an improbable if not impossible tale about a portly middle-aged chauffeur to a Mexican general (Marcos Hernández); the general’s twentysomething daughter (Mushkadiz), who secretly works at a ritzy bordello (shades of Deneuve in Belle de jour); the chauffeur’s portly family and their botched kidnapping (that results in the off-screen death of a kidnapped infant); and lots of religion.
My two favourite shorts by Abbas Kiarostami haven’t yet appeared with English subtitles on commercial DVDs, mainly, it would appear, because Kiarostami himself doesn’t like them.
(As he once put it to me about the latter and better of these, it was made before he regarded himself as a “serious”—i.e., artistic—filmmaker.) On two separate occasions, I tried to persuade my contacts at Criterion and the Cohen Media Group to include either or both of these shorts as extras on their editions of Close-Up (1990) or The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), but apparently either the price was too high or Kiarostami was unwilling. It’s a bitter irony that my main mentor in all things digital— the recently deceased and irreplaceable artistic director of both the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Lapland and Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, who convinced me to purchase my first multiregional VCR in southern California in the early ’80s in order to swap items with him—was also an important filmmaker who always favoured celluloid over everything else.
The last time I looked, two of my favourite Werner Herzog films—Aguirre (1972) and Fata Morgana (1971)—were both available in North America, but on separate discs and at exorbitant prices.
This edition from the UK includes both films (in both English and German versions, with optional audio commentaries by Herzog), along with three Herzog shorts from the ’60s.