Short 3: Authority
Short ~ Short 1-3-Authority
Short 3: Authority, the Warner Bros.-revised reissue of PolyGram's digital magazine, is a tenuously linked but rich collection of classic and contemporary short films. Apart from Performance McKean, a slight little piece with Michael McKean doing a subdued Denis Leary-esque riff, nothing really anchors the theme of "authority," but Alain Resnais's powerful and moving 1955 documentary Night and Fog gives the collection both class and heft. It was the first film to confront the issues of the Holocaust, and the horrifying black-and-white archival footage has lost none of its terrifying power. Historian David Shepard provides illuminating background to the production and insight to Resnais's approach in a commentary track that runs for half of the program's 30 minutes. Jane Campion's A Girl's Own Story, an offbeat and unusually haunting remembrance of growing up in the '60s, is about a schoolgirl who lives for the Beatles and escapes into fantasy as her parents' marriage breaks up before her eyes. Other highlights include the frenetic animated piece Dada, a satire of the frustrations of a new father whose son doesn't meet social expectations, Sasha Wolf's Joe, the quietly observed story of a man holding on to his precarious sense of identity in a mental hospital, and the experimental comic piece The Whites, which uses stop-motion techniques to create a jittery parody of the everyday social rituals of a middle-class family. Each of these includes optional commentary by the filmmakers. The disc is rounded out by Flying Over Mother, a Russian-language but New Zealand-made piece about a cosmonaut reminiscing about his childhood, and the Brazilian Os Camaradas, a Kafka-esque satire about food, identity, and bureaucracy. --Sean Axmaker
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The seven other short pieces you will find here are like the icing on the cake. This edition of the short collection,'Authority' lives up to it's title.Each of these wonderful works in some way follows that theme. Under the Narrative films..."Flying Over Mother",is from Australia, although it is in Russian. A Cosmonaut is in trouble in outer space, and reflects back on his childhood, his mother and what made him decide on his career. There is an Experimental film, that may be considered a dark comedy titled "The Whites". This one will remind you of the old silents, placards and all. Also included is Jane Campion's, "A Girl's Own Story", set in the 60's, strange tales of growing up and Beatlemania!
All eight are excellent examples of great story telling in a short time. Some may be viewed with the director commentary and "Night and Fog" has commentary by film historian David Shepherd. The DVD presents nice picture and sound, and an easy to follow menu.(also if you press on the black dots under the chapter names, you will find some theatrical trailers).
"Night and Fog" is also sold separatly here on a DVD by Criterion. But for just about the same price, you can have it on this Warner Bros. disc, with seven more films by talented young directors.
Check it out....Laurie
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