Now it’s time for our “HOT & NOW’ segment. Here’s a look at some movies now available on DVD.
BUMPER – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows/Country Strong/The King’s Speech
Now, my pick for Hot & Now this week is the most recent film by the woman I consider the most original director to come along in the last 25 years, Claire Denis. It’s called WHITE MATERIAL, and it stars Isabelle Huppert. She's part of a once wealthy white family that runs a coffee farm in an unnamed African country gripped by civil war.
The best way I could describe the film is that it’s a sort of chamber drama—following a small set of characters largely on the grounds of the farm—that has been taken apart and put back together in a different order, starting at the end and then skipping around. WHITE MATERIAL is an entrancing, unnerving experience. It’s just been released on DVD from Criterion; and you owe it to yourself to see this film.
My Hot and Now pick is also a French film. It’s "Le Cercle Rouge" the second-to-last film from the hugely influential director Jean-Pierre Melville. Alain Delon stars as Corey, a con who's been released from prison early and gotten wind of a lucrative new job. The same day he gets out, a murderer named Vogel, played by Gian Maria Volonte, escapes from the detective who's been escorting him. When their paths cross, each sees in the other a kindred spirit, and a shared sense of honor. (Clip -- Vogel climbs out of Corey's trunk. Comes about 42:00.)
They team up to steal 20 million in jewels, but to call this a heist thriller would be a bit misleading. Exactly one word is said during the robbery itself. And yet "Le Cercle Rouge" is completely engrossing. "Le Cercle Rouge" has been available on a Criterion DVD but it's out this week on Blu-Ray. See it now before it gets remade -- 'cause that's coming.