A Slightly Bizarre Xmas Gift from Kino Lorber

So a very charming FedEx deliverywoman came to my door this morning -- late enough that I was comparatively speaking awake -- and handed me a large package from Kino Lorber, always an exciting prospect. I opened it and was amused to find four films by the French erotic horror maven Jean Rollin, a reissue of the 1979 documentary Swastika and, to my great delight, the DVD of JLG's Filme Socialisme. When the Godard played the NY Film Festival last year, I was, like most of my colleagues, sort of stumped by the "navaho subtitles," as he called them. My aural French isn't good enough to follow much of the untranslated dialogue and the passages in German (among other languages) left me completely bewildered. (My German vocabulary was acquired from WWII movies and Fassbinder films, so I can say useful things like "Don't shoot" and "Filthy little whore.")

Given the enormous controversy over Godard's attitude to Jews, I decided to tread lightly in writing about the film. But here comes the good part: the new DVD release has both Godard's original, all-but-useless subtitles and a complete English translation as well. I don't know it that will put an end to my ambivalence, but it can't hurt.

Of course, I won't get to the film until I've made a thorough study of the Rollins. Gotta keep your priorities straight.

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