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DVD & Blu-ray Film of the Week

DVD Pick: Bonnie and Clyde

Warner Bros have finally got around to issuing a proper special edition of Bonnie and Clyde, the landmark gangster film that signalled the rise of New Hollywood.

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow – the notorious bank robbers who cut a swathe through the US during the Great Depression.

A notable supporting cast includes Gene Hackman as Clyde’s brother Buck and Estelle Parsons as his wife Blanche.

Although only partly based on the historical truth, director Arthur Penn and screenwriter Robert Benton created a film that ushered in a new era of mainstream filmmaking with a groundbreaking approach to morality, sex and violence.

At the time the film was hugely controversial for its graphic violence – it was one of the first to make heavy use of squibs – but in time would be seen as a turning point for mainstream films that followed, such as The French Connection and The Godfather.

Penn and Benton were heavily influenced by French New Wave directors like Francois Truffaut, who strangely enough was offered the chance to direct it before passing on it.

The film stands up well today and now has a decent set of extras to cmplement it. They include:

  • Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde. A behind the secen doc consisting of three sections:
    • Bonnie and Clyde’s Gang (22 minutes)
    • The Reality and Myth of Bonnie and Clyde (24 minutes)
    • Releasing Bonnie and Clyde (18 minutes)
  • Love and Death: A History Channel documentary that explores the real life Bonnie and Clyde (43:13)
  • Warren Beatty Wardrobe Tests (07:39)
  • Two deleted scenes:
    • The Road To Mineola (2:06)
    • Outlaws (3:17)
  • Teaser and Theatrical Trailer

Check out the original trailer here:

Bonnie and Clyde is released today on DVD from Warner Home Video

> Buy Bonnie and Clyde from Amazon UK
> Bonnie and Clyde at the IMDb
> Reviews of Bonnie and Clyde at Metacritic

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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

DVD Pick: Silent Light

Silent Light is a hypnotic and beautifully crafted tale of forbidden love, set amongst the Mennonite community in Northern Mexico.

When I was in Cannes last year – about to see a film involving Nazi Vampires, believe it or not – I met a publicist who was working on the ‘new film from Carlos Reygadas‘.

On the train back to the hotel that night I noticed the review in Variety and was intrigued, although I wasn’t a huge fan of his previous film, Battle in Heaven.

However, when I finally got round to seeing Silent Light in October I was hugely impressed by both the technique and mood Reygadas created.

The story involves a married man named Johan who defies the laws of his religious community by falling in love with another woman.

It then explores the impact this has on him, his family and the wider community.

Although, the slow pace and esoteric feel won’t be for everyone, there is a rich sense of mystery to the world of the film.

The phrase ‘dream-like’ is often used in the wrong context but here it genuinely applies as Reygadas shows us a world that exists but seems so strange and distant – like the Amish, the Mennonites live by a strict code that eschews many aspects of modern life.

Using a cast of non-actors adds to this effect and if you give yourself up to the film, which is the polar opposite of how many mainstream films work in terms of narrative and editing, then you may find yourself basking in it’s otherworldliness.

Perhaps in years to come it will be best remembered for its incredible opening and closing shots, which are a feast for the senses.

The extras on the DVD include:

  • A making of featurette about 30 minutes long
  • Interviews with some of the cast
  • Deleted scenes
  • Notes on the film by Jason Woods which help provide some insight into Reygadas and his methods

Sadly there is no commentary from the director by you can listen to an interview we did with him here back in October at the London Film Festival:

[audio:http://www.filmdetail.com/podcast/get.php?fla=podcast-2007-10-24-65220.mp3]

Silent Light is out now on DVD from Tartan

> Buy Silent Light on DVD from Amazon UK
> Download our interview with Carlos Reygadas as an MP3
> The official website for Silent Light
> Carlos Reygadas at the IMDb
> Manohla Dargis of the NY Times with her review of the film at Cannes
> Karina Longworth of Spout gives her take on the film
> Find out more about the Mennonites at Wikipedia