post

The Bootleg Files: Afrique 50

BOOTLEG FILES 591: “Afrique 50” (1950 French documentary short by René Vautier).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Never officially released in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It would be welcomed.

In 1949, a newly-minted film school graduate named René Vautier received his first big break when the Ligue de l’enseignement commissioned him to create a nonfiction film highlighting its educational mission in France’s West African colonies. Upon arriving in the French African colonies, the 21-year-old Vautier did not find evidence of French benevolence in Africa. Instead, he witnessed a degree of economic exploitation and repressive rule over people who were slowly simmering in their resentment of colonial occupation. As a decorated member of the French Resistance during World War II and a Communist Party member, he was not about to sit back and just tsk-tsk this situation.

Continue reading

Buena Vista Social Club (1999): The Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Wim Wenders’ ode to the music of Cuba and the Buena Vista Social Club is a brilliant and poetic documentary that depicts the art of music as something that’s soothing to the soul and can ease even the most tumultuous situations. Wenders’ documentary is very much about music with a lot of performances, but it’s also a thoughtful and deliberately paced meditation on the meaning of music. It defines something within the subjects we meet in “Buena Vista Social Club.” And even in spite of the economic turmoil, it’s kept people within the society of Cuba going forward and doing their best to show their love for the art form.

Continue reading

24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016)

Back in the eighties and nineties, I spent much of my youth in and out of video stores. During the weekends when there was a guarantee there’d be nothing on television we’d trek to the video store in our neighborhood and I always drifted to the horror section. One of the highlights of going through the horror section was perusing through the boxes and gaping in disbelief at all the amazing and often creative box art. Back then artists had to sell a movie with one striking image, and they often did it very well. The box art was only a small result of the art of movie posters, and how once upon a time movie posters were a symbol of a movie that were used to sell their respective cinematic properties, and create lasting memories.

Continue reading

post

The Bootleg Files: At Home, 2001

BOOTLEG FILES 589: “At Home, 2001” (1967 television news special hosted by Walter Cronkite.).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO:
None, although at one time it was made available on 16mm for the educational market.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: CBS News will not make it commercially available.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not in the immediate future.

Fifty years ago, CBS News debuted “The Twenty-First Century” as a documentary series designed to look ahead to the future. The series replaced “The Twentieth Century,” which set its sight on events and personalities that shaped the first six decades of the then-current century.

Continue reading

Batman & Bill (2017)

For a long time, debates have raged in the art world about what can be considered creating a property and who can be credited as a true creator of a creative property. For decades, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko were feuding over who were the rightful mind behind Spider-Man, as Lee insisted Spider-Man was his idea, while Ditko insisted he conceptualized Spider-Man, thus making him the creator. What “Batman & Bill” seeks to do is boldly putting an end to the debate that’s been raging in the comic book medium for almost a century. Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce simultaneously tells the tragic and often heartbreaking story of Bill Finger, the long uncredited creator of Batman, and how a man named Bob Kane stole everything Finger ever had from the credit, and the massive profits, right down to the very essence of his self-respect.

Continue reading

VHS Massacre: Cult Films and the Decline of Physical Media (2016) [Blu-Ray]

It’s important that we look back on the history of physical media, since the beginning of physical media for movie collectors was never Hollywood’s biggest plan. Since the creation of the home reel projector, studios have been working hard to fight the appeal of physical media, and now with its decline, we’re reverting to digital copies of films that can be monitored. With its introduction, comes the potential decline of honest independent filmmaking, and filmmakers that have an even playing field with Hollywood. That becomes an uphill battle as the physical media that does exist is nothing but overstocked Hollywood dribble, with stores openly refusing to stock independent cinema.

Continue reading