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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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'Citizen Kane' and 'Chimes at Midnight'

From Michael Carlton, Norman, OK:

Thank you so much for including "Chimes at Midnight" in your Great Movies series and asking for its home video release in the United States. When I decided to write my MA thesis on two films by Orson Welles, I wanted to work on two masterpieces from radically different parts of his career - "Citizen Kane" and "Chimes at Midnight." I also had to order a DVD from Spain, though due to its incompatibility with most American players I was unable to share this wonderful film with friends and colleagues.

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While Welles has often been given the credit he deserves for his earlier triumphs, his later and more independent films include such gems as "Mr. Arkadin" and "The Trial" (both of which play like a blending of the early Welles and someone like David Lynch or Luis Bunuel). Yes, he was badly treated by the system but he did not stop making art on his own terms. Unfortunately, for a long time the later films have been treated to indifferent or completely inadequate home video distribution in terms of both availability and picture quality. Criterion and other such series have helped with this (their recent release of "F for Fake" is incredible) but more attention like this could really help to encourage more recovery efforts for this American master.

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