A generation ago it would have been Peter Sellers in the starring role, but with the Icarus Films’ Sept. 26 domestic DVD debut of the Distrib Films release of director Roberto Andò’s Viva la Liberta, you can enjoy Toni Servillo’s marvelous Sellers-like performance instead.
Icarus Films has been releasing the Distrib Films (French-based) production inventory for several months now and this latest entry took awhile to make its transition from its arthouse run (back in November of 2014) to its home entertainment launch (where people without access to a first-run arthouse venue can now finally catch it). For the record, the ARR is a whopping 1,054 days.
Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty, The Confessions, The Girl by the Lake, etc.) has a field day in the duel role of Italian politico Enrico Oliveri, who takes it on the lam when things go sour for him to have a fling in France with a now married former lover (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), and as his twin brother Giovanni, who has a screw loose (he’s been institutionalized and is heavily medicated).
When Enrico turns up missing, party bosses have a panic attack, but Enrico’s chief of staff, Andrea Bottini (Valerio Mastandrea), comes up with the idea of substituting his twin brother Giovanni until Enrico can be found. What could possibly go wrong?
Plenty! Giovanni takes the job of politician to heart and starts making speeches and public appearances. The speeches are misinterpreted (think: Peter Sellers in Being There) and suddenly this down and out political leader is back in favor with the populace. What is the real Enrico to do? What is Bottini to do?
Tune in on Sept. 26 and find out!
Viva la Liberta is presented in Italian with English subtitles.
Also making its DVD debut on Sept. 26 is the Bullfrog Films production of writer/director Debra Granik’s Stray Dog, a documentary about Ronnie Hall, who played the role of Thump Milton in her Oscar nominated film, Winter’s Bone (Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (John Hawkes) and for Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini’s Adapted Screenplay).
Ronnie Hall could be right out of central casting as an aging Vietnam vet, grizzled, hog-riding, tough as nails, but with a kind heart. But Ronnie Hall is the real deal and Granik, who likely got to know him while shooting Winter’s Bone (not confirmed), thought that his story (and the men and women like him) was worth telling.
We follow him on “Run for the Wall” with fellow veterans, get to know about his trailer park that he runs in Missouri, about his wartime experiences (and how they relate to current veterans), his relationships and more. Granik uses these touchstones in Hall’s life to the issues that veterans of all wars face — the indifference of the government bureaucracy, drugs, suicide and the sense of loss.
Lastly, Icarus Films will be teaming with The KimStim Collection on Sept. 19 for the DVD debut of Thai filmmaker Anocha Suwichakornpong’s film release of By the Time It Gets Dark.
This film-within-a-film takes a look at the 1976 Thammasat University massacre in Bangkok in the form of a docuemtnary filmmaker named Ann (Visra Vichit-Vadakan) interviewing Taew (Rassami Paoluengton), a “survivor” of that October night in 1976. But the film goes beyond just the remembrances of the student uprising to become a surreal experience that encompasses several different storylines, including that of the filmmaker, a man named Peter (Arak Amornsupasiri) and yet a third main character that assumes many roles throughout the narrative (played by Atchara Suwan).
Sequences repeat themselves, but with a different emphasis, and Ann, the initial detached documentarian, takes us on a very personal trip that seems to jump about in time. Telling tales of the past can, as director Anocha Suwichakornpong expresses here, can be a dicey proposition as memories fade, memories shift and memories are never quite what they seem.
By the Time It Gets Dark is presented in Thai with English subtitles.