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Joey’s Home Movies For the Week of September 20th – Remembering Melvin Van Peebles

Welcome back to my Home Movies! Today, we celebrate the late Melvin Van Peebles. Yes, the top pick this week is the Criterion Collection release Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films. Joining that movie set today, is…well…not a whole hell of a lot. There’s another Criterion drop as well, so there’s that. But, it’s again a top heavy slate. Read on for more…

Joey’s Top Pick

Criterion

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

From The Criterion Collection: “Director, writer, composer, actor, and one-man creative revolutionary Melvin Van Peebles jolted American independent cinema to new life with his explosive stylistic energy and unfiltered expression of Black consciousness. Though he undeniably altered the course of film history with the anarchic Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, that pop-culture bombshell is just one piece of a remarkably varied career that has also encompassed forays into European art cinema (The Story of a Three Day Pass), mainstream Hollywood comedy (Watermelon Man), and Broadway musicals (Don’t Play Us Cheap). Each facet of Van Peebles’s renegade genius is on display in this collection of four films, a tribute to a transformative artist whose caustic social observation, radical formal innovation, and uncompromising vision established a new cinematic model for Black creative independence. Also included in the set is Baadasssss!, a chronicle of the production of Sweet Sweetback made by Van Peebles’s son Mario Van Peebles—and starring the younger Van Peebles as Melvin.”

Also Available This Week

Universal Pictures

Blithe Spirit

The Forever Purge

Nancy Drew: Season 1 (TV)

Nancy Drew: Season 2 (TV)

The Sparks Brothers

Criterion Corner

Criterion

The Damned

From The Criterion Collection: “The most savagely subversive film by the iconoclastic auteur Luchino Visconti employs the mechanics of deliriously stylized melodrama to portray Nazism’s total corruption of the soul. In the wake of Hitler’s ascent to power, the wealthy industrialist von Essenbeck family and their associates—including the scheming social climber Friedrich (Dirk Bogarde), the conniving matriarch Sophie (Ingrid Thulin), and the cruelly deviant heir Martin (Helmut Berger, memorably donning Marlene Dietrich–like drag in his breakthrough role)—descend into a self-destructive spiral of decadence, greed, perversion, and all-consuming hatred as they vie for power, over the family business and over one another. The heightened performances and Visconti’s luridly expressionistic use of Technicolor conjure a garish world of decaying opulence in which one family’s downfall comes to stand for the moral rot of a nation.”

Criterion

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

See above!

Stay tuned for more next week…

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Written by Joey Magidson

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