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Cinemashrink, Jane Alexander Stewart

Cinemashrink Presents: 2013 New Year’s DVD Treasure Trove


Turning Point, 1977

Directed by Herbert Ross

Written by Arthur Laurents

Starring Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Mikhail Baryshinknov

If you can recall a time when a turn to the right meant losing forever the left

See Turning Point nail the moment when one woman’s life another woman makes

Because personal choice choreographs a dance for each of us, step by step

(Bonus: Incredible Baryshnikov at his peak, immortalized in flight with big screen beauty.)


A Special Day, 1977

Directed by Ettore Scola

Written by Ruggero Maccari

Starring Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni

If you relish small, intimate stories against a background of enormous consequence

See what happens on A Special Day when a housewife and a gay neighbor stay home whilst Hitler visits a welcoming Italy

Because today may turn out to be prophetic… but not without covert closeted memories.

(Bonus: When Sophia and Marcello play against the beautiful actors they are and go for being authentically beautiful people, a light story leaves a memorable mark.)


Stanley Kubrick, A Life in Pictures, 2001

Directed by Jan Harlan

Narrated by Tom Cruise

Synopsis:  “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures” shows clips from each one of his movies and interviews family, friends and stars about their memories of Kubrick. The documentary offers an excellent and complete career overview: “Fear and Desire,” “Killer’s Kiss,” “The Killing,” “Paths of Glory,” “Spartacus,” “Lolita,” “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Eyes Wide Shut.

If you’re a Kubrick fan (but especially if you’re not)

See Stanley Kubrick, A Life in Pictures show original as vsionary, fresh and without regard for time, anticipating and collapsing past, present and future

Because, quoting Jack Nicholson, “Everyone pretty much acknowledges he’s the man, and I still feel that underrates him.”

(Bonus: And now there’s Room 237, a film that liberally, visually and symbolically interprets hidden meaning in Kubrick’s classic horror film, The Shining)


Blood Wedding, 1981

Directed by Carlos Saura

Written by Antonio Gades, Federico Garcia Lorca (play)

Starring Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos and Juan Antonio Jimenez

If you like to feel the soul of dance in your bones

See Blood Wedding lift the crisis of passionate love with precision flamenco

Because death lingers close to the edge of life, from toes to fingertips

(Bonus: The cinematography carries the rhythm and intensity of flamenco right into the white shirtsleeves, the bare studio walls and the facial profiles of the dancers – stunning.)


Rain Man, 1988

Directed by Barry Levinson

Screenplay by Ronald Bass

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golina

If you can’t resist ‘oldies but goodies’

See Rain Man bravely present autism as theatrical entertainment and win

Because mental illness does not a person make; sometimes, even often, such a person who suffers a mental illness brings a gift of love beyond expectation.

(Bonus: If you think these two – brothers or actors – are an unlikely combo, try Animal Odd Couples; http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/animal-odd-couples/full-episode/8009/)


Monsieur Lazhar, 2011

Directed by Phillippe Falardeau

Screenplay by Phillippe Falardeau

Starring Mahamed Fellag, Sophie Nelisse, Emilien Neron

If you want to escape stereotypes of education

See Monsieur Lazhar illustrate the birth of a teacher in a lost immigrant

Because the best story turns the tables on low level, ugly expectations.

(Bonus: Quite the pleasure, waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop and receiving one smile after another instead.)


Coriolanus, 2011

Directed by Ralph Fiennes

Written by William Shakespeare, John Logan (screenplay)

Starring Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox

If you’re into Shakespeare, Ralph Fiennes and war (plenty of it),

See the 17th C. conspiracies of Coriolanus re-contextualized as passionate clashes of deadly emotion in a modern day standoff between politicians and the people they govern

Because it’s dangerous to dismiss Shakespeare’s tragedy; a leader who does right by his conscience gets stabbed in the back in a jealous frenzy by a man of the people.

(Bonus: Ralph Fiennes at his finest as an actor inspiring fear in the gut and a wearying admiration for the complexities of portraying a mind at odds with itself.)


House of Flying Daggers, 2004

Directed by Zhang Yimou

Written by Zhang Yimou, Bin Wang

Starring Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau

If you are swept away by beauty, love and intrigue

See House of Flying Daggers defy gravity physically and emotionally

Because men have never been so gallant, women so proficient, tragedy so splendid

(Bonus: The opening vies with 007 for a way to begin a story that can only go up, up and away from the ordinary into realms of fantasy that claim the eye and grip the heart.)

Written by Dr. Jane Alexander Stewart

Newtopia staff writer Jane Alexander Stewart, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who writes essays about mythic themes in film, creates “Myth in Film; Myth in Your Life” seminars for self-exploration and travels a lot. Her film reviews have been published in the San Francisco C.G. Jung Library Journal, Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Los Angeles Journal of Psychological Perspectives.  Jane’s popular essay on “The Feminine Hero in The Silence of the Lambs” appears in the anthology, The Soul of Popular Culture, and in The Presence of the Feminine in Film as one of its authors. She’s also presented myth in film programs at Los Angeles County Museum, University of Alabama and C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. A collection of her reviews and other writing can be found at www.CinemaShrink.com.


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