My Content

Londoners (Londyńczycy) Review

Michael Brooke has reviewed the Polish DVD release of this much-hyped TV series about expat Poles struggling to survive in a fast-moving city whose golden pavements are proving somewhat elusive.

Polish School of the Documentary: The Black Series Review

Michael Brooke marks the launch of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festiwal by beginning a survey of the output of Poland's most adventurous DVD label.

Katyn Review

Michael Brooke reviews the first official DVD release of Andrzej Wajda's Oscar-nominated drama. It's the great Polish director's most personal project ever - but does it match his earlier masterworks?

Polish School of the Documentary: Andrzej Munk Review

Michael Brooke reviews Polish Audiovisual Publishers' two-disc survey of the non-fiction work of one of Poland's most important directors. It's fascinating, beautifully presented... and ludicrously cheap.

Jean Sibelius Review

Michael Brooke concludes his five-part survey of Christopher Nupen DVDs with a look at the first release on his new label, a two-part portrait of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

We Want The Light Review

Michael Brooke reviews Christopher Nupen's acclaimed documentary about the Jewish people's understandably ambivalent relationship to German culture in general and music in particular. A heavyweight subject gets heavyweight treatment - both as a film and as a DVD.

Andres Segovia In Portrait Review

In the third instalment of Michael Brooke's survey of Christopher Nupen DVDs, he looks at his two contrasting films about the legendary Spanish guitarist.

The Trout / The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow Review

Michael Brooke continues his five-part survey of Christopher Nupen DVDs with a look at a Schubert double bill of very different films: the jovial, boisterous The Trout and the haunting elegy The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow.

Jacqueline du Pré In Portrait Review

This month sees a new DVD label, The Christopher Nupen Films, which showcases the back catalogue of the renowned classical music documentarist. But before tackling its inaugural release, Michael Brooke catches up with Nupen's previous DVDs, starting with his portrait of the cellist Jacqueline du Pré.

Torpedo Bombers Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed the Region 0 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1324&story=4364">Torpedo Bombers</a>, a low-key but moving study of the impact of war on the inhabitants of a snowbound marine airbase: both the pilots and their loved ones on the ground.<p><p>

Pirates of the 20th Century Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has dug up another Soviet blockbuster generally unknown in the West in the form of the Region 0 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1315&story=4348">Pirates of the 20th Century</a>. But fascinating though it is to see a high-speed Soviet thriller with plenty of fast-paced action, once you remove the historical and cultural context you're sadly left with a pretty mediocre action flick of no great distinction as far as Western genre fans are concerned.<p><p>

DVD Times Guide to Russian and Soviet Films on DVD

As a trailer for a forthcoming series of articles on their historical, cultural and political background, Michael Brooke has compiled a list of all Russian and Soviet films currently available and coming soon on DVD.

A Cruel Romance Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> continues his trawl through some of the Soviet Union's biggest domestic blockbusters with the Region 0 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1288&story=4332">A Cruel Romance</a>, a splendidly nasty costume drama in the <I>Dangerous Liaisons</I> mould, whose title is all too accurate.<p><p>

Autumn Marathon Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed the Region 0 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1292&story=4325">Autumn Marathon</a> - a wistful comedy about a middle-aged translator whose passivity and inability to say no means that everyone either misreads or exploits him. Fans of Alan Bennett and <I>Billy Liar</I> should feel right at home.<p><p>

The Diamond Arm Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed the Region 0 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1301&story=4323">The Diamond Arm</a>. One of the Soviet Union's all-time domestic blockbusters, this is a Dayglo-dyed slapstick farce about jewel smuggling and mistaken identity, but despite all the self-conscious wackiness it's surprisingly charming, and the DVD transfer is excellent.<p><p>

Father of a Soldier Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1289&story=4314">Father of a Soldier</a> (Region 0), a moving if somewhat implausible story of an elderly Georgian peasant's epic journey to visit his wounded son during World War II.<p><p>

Battleship Potemkin Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> continues his survey of Sergei Eisenstein's silent films by reviewing the Region 2 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1298&story=4307">Battleship Potemkin</a>, a fixture on Best Films of All Time lists that's distinctly showing its age, but which still boasts scenes packing a piledriver punch.<p><p>

Strike Review

In the first of three reviews of revolutionary Soviet silent films by Sergei Eisenstein, <b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed the Region 2 release of <a href="index.cgi?page=Review&id=1294&story=4304">Strike</a> - the least known of the trio, and possibly the most rewarding (not least thanks to an excellent commentary).<p><p>

Russian Ark Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed the theatrical release of <a href="index.cgi?page=CinemaReview&id=200&story=4300">Russian Ark</a>, a visually and conceptually astonishing one-take masterpiece that for sheer ambition dwarfs anything else currently on release. It's the first in a daily series of reviews of Russian films, which over the next few weeks will cover work by major auteurs (Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Paradjanov) alongside Soviet commercial blockbusters largely unseen in the West.<p><p>

The Magdalene Sisters Review

<b>Michael Brooke</b> has reviewed the theatrical release of <a href="index.cgi?page=CinemaReview&id=196&story=4209">The Magdalene Sisters</a>, Peter Mullan's angry, passionate, often devastatingly powerful re-enactment of the physical and psychological torture meted out to allegedly "fallen" women incarcerated in the notorious Catholic-run Magdalene Laundries, some of which were still running less than a decade ago. <p><p>