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Early Cronenberg and more in May from Reel23

A division of Filmfreak Distributie, REEL23 is a pan-European DVD label that that offers a series of DVD releases bringing the darker side of a postmodern society into the open (or so goes the PR...). Their titles have been available in Europe since late 2005, and are now being officially distributed in the UK with the first batch arriving on 1st May 2006 priced at £19.99 each. They are...

The Atrocity Exhibition by Jonathan Weiss
Vergeef me (Forgive Me) by Cyrus Frisch
Aika & Aine (Time & Matter) by Mika Taanila
‘Stereo’ and ‘Crimes of the Future’ by David Cronenberg

The Atrocity Exhibition - J.G. Ballard once said that the Atrocity Exhibition had been considered his only ‘unfilmable’ novel. Until Jonathan Weiss' feature adaptation of this infamous work of experimental fiction, a film which Ballard calls, ‘a poetic masterpiece’. Of all the films made of Ballard's fiction, only The Atrocity Exhibition contains a full length DVD commentary by the author himself. Less a commentary than a philosophical discourse on the nature of present reality, Ballard fans should find this a treasure in itself.

The Atrocity Exhibition, Ballard's landmark 1968 work of non narrative fiction and the predecessor to Crash, follows a doctor in a mental research institution through the course of his own mental breakdown. What does it mean to be insane in a world itself insane? Ballard and Weiss explore this question in most disquieting ways, as the inner world of Doctor Travis morphs into the outer world of reality. The universal media landscape in which we all now reside becomes a dreamlike background for all the psychopathologies of modern life. Violence, sex, technology, pornography and death are the themes played out hypnotically in the film Doctor Travis has ‘made’-- The Atrocity Exhibition. The film weaves found footage from Hiroshima, Vietnam, Kennedy's assassination and other ‘real´ sources into itself, creating a work of film art unlike anything you have ever seen.

This Region 0 DVD release presents the film in 4:3 with English 2.0 audio and optional Dutch, Grench, German and Spanish subtitles. Extras include commentaries by J.G. Ballard and Jonathan Weiss.

Vergeef Me (Forgive Me) - Driven by ideals, director Cyrus Frisch wants to make a film that ends the stream of violence and misery on television. He wants to obtain this by making a film that trespasses the acceptable behaviour in order to make clear where that border precisely lies. He begins to shoot brutal scenes with social outcasts he met on the streets.

When a first edit of these materials is screened on the largest documentary festival in the world, the public and critics are exclusively positive. The filmmaker reacts with outrage: he clearly didn’t succeed in his mission and turns to the devil for help.

The devil convinces him to go even further and to even destroy the lead characters. Without shame, this film shows the exploitation of the sorrow of the ‘actors' and leafs the innocent viewer behind in despair. Is the viewer an innocent voyeur and the film maker an amoral sensational mediafigure, or is the viewer a passive accomplice…

This Region 0 DVD release presents the film in 4:3 with Dutch 2.0 audio and optional English, French, German and Spanish subtitles. Extras include an Epilogue offering 22 minutes of footage and comments.

Aika & Aine (Time & Matter) - A remarkable collection of short films and documentaries for the people of tomorrow. Come see the utopia of plastic architecture. Discover the challenging world of Finnish scientist, artist and philosopher Erkki Kureniemmi, inventor of DIMI (Digital Musical Instruments) series. Witness mysterious scientific experiments, enjoy a symphony for matrix-printers and see a team of robots challenge the reigning world champion football team. Enter the unique and futuristic world of Finnish filmmaker Mika Taanila.

Futuro – A New Stance for Tomorrow
Futuro is a journey back in time to our recent futuristic past. It's a documentary about the rise and fall of the plastic Futuro house, the story of a ‘Space Age’ utopia that almost came true. Documentary turns the history of this forgotten milestone in Finnish design into a story full of international colour and drama. It traces the development of Suuronen's ‘purely mathematical idea’ into a multipurpose commodity which is eventually destroyed by time.

A Physical Ring
Attached to the ceiling, the film camera is aimed at a right angle downward and it reveals a scene in black and white. In the middle of the floor, there is a composition reminiscent of a moving cubistic sculpture. In the centre of the rectangular base, there is a circular board revolved by a belt outside the frame area. This section is encircled by a thin band stretching as far as the borders of the frame area: it vibrates elastically while the electronic soundtrack follows its rhythm. Are we looking at a weird electronic happening or a moving studio set for an old science fiction film?

The Future’s Not What It Used To Be
A documentary film about Erkki Kurenniemi (b. 1941), whose career represents a surprisingly natural blend of music, film, computers, robotics, science and art. His project of collecting everything around him will perhaps be the most significant of all his works. Kurenniemi records his thoughts, observations, objects and images constantly, with manic precision, with the ultimate goal of merging man and machine - reconstructing the human soul. Kurenniemi's story is a fascinating and forceful depiction of a forgotten visionary; it is significant because of the cultural history of the unique, never-before-seen archive material alone. The documentary includes footage of the unique DIMI-instruments developed by Kurenniemi, and segments from unfinished experimental short films from the 1960s. The Future is not what it used to be is a film about the 1960s avant-garde in music and film, the early history of microcomputers and the open questions of 21st century science.

RoboCup ‘99
A sportfilm where the researchers of artificial intelligence share their vision of the future. The film shows the various stages of the third successive tournament, held at Stockholm City Conference Centre in 1999. It culminates in the middle sized robot’s final between Sharif CE Teheran (Iran) and the Azzurra Robot Team (Italy).

Optical Sound
Optical sound continues the series of films by Mika Taanila which deal with technology, humanity, and futuristic ideas. Office technology becomes obsolete very quickly. Old tools transform into musical instruments. The film is based on the Symphony # 2 for 12 Dot Matrix Printers, composed by [The User].

This Region 0 DVD release presents the films in their original formats (a mixture of 4:3 & 16:9, Finnish, Swedish and English 2.0 & 5.1 audio) with optional English, Dutch, Finnish, French, German and Spanish subtitles. Extras include commentary on The Future Is Not What It Used To Be by Mika Taanila and Erkki Kurenniemi and commentary on Optical Sound by [The User]

‘Stereo’ and ‘Crimes of the Future’ Two early films by David Cronenberg

Stereo (1969)

The Future. The Canadian Academy for Erotic Enquiry is investigating the theories of parapsychologist Luther Stringfellow. Seven young adults submit to a form of brain surgery, which removes their power of speech and increases their potential for telepathic communication. An unseen group of students observes the results. As the experiment progresses, Stringfellow’s theories are borne out. Later, aphrodisiacs and various drugs are introduced into the subjects’ diet in order to expose an inherent ‘polymorphous perversity’. Finally, they are isolated from each other, provoking antagonism and violence between them, and two suicides.

Crimes of the Future (1970)
The Future. Millions of post-pubertal females have died from Rouge’s Malady – a disease caused by cosmetics and discovered by mad dermatologist Antoine Rouge. Although Rouge has disappeared (possibly a victim of the disease), his clinic The House of Skin is managed by loyal disciple Adrian Tripod, lost without his master’s guidance. He meets an old colleague at the Institute of Neo-Venereal Disease, whose body is producing mysterious, functionless new organs. With the remaining male population in psychic relapse, Tripod joins the Oceanic Podiatry Group’s therapy programme, but is approached by Tiomkin, who heads a conspiracy of heterosexual paedophiles. Their sole purpose is to impregnate a little girl brought prematurely to puberty to avoid Rouge’s Malady. The girl is kidnapped, but no in the group will impregnate her. Tripod is chosen but hesitates in front of her, sensing the presence of Antoine Rouge….

This Region 2 DVD release presents the films in Anamorphic Widescreen with English 2.0 audio and optional Dutch, French, German and Spanish subtitles.

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