Second Run DVD brings you Illumination by Krzysztof Zanussi and other releases.
Second Run DVD, the fine UK-based label which is specialized in obscure (but magnificent) releases from East-Europa has some very nice things for us in the future.
First there is Illumination by Krzysztof Zanussi.
Unanimous winner of all three main prizes at the 1973 Locarno International Film Festival, Zanussi's landmark film is a dazzling kaleidoscope of ideas and images. Illumination explores the life of a self-absorbed young physicist trying to understand his place in the universe. He thinks science will provide the answers, but ultimately learns far more about himself through experiencing love, betrayal, loss, and facing his own mortality.
As much a philosophical essay as a narrative feature Illumination is a cinematic mosaic combining art and science, intellect and emotion. Innovatively structured, this unflinching examination of one man's life became an iconic cultural marker for a whole generation.
The DVD is presented from a superb new high-definition restoration of the film, approved by the director and contains the short A Trace (Ślad) - Marcin Latałło's acclaimed 1996 film about his late father, the lead actor in Illumination, Stanisław Latałło plus a new interview with Zanussi and a booklet featuring a new essay by film critic and author Michał Oleszczyk.
Also out is Ikarie XB 1
Jindřich Polák's pioneering and much-imitated feature Ikarie XB 1 is one of the cornerstones of contemporary sci-fi cinema. It predates Star Trek and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and was clearly an influence on both, as well as on almost every other science-fiction work that followed.
Adapted from Stanisław Lem's 1955 novel The Magellanic Cloud, the film is set in 2163 and follows a mission deep into space in search of alien life. During their perilous journey the crew confront the effects of a malignant dark star, the destructive legacy of the 20th century and, ultimately, the limits of their own sanity. With outstanding design and cinematography, Ikarie XB 1 is imbued with a seriousness, intelligence and attention to detail rarely seen in science-fiction cinema of the period. Second Run are delighted to present this seminal work of fantasy cinema for the first time ever in the UK.
The DVD is presented in a new anamorphic transfer with restored picture and sound and features a new filmed appreciation by author and critic Kim Newman and a new essay by writer and film historian Michael Brooke.
Another release is One.Two.One by Mania Akbari.
Mania Akbari, star of Abbas Kiarostami's Ten, is one of Iran's most distinctive filmmakers and One. Two. One is her most confrontational work, whose banning finally led to her exile from Iran.
Composed of rhythmically structured and meticulously planned long takes, the film presents a series of conversational pieces connected to a beautiful woman named Ava whose face has been disfigured in an acid attack. Truths emerge in close-up and a narrative of love, loss and renewal unfolds.
Transgressive and deeply critical of a society where women are considered inferior to men, Akbari also questions the concept of beauty and the weight placed upon it by her society. Her protagonist Ava also functions as a metaphor for the scars her country bears, making this deceptively modest film inherently rich in courage and ideas.
"This disarmingly, deceptively simple film,which takes the form of a series of dialogues, brilliantly played by a sizable cast and directed with a magnificent sense of rhythm, light and movement" Chris Fujiwara