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Animal Charm—Golden Digest
(Other Cinema)

Recycling the likes of nature documentaries, corporate training tapes, and infomercials, Jim Fetterley and Rich Bott (a/k/a Animal Charm) re-edit the most banal of cultural detritus into incisive video-art social commentary. Manipulating the images through all sorts of techniques—slow motion, split-screen, digital zooms, Kuleshovian juxtapositions, audio looping—the 23 Animal Charm videos on this disc effectively reclaim the political valence of sampling. The overall feel is one of deconstructive fun, but Animal Charm unlock the horrors underlying their seemingly harmless source material, most strikingly the domestic disturbance of "Ashley" and corporate dread of "Mark Roth."

Lower City
(Palm)

Two lifelong friends both fall for a beautiful young woman (City of God's Alice Braga) in this grungy Brazilian drama. The love triangle narrative wears thin by the halfway point, but first-time feature director Sérgio Machado creates a convincing sleazoid atmosphere.

Playtime
(Criterion)

This two-disc release of Jacques Tati's masterpiece comes loaded with new features: an alternate soundtrack, a behind-the-scenes documentary, a short biographical film about Tati, a 1976 BBC program on the director's Hulot films, a video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot, an audio interview with Tati, and a new essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. Absolutely essential.

 
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