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The Glass Shield

(Miramax)

Charles Burnett may have the lowest profile of any major
contemporary American auteur, with many key works still virtually
impossible to see. In The Glass Shield, a pair of young cops,
respectively the only black and only female deputies at their L.A.
sheriff’s station, discover a network of deep-seated departmental
corruption while probing into a racially charged murder case.
Mismarketed as a by-the-numbers police thriller upon its 1995
theatrical release (a tactic that may well have contributed to its
lukewarm critical and popular reception), Burnett’s film subtly
subverts the genre with its offbeat performances and unusual
complexity, both visual and moral. Extras include an interview with the
director and a feature on film scoring with composer Stephen James
Taylor.


Ryan: The Special Edition DVD

(Rhino)

Short films are notoriously difficult to market, but this
exceptionally well-conceived disc circumvents the problem by packaging
Ryan, this year’s Oscar winner for best animated short, with
several related works. Chris Landreth’s terrific “animated documentary”
profiles Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who mysteriously dropped off
the map some 30 years ago following a handful of groundbreaking shorts.
This DVD also includes three Larkin films, two earlier shorts by
Landreth, and a 52-minute documentary entitled Alter Egos
(directed by Laurence Green) that delves further into the relationship
between the two men, climaxing with Landreth showing the finished
Ryan to Larkin for the first time.

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