Issuing their first releases little more than a year ago, the U.K.-based Second Run DVD has rapidly become the most exciting label around. Eschewing the canonical focus of industry giants like Criterion, in just fifteen months this upstart company has managed to release a slew of esoteric but essential works from the around the world. Theyâ€™re shepherds of the under-represented, releasing films not based on their sales potential, but because they love them.
A sampling of their most exciting releases includes:
â€¢ Nighthawks (1978)â€”the first British film to accurately depict the life of a gay man in London.
â€¢ Portrait of Jason (1967)â€”a confessional conversation with an African-American gay hustler by avant-garde filmmaker Shirley Clarke.
â€¢ Avenge but one of my two eyes (2005)â€”a controversial documentary the cycles of violence surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian situation today.
â€¢ Blissfully Yours (2002)â€”the resplendent 2002 feature from Thai-phenom Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Best of all, theyâ€™ve tied together a wildly varying group of films by embracing a cohesive aesthetic for the packaging of all their releases. The covers are generally composed of an emblematic still from the film and a generous area of stark white space. The titles are always rendered in a vibrant solid color, that same color running down the caseâ€™s spine, giving them a sharp, singular look when lined up on your shelves.
Available from Amazon U.K., these are the DVDs that will charm any film-love on your list.
By Michael Talbott