SHE CAN’T SPEAK. SHE CAN’T SCREAM. SHE CAN’T BEG FOR MERCY.
Working on a low-budget horror film in Russia, Billy Hughes (Marina Zudina), a mute American makeup artist, witnesses a brutal murder on a movie-set, however her claims are doubted by her friends and by Moscow police. Still, the killers know the truth and the instructions received from their underworld boss is clear: no witnesses. So begins a night of terror for Billy as she struggles to save her own life and trust a KGB agent (Oleg Yankovskiy) who claims to be her saviour.
Anthony Waller’s Mute Witness is an expertly made thriller comparable to the classic suspense of Alfred Hitchcock and Wait Until Dark and the contemporary shocks of Brian de Palma and Silence of the Lambs. Watch it and be left speechless.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand-new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Surround Options
- Audio commentary with writer-director Anthony Waller
- Speaking Up, new interview with actress Marina Zudina
- Bearing Witness, new interviews with actors Fay Ripley and Evan Richards
- Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Steven Jay Schneider
If you’d have asked me ahead of time which two films of these last 10 films I’ve watched would deserve mention here, I would not have picked Ken Rodgers’ The Two Bills or Corrado Farina’s They Have Changed Their Faces, but here we are anyways.
- Voice Without a Shadow (Seijun Suzuki, 1958)
- The Two Bills (Ken Rodgers, 2018)
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017)
- Duel at Yagyu Valley (Eisuke Takizawa, 1945)
- Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2017)
- Masterminds (Jared Hess, 2016)
- Festival (Murray Lerner, 1967)
- They Have Changed Their Faces (Corrado Farina, 1971)
- Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future (Peter Rosen, 2016)
- The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat (Michael Dorsey, 2014)
I must admit that I was beginning to believe that the long format 30 for 30 documentary had lost its lustre. I still thought that the short films had vitality and the capacity to transcend what had become the 30 for 30 house style and I believed that the podcasts were effectively standing on their own. This was in large part due to the greater apparent freedom in the shorts and the pods to select less popular but more interesting topics. The Two Bills was a welcome relief from my feelings that 30 for 30 had peaked with O.J.: Made in America and was now just running on feel good/bad war stories that were actually little more than recitals of facts. Ken Rodgers’ documentary explores the relationship between NFL coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick and it is a fascinating look at the non-game day world of sport and of the sometimes harsh business of professional football. It is also an intriguing view on the collaborative/competitive existence of men eager in their professional and personal lives to avoid “distractions.” The Two Bills poses questions it often struggles to answer, but reveals more fascinating things in the process.
Corrado Farina’s They Have Changed Their Faces transplants Jonathan Harker’s visit to Castle Dracula to modern day Italy and employs a metaphorically Marxist approach to vampirism. Giuliano Esperanti is a mid-level employee in a car company who is brought to the owner’s mansion and offered control of the business. The owner, Adolfo Celi as “Giovanni Nosferatu” (no kidding), is not what he seems and is exactly what you expect, and the film is even weirder. Roaming packs of Fiats guard the estate, radio ads play in the mansion as specific products are used, and Francesca Modigliani provides some gialli skin as a topless hitchhiker. Worth a look if expectations are modest and curiosity for something unusual is high.
I made a resolution this year – go to more film festivals and special programs – and I’m happy to say I’ve been sticking to it. I’ve had the chance to see Q&As with Bill Morrison and Charles Burnett and later this month I’ll be attending some screenings put on by the Alliance Française that includes Philippe de Broca’s That Man From Rio (1964), Jacques Tati’s Jour de Fête (1949), Albert Dupontel’s See You Up There (2017), Bertrand Tavernier’s My Journey Through French Cinema (2016), and Claude Zidi’s My New Partner (1984) with introduction by Kevin MacDonald of The Kids in the Hall! Still, none of this compares to my film plans for April.
From the 5th to the 8th, I’ll be attending the Cannes of Appalachia: The Chattanooga Film Festival. Opening night films and two waves of titles have been announced and CFF 2018 already looks amazing. Scheduled to appear are past MMC! favourites like November, Lowlife, Five Fingers of Death, and The Super Inframan. I’ll be hard pressed to catch everything I want see, but there’s a good chance you’ll find me at showings of Lu Over the Wall, Tigers Are Not Afraid, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, RBG, Ramen Heads, and Let Corpses Tan. CFF 2018 even boasts the world premieres for Lisa Downs’ Life After Flash, Skizz Cyzyk’s Icepick to the Moon, Andre Gower’s Wolfman’s Got Nards, Casey T. Malone’s Lesser Beasts, Mike Testin and Matt Mercer’s Dementia Part II, and David Ian McKendry and Rebekah McKendry’s All the Creatures Were Stirring. With 42 features already revealed, it’s hard to imagine two more waves of announcements still to some. Hachi Machi! Check back in April for my report on CFF 2018!
I’ll also be attending the latest Architecture + Design Film Festival Winnipeg running from the 18th to the 22nd. This year’s program includes documentaries on designer Ruth Adler Schnee; landscape designer Piet Oudolf; architects like Rem Koolhaas, Kevin Roche, Albert C. Ledner, Bjarke Ingels, and Glenn Murcutt; subjects like the National Gallery of Ireland, Integral House, Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Maggie’s Centres, and Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion; and even a walking tour of the city’s ghost signs. This looks like a wonderful program and the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation should be credited for programming a number of screenings that are free to the public. Check back at the end of April for a “Trailer Tuesday” summary of the A+DFF.
It’s another splendid month of announcements from the Criterion Collection. Without any doubt, I’m most interested in the release of Frank Borzage’s Moonrise (1948). This is mainly due to my fascination with MoMA’s recent program, Republic Rediscovered. Presented in two halves, with the first having wrapped up earlier this month and the latter half arriving in August, the series is presented by Martin Scorsese and the Film Foundation and offers 30 new restorations (compliments of Paramount Pictures) from the acclaimed poverty row studio, Republic Pictures. Moonrise will join the Criterion Collection in May and screen as part of the program’s second half in August. Until then, enjoy Gina Telaroli’s wonderful trailer.
MMC! is happy to report that our plaintive cries into the cinematic darkness have been answered once again, this time by Arrow Films! The label’s May 2018 announcements for the Arrow Video line dropped this morning and amongst a stacked collection of six announcements (including 3 North American editions, one of which is Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left!) is Michio Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy. The upcoming Arrow Video edition even includes a video appraisal by Kim Newman and writing by Jasper Sharp, although nothing from MMC! 😦
I am happy to say we had this one back in May 2015 and I encourage readers to check out that post as it includes a variety of links to other articles on the films, most notably Jasper Sharp’s review of Lake of Dracula.
MMC! was lucky enough to see Kier-La Janisse’s latest Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cartoon Party and the best of the program was Jerry Lieberman’s Huff ‘n Puff, an anti-smoking PSA for the American Cancer Society that riffs on the story of the Three Little Pigs with some strange gallows humour. We could only assume that the Big Bad Wolf died just after the short ended. The short seems to have been part of a larger campaign that included an illustrated story offered as a pamphlet. (If anyone knows the year this animated short was produced or released, I’d appreciate the info!)