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November 13, 2005

Why I have "No Shame"

In addition to getting three new releases from NoShame, I was also sent a DVD that includes previews to all of their releases, plus a little documentary on NoShame. The best part of the documentary was seeing Joyce Shen, NoShame Films executive, in action. While the documentary is light-hearted, it does illustrate what steps this company is taking towards film preservation. I also want to publicly thank Ms. Shen for putting my on the screeners list when I didn't even have my site put up.

If Criterion is the gold standard for film lovers and DVD collectors, than NoShame has claimed the silver in less than a year of existence. It should also be noted that NoShame's DVDs are more affordable. Considering the care given to Italian pulp films, I often wish NoShame had done the DVD release of a lot more films. With film after film, there are interviews with stars, directors and screenwriters with care given to all releases. While extra care may be given to such films as Bertolucci's Partner, even an amiable divertisement like The Sensuous Nurse is treated with respect towards the film and filmmakers. Compare that with both Criterion and Twentieth Century Fox, two companies that dropped the ball when it came to having interviews or director's commentaries with their releases of films by Samuel Fuller. The reason I bring Fuller up is because his films generally were not considered worthy of serious consideration at the time of release, typically being violent stories with sordid subjects. While some of NoShame's releases may never be considered classics, there is a consideration given to such filmmakers as Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi and Michele Massimo Tarantini while they are alive that could not be given to belatedly appreciated directors like Fuller, Donald Siegel or Joseph Lewis.

The DVD catalogue also includes an ambitious list of future releases. Some of the titles are familiar, while several are not. After seeing an earlier DVD release that looks like it was made from a trashed 16mm print, I am looking forward to seeing NoShame's release of The Night Evelyn Came out of The Grave. What I am really excited about is that some films by Roberto Rossellini are being prepared for release including Open City and Socrates. Considering that Rossellini is as important to the history of Italian cinema as John Ford is to America, this is big stuff. Open City lay the groundwork for so much documentary style or "guerrilla" filmmaking.

Other future releases include Massacre in Rome starring Richard Burton and Marcello Mastroianni! Films by Valerio Zurlini and Mauro Bolognini, two almost forgotten filmmakers of Fellini's generation are also scheduled. Another film, Down and Dirty is by one of my favorite directors, Ettore Scola. Just for the title alone, I am looking forward to Death Walks with High Heels. I would hope the NoShame crew might consider such filmmakers as Duccio Tessari, the man who made the original Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Ugo Gregoretti, the now forgotten director of the hilarious Omicron. Still, with the DVDs they have given us, I have no shame in expression appreciation for NoShame.

Posted by peter at November 13, 2005 04:32 PM