Twenty-ninth year

1457.) The latest episode on the career of the great, underseen-in-the-U.S., French filmmaker Bertrand Blier focuses on his 2000 film Actors. The film returns to Blier’s earlier full-throttle absurdist mode, as a group of noted French actors wander through various scenes, wondering why their requests are unanswered, why their careers are stalling, and most importantly, who is directing this film they’re in? The film had no distribution in America, but contains a great assemblage of French stars, with Belmondo, Delon, Piccoli, Depardieu, Brialy, and Lonsdale (among many others) putting in appearances – some of which are quite silly, while others are quite poignant. Staying in an emotional mode, the film ends with a very subtle, sweet tribute to Blier’s father, the beloved character actor Bernard Blier.

1458.) Back to the “you ain’t seein’ this anyplace else” department with Peter Greenaway’s unreleased-in-the-U.S. sensory assault Goltzius and Pelican Company (2012). The film weaves a tale around a real 16th–century Dutch printmaker, Hendrick Goltzius who, in this story, makes a proposition to a head of state in Alsace: if the Margate (played by a very lively and terrific F. Murray Abraham) will fund his ventures in publishing, he will put on a show with his traveling troupe of printmaker/performers of the “six sexual prohibitions” found in the Bible. Things get much stranger from there, with Greenaway indulging in all of his favorite passions: creating fictional stories out of colorful periods in European history; top-loading his films with incredibly, blissfully overloaded imagery; using a “painterly” approach to direction; and showing lots of nudity (and/or sex). Here we get all of those elements, in profusion. The cast of Dutch, Italian, and Slavic have rather thick accents in English, but subtitles solve all that (first time I’ve kept the subs on for a film in English), and the cast members seemed fine with Greenaway’s more “sensual” requirements. The film is glorious, yet was never distributed on these shores.

1459.) Certain cult movies hit on several different levels and correspond to many things I’ve covered in the past 28 years of the Funhouse. The 1990 Greek noir-horror-softcore-drama-comedy Singapore Sling is just such a film. Its bizarre retelling of the plot of the classic noir Laura is the foundation of the picture – on top of that are added some beautiful b&w images, much erotic material, a few gross-out moments, some horror-movie elements, broad comedy, and a clear love for both Preminger’s classic (and the hardboiled detective film in general) and cinematic tales of crazy women in “old dark houses.” The film is in circulation on disc but needed to be discussed on the Funhouse because it ties in with Funhouse faves Thundercrack! and The Mafu Cage (both discussed at length on the show), as well as other Funhouse topics, like the “role-play ritual” sex films of Joe Sarno and the “crazy women work over an unwitting male” thriller Death Game. And just when you think you know where it’s going, the two female leads do bits of the Laurel and Hardy dance from Way Out West as Rachmaninoff plays on the soundtrack. The film is the product of the wonderfully warped sensibility of its director, Nikos Nikolaidis, and richly deserves the cult it has gathered in the last three decad

1460.) The day after Xmas, 2021, marks the centennial of the birth of the great comedian-author-songwriter-pianist (etc) Steve Allen. He is a Funhouse favorite now and forever, so this episode begins a short series of shows intended to celebrate that fact. This particular episode focuses on the earlier part of his TV work, which includes the clips that are out “in circulation.” Thus, I’ll be discussing his career and showing a bit from his 1953-54 local NYC late-night show; some existing clips from his years as the host of the “Tonight Show” (a few of which he showed on his prime time variety show, thus “saving” them from the fate that befell the majority of the “Tonight” episodes he hosted, which were burnt by a tape-librarian to free up some shelf space!); and a few clips from his 1956-59 Sunday night primetime show (including the well-loved “Man on the Street” segment – containing a group of comic performers who all ended up achieving further fame as sitcom actors). Some of the clips are from the Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central – they changed the channel name while airing the Steverino shows) presentation of his primetime shows, recorded by me on VHS – so the sound is low, but this material can’t be seen outside of the Paley Center, so low sound it has to be.

1461.) This show will air on the centennial of Funhouse favorite Steve Allen, so I didn’t want to miss doing the episode, even though it’s airing on Xmas weekend. This particular show in the miniseries I’m currently doing devoted to Steve consists of clips from his primetime Sunday night series, “The Steve Allen Show” (1956-’59). During that run of shows, he perfected some of his best-remembered characters (this Funhouse tribute features “The Question Man” and his radio big-band announcer), brought on a range of top-notch talents as guests (he was competing with Sullivan, after all!), and he added more great names to his own ensemble comic actors on the show (I included Pat Harrington, Jr., and Dayton Allen in this ep). These shows were recorded by me when they appeared on Comedy Central in 1990 on VHS, so the sound and picture are uneven, but this material hasn’t aired in the 31 years since (and hadn’t played on TV for 30-plus years before the CC run), and can only be seen at the Paley Center, so I’m saluting century-old Steverino with a nice range of vintage clips.

1462.) Screw-up by Access HQ — episode 1460 shown again.

1463.) My trio of episodes about the centennial of Steve Allen’s birthday closes out with another collection of clips from Steve’s 1956-’60 primetime variety show. While the show did have the two staples of variety shows – celebrity guests and repeated taglines for certain comic characters – it also had an unexpected air, since Steve himself ad-libbed wonderfully (as did some of his comic ensemble) and the combination of guests was so bizarre that the tone of the show would often change from scene to scene. Thus, one sketch would feature a familiar character played by Steve or a cast member, another might simply be a short concept (as in “the panel show that just consists of introducing the guests”), or two guests might embody different eras of entertainment (with the “old” and the “new” being contrasted during one episode of the show). As with the other episodes in this series, I edited this together from tapes I made back in 1990 of Steve’s presentation of his old show clips on Comedy Central. Thus, the sound and picture leave something to desire, but the clips have landed in limbo (no DVD set of Steve’s TV shows is on the horizon, and none was ever released), and so it’s worth turning up the TV to hear certain bits.

1464.) Vintage and re-edited: For the fourth and final (for now) tribute to Steve Allen on the centennial of his birthday, I have digitized an episode that aired in Spring of 2001 (as part of my multi-episode Deceased Artiste tribute to Steve), edited out some of the contents, and added some never-seen-on-the-Funhouse material. This episode is a celebration of the 1967-and-after color series hosted by Steve. First, a discussion of, and clips from, his landmark late Seventies PBS series “Meeting of Minds,” which found him “interviewing” historical individuals and having them debate each other. After that, I move back to his comedy series by showing bits from his infamous “Prickly Heat Telethon” sketch (which was part of his 1967 summer series of primetime specials), the first-ever lengthy comedy sketch that spoofed TV telethons – and it appeared only one year after Jerry Lewis’ MDA telethon aired nationally. (Steve denied it was parodying Jerry, but its most prominent element is a comedian-host who get angrier and angrier as the telethon goes on….) Then it’s on to Steve’s syndicated 1968-’72 talk show, a charming low-budget affair that still had a great deal of energy and innovation and was sadly the last time Steve had an open-ended program on the air.

1465.) We reach the current century in my ongoing presentation of scenes from the films of the great absurdist comic filmmaker Bertrand Blier, whose work is exceedingly hard to find in the U.S. The unseen-in-the-U.S. film this week is Les Cotelettes (2003), Blier’s screen adaptation of his own play, starring the same two actors who performed it in Paris, Philippe Noiret and Michel Bouquet. The plot is a satire of colonialism, with the characters played by Noiret and Bouquet first arguing politics (both seeming quite pompous in their declarations) and then debating the future of the Arabic housekeeper (Farida Rahouadj, Blier’s wife) they have fallen in love with. They both want what they want, but they soon have a weary, old Death (Catherine Hiegel) to deal with. Cotelettes (which translates as “cutlets” or “lamb chops,” as used in the film) may have an over-obvious premise, but the dialogue, performances, and visuals are strong, and Blier came up with an out-of-the-blue ending that saves the film entirely with its absurdity (of a kind Blier has never before used).

1466.) Returning to the work of another Funhouse favorite, Canadian TV auteur Ken Finkleman, this week I present scenes from his 2011 cable series “Good Dog.” The series began as a sort of riff on Larry David’s work, with Finkleman playing the character from his terrific “Newsroom” series wandering around the streets of Toronto complaining to his layabout friend (and having a relationship with a younger, too-chipper model). The show became excellent in its second season (an entirely different incarnation of the series), but “Good Dog” had some excellent moments of cranky, dark humor, including an episode in which the cute model girlfriend wants to convert to Judaism and Finkleman is hellbent on stopping her.

1467.) Moving toward the last films in the career of Bertrand Blier, this week I talk about the last work of his to have a U.S. distribution deal, How Much Do You Love Me? (2005). The film is one of the better plotted of his later farces and has at least two scene-stealing supporting performances. The basic plot involves a schlemiel with heart trouble (Bernard Campan) who tells a hooker (Monica Bellucci) he has won the lottery and wants her to live with him. What he doesn’t know is that she has a husband — a menacing gangster (Gerard Depardieu) who has elegant taste. How Much showcases the characters in Blier’s stylish visuals (with panes of glass and slow zooms adding a distance to the narrative). In the process two supporting characters are allowed to steal scenes: the schlemiel’s doctor friend (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) and a neighbor (Farida Rahouadj, who is Blier’s partner in real life) who lectures the central duo on their lovemaking.

1468.) Returning to the work of Canadian sitcom auteur Ken Finkleman, I offer this week a discussion of, and clips from, Finkleman’s 2012 sequel to his “layabout” show “Good Dog,” titled “Good God.” In this show Finkleman returned to the source of some of his best-remembered comedy, a newsroom – but not just any newsroom, because in this show he made his abrasive, apathetic alter-ego George Findlay the head of a fictitious right-wing Canadian news network (nicknamed “Fox News North” by the characters). The result is a brilliant season of grim comedy that stood as a kind of return to “The Newsroom” (Finkleman’s 1996-2005 CBC hit, syndicated on PBS in the U.S.). Among the many wonderfully dark topics tackled in the batch of episodes discussed here are how to make the proper cable-news apology to an audience (for bad behavior off-camera) and how to manipulate a fake fatwa against one’s one lead commentator.

1469.) My series of shows about the underseen-in-the-U.S. work of the great absurdist filmmaker Bertrand Blier moves to the most recent title to be found with English subtitles (his second to last currently), Le Bruit Des Glacons (2010, aka “The Clink of Ice”). This particular work offers some full-blown absurdist humor tinged with a moving sentimental streak. The plot involves an alcoholic author (Jean Dujardin, THE ARTIST, J’ACCUSE) who is visited in his remote house by a gentleman who declares that he is the author’s cancer. The person who cares the most for the author is his maid, who is also pursued by her own living embodiment of cancer (a bit dowdier, since this cancer is that “of the employee”). Can these two potential lovers have a relationship before their colorful but determined cancers kill them off? Viewers will learn the answer, while also seeing how Blier uses a wonderful collection of music in the film, including pieces by several classical composers, Leonard Cohen, Felix Leclerc, and Nina Simone (singing Brel).

1470.) The second of two episodes about Ken Finkleman’s last (to date) series, the wonderful news/politics/office-life satire “Good God” (2012). In this episode I use scenes from the latter batch of episodes, in which Finkleman’s character George Findlay is desperate to get fired from his post running a right-wing network in Canada (nicknamed “Fox News North”). Finkleman’s devotion to the Old Masters of cinema crops up in this episode in a sequence that references a famous moment from one of Godard’s films. And, as always in Finkleman’s work, the supporting cast get as many laughs as he does – here the familiar faces include Lolita Davidovich, Samantha Bee (playing an airheaded conservative chat-show host, at the same time she was a correspondent on “The Daily Show”), and Annie Murphy (from the sitcom that everyone loves too, too much). As of this airing, Finkleman seems to have retreated from working in television, but hopefully he will return soon, so we can find out what George Findlay is trying to avoid doing next.

1471.) The last (for now) of my episodes about the great satiric French filmmaker Bertand Blier leaves off where he began. Since there is no English-subtitled copy of Blier’s last film (from 2019), I decided to discuss, and show scenes from, the two features he made before he went absurdist in the 1970s. The first is Hitler, Connais Pas! (1963), a carefully edited documentary that is comprised of young people discussing their passions, dislikes, and opinions; Blier edited the interviews so that the film takes on the air of a conversation at points, intercutting comments and looks between the participants (who never met each other). The second is the thriller Si J’etais un espion (1967, aka If I were a spy), which features Blier père (the great character actor, Bernard Blier) as a doctor who gets caught up in a hunt for a presumed Communist spy. This film has its Hitchcockian aspects (as well as the clear influence of Clouzot), and yet it does prefigure Blier’s later absurdist comedies in the weird familiarity of the spy to Bernard B’s doctor character. It also boasts a score by Serge Gainsbourg that at points is more evocative than the scenario.

1472.) Returning to the “Too Good for BBC-America” department, this week I begin a two-episode salute to the unconventional British sitcom “15 Storeys High.” The show was created and co-scripted by, and starred, the wonderfully “dark” standup Sean Lock, who sadly died in late 2021. The premise of the show is simple: an anti-social lifeguard (Lock) who works at a local pool provides “life lessons” for his naive Mancunian roommate (Benedict Wong). Added onto that continuing storyline are odd vignettes from the daily lives of the other inhabitants of the apartment complex that our anti-heroes live in. The result is a delightfully skewed, often grim, view of life on the outskirts of a big city. (In this case, London.) Lock was a solid standup and panel-show regular who found his perfect vehicle in this odd little show, which ran from 2002 to 2004.

1473.) The second of two episodes about the blissfully low-key, anti-social sitcom “15 Storeys High.” The show was created and co-scripted by, and starred, the late Sean Lock, a much-beloved TV presence in the U.K. who crafted the show to fit his standup persona — a perennially cranky gent who has an obstinately peculiar take on the world. The show’s premise — a lifeguard (Lock) at the local pool gives “life lessons” to his naive roommate (Benedict Wong) — is thin but perfect for providing a set-up for complicated confusion. This episode concentrates on the second season of the show (from 2004), which found Lock and his cowriters finding even more embarrassing situations for the characters to fall into.

1474.) Proving that we never grow tired of our favorites in the Funhouse, this week I present the fourth and final part of the tribute to Federico Fellini tribute I started for his centennial. This time out, I focus solely on his last four films (two of which weren’t included in that big ol’ Criterion box). These include his only theatrical political film And the Ship Sails On and what I like to call the three “goodbye films.” In each of these Fellini was bidding farewell to some aspect of his work and life. In Ginger and Fred he had Show Business Past intrude on Show Business Present. Intervista found him saying goodbye to Cinecitta, the studio where he shot some of his masterpieces (and having Marcello [dressed as Mandrake the Magician] and Anita look back at their youthful selves La Dolce Vita). His last film, Voice of the Moon, has Benigni as a poet musing “Where does the fire go when it goes out?” as the past and present are juxtaposed and there is a final plea by Il Maestro for “a bit more silence.” Fellini’s last three films don’t directly focus on death, but they do offer meditations on aging and the past, and thus bounce right up against the wall of mortality (and, a favorite theme in the Funhouse, memory).

1475.) Vintage: This week I move deeper into my “autumn of UK comedy” with a second episode devoted to the work of Glaswegian comedian and Internet wiz Brian Limond, aka “Limmy.” His series Limmy’s Show! (2010-13) showcased his comic characters, as well as his wonderfully dark sense of humor. In this episode I discuss his comedy and show scenes from the second season of the program, with the spotlight on new situations and characters, including a brilliant bit he did a few times about a very grim TV psychic.

1476.) Easter time brings the annual (or nearly annual) discussion of, and excerpts from, Christian melodramas. There are thousands of these suckers accumulating on streaming platforms currently and —– while many are cookie-cutter, Hallmark Channel-type “inspirational” stories — some are truly worthy of interest from those who seek the ultimate so-bad-it’s-good experience. In that area, we have two beauties this week. The first, The Young Believers (2012), is an incredibly innocent morality tale about four teen friends who have avoided drinking, smoking, and anything resembling sexual activity but who are “challenged” as high school graduation approaches. Awkwardly shot and poorly acted, it has some great moments. The second feature, 2025: The World Enslaved by a Virus (2021), is a stunner that was shot in Germany by German filmmakers, albeit in English. The feature imagines a pandemic world where the lockdowns lead to a banning of Christianity (because one of the prime messages in Xtian cinema is that every society cracks down on Xtianity these day – even if they don’t). This results in an underground that finds Xtians spreading their word through old means (spray-paint on walls) and newer ones (live streams and hacking websites). This particular screed is well-shot but it has one lovely element, the German accents possessed by most of the leads, that pushes it into a special area of kitsch cinema (although fans of Neil Breen will recognize the obsessions with hacking and messages of love and brotherhood being spread through technology).

1477.) Easter time means Krazy Kristian movie time on the Funhouse. In this episode, I discuss and show excerpts from not one, not two, but three “micro-budgeted” thrillers made by an intrepid Xtian filmmaker who crafts what amounts to elaborate home videos (usually with a genre-movie plotline) starring her family – her husband, her three young daughters, and herself – in every key role. It’s unique and, as the label goes, “incredibly strange” feature-making in which the most indelibly odd moments in which a family member show up in a rubber mask as an obliquely seen character. You’ll have to see it to believe it.

1478.) Back to the “stuff you ain’t seein’ anyplace else” department with a French New Wave classic that has never been on VHS or DVD or basically any physical medium in the U.S. (and is only rarely shown at rep houses). The film is Adieu Philippine (1962) and it’s the work of filmmaker Jacques Rozier, one of the least-known of the New Wave directors, but the film was touted to the heavens by both Godard and Truffaut. It involves two young women who fall in love with the same young man — the two are impetuous and open-minded and so they “share” him for a time; the young man likes the girls but has his mind on his upcoming military service in Algeria (during the Algerian War). Rozier thus puts a deadly serious event at the core of what is mostly a jovial summer movie, which moves from Paris to Corsica, as the girls follow the boy on his vacation before he is “called up.” Rozier’s editing is inventive and keeps the film breezing along, while the musical soundtrack — consisting of an orchestral soundtrack, pop singles, and a steady flow of cha-cha music — furthers the notion that the film is light-hearted, but the about-to-be-broken hearts of the girls and the confusion of the boy remain at the forefront, even during the lightest, most pleasant scenes.

1479.) Returning to the “stuff you ain’t seein’ anyplace else” dept, this week I present a discussion of, and clips from, Claude Miller’s feature debut The Best Way to Walk (1976). This episode is the first in a series of shows devoted to the work of the great French actor Patrick Dewaere, who committed suicide at the age of 35 in 1982. Best Way was the breakthrough role for Dewaere, who two years before had scored success as part of a comedy team with Depardieu in Blier’s Going Places. Best Way is a more serious film about summer camp counselors in 1960. When Dewaere’s character stumbles onto another counselor’s secret (he likes to dress in women’s clothes), he torments the other counselor in various ways. The result is a twisted relationship between the two that reaches a boiling point in a great costume party sequence at the film’s end. Dewaere delivers a fascinating performance in the film – his character is an asshole bully who is compulsively watchable. Meaning that Best Way started a six-year run of starring parts for Dewaere that lasted until his untimely death.

1480.) A few years back, a friendly viewer noted that he enjoyed the Funhouse but was not as fond of “when you show those commie movies.” (He wasn’t joking.) I can only imagine that this particular episode will not be to his liking as I present a discussion about, and scenes from, Glauber Rocha’s by no means subtle but still stirring allegory The Lion Has Seven Heads (1970) about the fight against colonialism. Shot in Africa, the film finds Funhouse favorite Jean-Pierre Leaud in very high gear, playing a preacher (equipped with a lovely big hammer) who claims he has enslaved a demon – who is in fact a Latin-American radical that has come to Africa to help the local rebels oppose their colonizers. The colonizers are Europeans who hold the locals in contempt and act grotesquely. Rocha’s visuals are influenced by the work of Godard, but his storytelling methods are strictly his own. The musical soundtrack adds to the sensory overload, as Lion works as both a piece of mythology and a rousing allegory.

1481.) Returning to the “stuff you ain’t seein’ anyplace else (in America)” department, in this show I discuss and show scenes from An American Dream (2016), a dark “coming of age” social satire by the great Canadian comedy writer-director-actor Ken Finkleman. Here, Finkleman gives us as a blend of the Dickens coming-of-age model and the “bildungsroman,” set in contemporary, media-glutted America. Our young antihero starts out as a high school athlete, moves on to corporate boardrooms, then evangelical salesmanship, and ends up as the prey in a reality show execution contest. In the meantime, he “sees through” certain tragic incidents he witnesses and is given the unvarnished truth in a brilliant scene that mocks The Matrix. The film played only in the U.S. at certain film festivals, so I’m happy to present Finkleman’s amusing American nightmare to an audience that will never have seen it.

1482.) Returning to French film for a light sex farce, this week I present scenes from Catherine and Co. (1975), a Jane Birkin vehicle that follows a free-spirited British woman in Paris. Birkin’s character is quite “giving” with her sexuality, but she never, ever would consider being a prostitute. When one of her bed partners (Jean-Claude Brialy) explains the principles of small businesses to her, she incorporates herself and makes her regular bedmates “investors” in her corporation. This farce, coscripted by later noted filmmaker Catherine Breillat, is a quite genteel softcore film, in that the only simulated sex is seen between Birkin’s character and her true love, played by Patrick Dewaere; both she and he begin to prize the money they “fall into” and this becomes a turning point for their relationship. The film is a pleasant enough sex comedy but it is transformed by the lead performers (an ensemble that also includes Jean-Pierre Aumont) into a charming trifle that made quite a lot of money in its day.

1483.) Back to the “You Ain’t Seein’ This Anyplace Else” dept for another comedy feature with the late, much missed, Patrick Dewaere. Coup de Tete (Hothead, 1979) is a wonderful comedy about that most basic of emotions, vengeance. Dewaere plays a small-town guy who hates his small town, as he works in the local factory and plays soccer for the company-owned local soccer team. He is an expendable worker/player – or so they think – so when the team’s star player rapes a woman one night, Dewaere is framed by the police and team coaches. That same player has problems playing in a championship game, and so Dewaere is released from prison for one weekend to play soccer (whaddya want, it’s a comedy!). He then wreaks his revenge on the town he’s hated all his life in glorious fashion. The film was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and scripted by comedy specialist Francis Veber (The Tall Blonde Man…, La Cage Aux Folles).

1484.) The third and last (for now) discussion of and tribute to “Limmy’s Show!” features a final burst of the Glaswegian comedian’s trademark dark humor and anti-social behavior. Running bits include a little scientific riddle, the most annoying person to encounter at a picnic in the park, and a psychic who has very bad news for everyone in his studio audience.

1485.) The “Too Good for BBC-America” department returns, with an episode in which I discuss and show scenes from the third and final season of the series “The League of Gentlemen.” The show is a sketch comedy series set in a particular North London village in which a number of creepy and often homicidal individuals live. By the third season, however, the three performers in the LoG ensemble (and their colleague, a writer who is not a performer) came up with a sextet of episodes that featured longer, more detailed stories about some of the town’s inhabitants. The season was disliked by many of the group’s diehard fans, but for the most part its stories work perfectly out of context (whereas, even their subsequent feature film depended on a knowledge of the original series). The episodes I discuss and excerpt from this evening have some wonderfully dark and grim moments, showing to great effect the talents of the show’s stars: Mark Gatiss (better known these days as the co-creator of the Cumberbatch “Sherlock”), and Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (who have gone on as a duo to create two very fine TV series of their own).

1486.) As a birthday episode this year, I give a gift to the viewers: the first of two episodes about the incredibly rare, never released in the U.S., anthology Chacun son cinema (2007, aka To each his own cinema). Made to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, the film is a compilation of shorts from over 30 famous filmmakers from around the world (including a handful of souls who are Funhouse favorites I’ve devoted multiple episodes to). I first showed shorts from the film in 2010 (rerun in 2011), but that was when copies of films gleaned from the Net were sorta glitchy, and I now have a perfect (and perfectly subtitled) copy of the film. Thus, I discuss the personalities who are saluted in the shorts (most of them pertaining to either French or American cinema) and run through the names of the artists who directed the shorts. The theme is the moviegoing experience (in theaters – no home viewing), and the resulting shorts are quite emotional, as several of the filmmakers harken back to their childhood or the moment when they saw a film that made them want to be a director. All kinds of different theaters are seen and the entries are, again, quite moving and in some cases very funny.

1487.) Part 2 of two episodes discussing and showing short films from the 2007 anthology feature Chacun son cinema. Created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, the film features more than 30 reflections on the moviegoing experience (in theaters, no home screens!) from an incredible assortment of noted filmmakers from around the world. The film has never been officially released in the U.S. and so I’m glad to return to it for the first time since I excerpted shorts from it in 2009, as I’ve obtained a much better copy of it, and it *still* hasn’t played over here in the ensuing 13 years. The shorts each run three to four minutes, and most are quite wonderfully moving.