Today’s Roger DVDseed donation — in which I donate a disc to a public library I pass by, spreading fine cinema across America, one disc at a time — is a movie I just reviewed, now on BluRay via Film Movement.
“Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” is one of two films by Japanese auteur Ryûsuke Hamaguchi released last year. The longer “Drive My Car,” about an actor/director rehearsing a play in the Japanese hinterlands, reconsidering his life and marriage on daily rides to the theater in which a young chauffeur is contracted to drive his beloved Saab 900 Turbo, is getting a lot of Best International Feature Oscar buzz. But the shorter “Wheel” makes a fine companion piece and introduction to Hamaguchi’s slow, talky and contemplative cinematic style.
Today’s lucky library? It’s the newly-built version of the small-town library I grew up with. South Boston — the one in Virginia — was a provincial tobacco-and-textiles town when I lived there. Culture was pretty hard to come by.
But after school, I could duck into an oasis of books, and a collection of magazines that I tore through once I discovered the film reviews of Pauline Kael, Stanley Kauffman and (in book collections) Andrew Sarris.
Many of the movies they reviewed might not be remotely accessible in that pre-Internet, pre-DVD, pre-VHS era. The local cinema was closed for years at a time, but re-opened intermittently enough for me to get bitten by the movie buff bug. Visiting the library afforded me the chance to read interesting criticism about all the movies small towns like mine would never see…until technology intervened.
So, as I say in all of these “donate a DVD to a library” posts, we all owe libraries a lot, me more than most. Pay’em back in DVDs.
Let’s hope somebody here in “Sobo” checks out this new BluRay and a little light bulb goes off for them the way it did for me.