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The Mirror of Soul: The Forough Farrokhzad Trilogy and Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away

Reviewed by Shawn Badgley, Fri., April 6, 2007

DVD Watch
DVD Watch

The Mirror of the Soul: The Forough Farrokhzad Trilogy

Facets, $29.95 (April 24)

DVD Watch

Imagining Anne Sexton in Iran, Westerners might get a better idea of her contemporary and the subject of Nasser Saffarian's three-part documentary. God, I sound like a music critic writing something like that, and it's probably unfair to Forough Farrokhzad, who would transcend the confessionalism and sexual politics of her early poetry with 1963's Another Birth and even become something of a filmmaker with The House Is Black that same year. Bernardo Bertolucci made a film about her back then, and in The Mirror of the Soul, passages from his footage – and from her poetry set to music – elevate what is otherwise a rather grave series of anecdotal interviews with family, friends, and fellow artists. Supplemented by essays from Susan Doll and Chris Marker, the resulting biography is as beautiful and aware of the world around it as Farrokhzad's best work.

DVD Watch

Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away

Image, $14.99 (April 24)

The 2006 Comedy Central special shot at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto is solid enough – I've always found filmed stand-up lacking – but the tacked-on 1999 IFC short film "One Solider" is as spectacular as black-and-white deadpan can get. For a half-hour, Wright wanders around bored but anxious in Union blues wondering in voiceover about life and death: along a rocky beach with a horse, at a table restlessly consulting an hourglass by candlelight, painting a music staff on the lenses of his glasses and then "playing" the night sky – the stars serving as notes – on his accordion. His wife, Becky (Sandi Carroll), is skeptical and unimpressed. "Is that whiskey?" he asks her at one point, presumably because he has driven her to drink. "No," she says after taking a swig from the bottle. "It's the tears of the devil after he laughed so hard thinking about what he's gonna do to you."


Also Upcoming

Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection

Warner Home Video, $26.98 (May 15)

Just think of what Becky might say to this puppy. Twenty-four animated shorts – from the debut "Dumb-Hounded" to the Oscar-nominated "One Droopy Knight" to the star-making "Deputy Droopy" – collected on DVD for the first time, plus featurette "Droopy and Friends."

Jean Renoir: 3-Disc Collector's Edition

Lions Gate, $29.98 (April 24)

As with February's Hitchcock box, Lions Gate goes way back with a big name while taking production and packaging cues from Criterion. Seven Renoirs are collected here, many of them early efforts – Whirlpool of Fate (1925), Nana (1926), "Charleston Parade" (1927), "The Little Match Girl" (1928) – and others simply lesser-seen ones like 1959's The Doctor's Horrible Experiment.

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