a Healthy Disdain

April 1, 2010, 3:26 am
Filed under: Film Snobbery 101 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Any competent film snob knows that foreign films are the best films around.  Not only is there a significant likelihood that they will feature nudity, but cultivating an appreciation for foreign cinema has the added benefit of causing you to appear both intelligent and worldly.  If there’s a drawback to foreign films, however, it’s that they come from foreign countries, and to travel abroad every time you wanted to catch a flick would be both time-consuming and expensive.

While many foreign films are available on DVD in North America, some of the very best foreign films are not.  Meanwhile, those that are available are often needlessly difficult to access, excessively pricey, or both.  Thanks to the advent of online retail, one means to overcome this dilemma is to purchase foreign films directly from foreign retailers, via the Internet.  Even alllowing for currency exchange rates, this method can be far less expensive than buying foreign films domestically, and offers a greater variety of titles to choose from.

“Problem solved!”, you’re thinking.  And, but for a few important steps, you’re nearly right.  The last task is to ensure that your North American DVD player will play your newly acquired foreign DVDs.  In general, DVD players sold in North America are “region-locked”, and will not read foreign discs.  Happily, it’s often possible to “unlock” a player, via a simple circumvention procedure, or “hack.”  Video Help is a website dedicated to providing instructions as to how to unlock various DVD players, complete with a handy search function to assist in finding hacks for specific makes and models.

In the event that there are no known hacks for your current DVD player, I suggest purchasing a new player for which a hack is available.  “Woah, there,” you may be thinking, “I’m not a rapper!”  You needn’t worry; DVD players are now typically very affordable.  I can personally recommend the Toshiba SD7200, which is currently available at Future Shop for under $60.  It has up-conversion capabilities, a handsome exterior, and, best of all, is easily hacked – see Video Help for specific instructions.

The one caveat to this method is that you will need an HD-ready television set to accommodate the foreign video signals produced by foreign DVDs.  If you don’t have an HDTV, you can nonetheless experience foreign films with the aid of your personal computer.  Simply download and run the VLC Media Player, insert your foreign DVD, select “Open Disc”, and voila!  The magic of foreign films will be yours to enjoy, and recognition as an intelligent and wordly individual will be soon to follow.


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