a Healthy Disdain


If you fancy yourself a film snob and have yet to discover The Auteurs, allow me to do you a huge favour: Join The Auteurs.

Part film-fan-Facebook, part on-demand cinematheque, The Auteurs is an online community devoted to the discovery, discussion, and celebration of cinema.  The site was established in partnership with The Criterion Collection, and very much shares Criterion’s dual ethos of preserving exalted classics and promoting lesser-known gems.  Premised on the aptly disdainful credo  “popular doesn’t always mean good”, The Auteurs caters to those with diverse appetites and discerning taste.

Films are available via a browser-based streaming service, compatible with both PC and Mac, and are readily expandable to full-screen HD.  The site itself is completely free to join, and, amazingly, many of its films are also completely free to watch.  Indeed, thanks to the sponsorship of Stella Artois, Auteurs members can, for a limited time, access a selection of Cannes Festival favorites entirely free of charge.  While precise availability varies by region, the offerings include films by Frederico Felini (Amacord), Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle), Wong Kar-wai (Happy Together), and others, as well as Lars Von Trier’s 2000 Palme D’Or winner, Dancer in the Dark.  For the full lineup, visit this link.

Even if you prefer to do your viewing elsewhere, The Auteurs remains an essential resource for web-savvy cinephiles, thanks to its elegantly-designed database and robust social networking features.  The site tracks user ratings, reviews and favorites, making it easy to discover related films and filmmakers, and to connect with like-minded film buffs.  As a handy bonus, the discussion forums also have a notably lower douchebag quotient than do IMDB’s.

Register ASAP to take advantage of the Cannes special presentation, which runs until June, and once you’ve done so, feel free to hit me up via the user search page (Julian Carrington).


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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