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Man of Aran

Man of Aran(1934)

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Home Video Reviews

From cinematic pioneer Robert Flaherty comes two Special Edition DVDs: Man of Aran and Louisiana Story. The Aran Islands is a windswept ocean-carved mass of rocks, and the setting for Robert Flaherty's heroic portrayal of a people living and thriving under the harshest conditions. This Special Edition DVD of Man of Aran features a new high-definition transfer; a documentary about the making of Man of Aran; footage from "Flaherty and Film" with Frances Flaherty and Robert Gardner; Hidden and Seeking; a documentary featuring Frances Flaherty; footage of Robert Flaherty discussing Man of Aran; and a behind-the-scenes gallery.

Louisiana Story is a cinematic pastoral of a young boy's life as it undergoes change imposed by modern industry. For his last great work, Robert Flaherty re-envisioned his own childhood into an Arcadian adventure on the bayou of Louisiana. With an Academy Award-winning score, the Special Edition Louisiana Story on DVD features a brand new high-definition transfer; "Letters Home" a selection of correspondence from cinematographer Richard Leacock to his wife during the production of Louisiana Story; footage from "Flaherty and Film" with Frances Flaherty and Robert Gardner; Hidden and Seeking; a documentary featuring Frances Flaherty; and an excerpt from The Land, a short film Flaherty made for - but never exhibited by - the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Both Man of Aran and Louisiana Story are priced at $29.95 each.

MAN OF ARAN
Directed By Robert Flaherty

"Robert J. Flaherty left the Aran Islands with a truly exalted work...undoubtedly the greatest film tribute to man's struggle against hostile nature." -Pauline Kael

Robert J. Flaherty's award-winning Man of Aran uses stunning location photography and brilliant montage editing to build a forceful drama of life on the Aran Islands. Situated among the frequent and violent storms that slam into its barren landscape, the islands are "three wastes of rock" off the western coast of Ireland. With a small crew, Flaherty spent nearly two years shooting, developing, and assembling footage of the islanders' Herculean efforts to survive in unbearably harsh conditions. Home Vision Entertainment is proud to present this historic masterpiece in a new digital transfer.

*A new digital transfer
*How the Myth Was Made, a documentary about the making of Man of Aran, co-produced by James Brown and George C. Stoney
*Hidden and Seeking, a documentary excerpt in which Frances Flaherty reflects on her life and work with Robert Flaherty
*Flaherty and Film, a filmed discussion between Frances Flaherty and Robert Gardner about the making of Man of Aran
*Looking Back, Robert Flaherty reflects on the two and a half years of production on the Aran isles in this film excerpt
*Outside the Frame, a gallery of production stills, sketches and publicity photos
DVD $29.95

LOUISIANA STORY
Directed By Robert J. Flaherty

Nominated for an Oscar® and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for its musical score, Robert J. Flaherty's last masterpiece is a visually stunning, lyrical tribute to a land and its people. Known as the 'Father of the Documentary', Flaherty fills every frame of this exquisitely photographed film with his poetic vision of nature and the human spirit. Through the eyes of a young Cajun boy living on the Louisiana Bayou, Flaherty tells a story of disruption and change when an oil rig brings industry into his pristine world. Listed on the National Film Registry as a national treasure, Louisiana Story has finally been restored to its original glory.

*Fully Restored by UCLA Film and Television Archive, MOMA, and The Library of Congress
*Aspect Ratio-1.33:1
*Sight and Sound Critics' Poll, One of the Top Ten Films of All Time
*The New York Times, The National Board of Review: One of the Year's Ten Best
1948 * USA * Runtime 79 min. * BW * DVD * English, and Creole *
DVD $29.95

For more information, visit The Criterion Collection web site.
Man of Aran (1934), now on DVD from Home Vision, was documentarian Robert Flaherty's first sound film. It presents the struggles of people living on the island of Aran off Ireland's coast where fishing is tough and crops can't be grown until dirt and seaweed are harvested from rocks. Or at least that's Flaherty's story since he was aiming more for poetic effect than strict naturalism. In fact, the film's "family" was actually unrelated, several scenes were created specifically for the film and as usual Flaherty ignored the economic aspects. But Man of Aran has been recognized as memorable since the time of its release.

The DVD extras on Man of Aran, unlike the extras on his Louisiana Story, are specifically focused on this particular film. How the Myth Was Made is a documentary taking you behind the scenes of the three years it took to make Man of Aran while Looking Back is Flaherty's own view of the events. Flaherty and Film is a filmed discussion between Frances Flaherty and noted ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner (Dead Birds). There's also another excerpt from Hidden and Seeking.

For more information about Man of Aran, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Man of Aran, go to TCM Shopping.

by Lang Thompson