Top Indie & Foreign Picks Spotlight French Indochina to South Africa | Fast Scans

This month’s top foreign and indie picks on DVD/Blu-ray include a love story amid a growing revolution and a box-office flop that deserves a wider audience. Plus, biting satire, coming-of-age, and films that highlight racial justice.

Empire of Light. 119 min. Fox Searchlight. 2022. DVD UPC 786936895209. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 786936895186. $29.99. Rated: R. DRAMA

While a dilapidated cinema in an early-1980s English coastal town gets spruced up for a special premiere, the service manager with bipolar disorder (Olivia Colman) has an affair with a younger, newly hired Black ticket-taker (Michael Ward) who faces racist jeers outside the cinema but finds solace inside. In a valentine to the unifying force of movies, writer-director Sam Mendes (Skyfall1917) waxes nostalgic about his native country’s movie exhibition, which undoubtedly contributed to his chosen career. VERDICT Fans of the gifted Colman will rejoice in her latest performance. 

Indochine. 161 min. In French w/English subtitles. Sony. 1992. Blu-ray UPC 043396584204. $29.99. Rated: PG-13. DRAMA

In French Indochina, colonial rubber-plantation owner Eliane (Catherine Deneuve) resides with her adopted Vietnamese teenage daughter Camille (Linh Dan Pham) until a naval officer, Jean-Baptiste (Vincent Perez), becomes romantically involved with each in turn. Set in a pre–Vietnam War era of political turmoil, with “communists” determined to reclaim their country, this film from director Régis Wargnier pretty much pulls off a lushly mounted love story amidst a growing revolution. VERDICT This Oscar-winning international film gets a 4K restoration that shows off the beauty of its setting.

She Said. 129 min. Universal. 2022. DVD UPC 191329238448. $19.98; Blu-ray/DVD UPC 191329238455. $24.98. Rated: R. DRAMA

Diligent New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (Casey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) investigate sexual-abuse allegations from reluctant sources against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in the bombshell story that ousted the serial abuser and galvanized the #MeToo movement. Director Maria Schrader brings docudrama realism (real-life survivor Ashley Judd plays herself) in a riveting journalistic procedural not too far short of the benchmark set by All the President’s Men. VERDICT This box-office flop deserves to find its audience.

Triangle of Sadness. 147 min. Criterion Collection. 2022. DVD UPC 715515283212. $29.95; Blu-ray UPC 715515283311. $39.95. Rated: R. DRAMEDY

Young fashion models and cute couple Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) ply their influencer status to get a free luxury cruise in exchange for social-media promotion. Helmed by a quirky captain (Woody Harrelson), this is no “love boat” but a manifest of rich folks who make outrageous demands of a willing crew until a shipwreck compels survivors to fend for themselves on an island where role-reversals rule. VERDICT Robert Östlund (Force MajeureThe Square) serves up another biting satire whose surprise best-picture Oscar nod should arouse interest.

A World Apart. 113 min. Kino Lorber. 1988. Blu-ray UPC 738329261689. $24.95. Rated: PG. DRAMA

Molly Roth (Jodhi May), the 13-year-old daughter of anti-apartheid activists Gus (Jeroen Krabbé) and Diana (Barbara Hershey), struggles to deal with the political exile of her father and the jailing of her mother while being raised in a white South African neighborhood in 1963. Based on the experiences of scripter Shawn Slovo, cinematographer-turned-director Chris Menges offers a powerful coming-of-age story about a young teen’s acceptance of the virtue of sacrifice. VERDICT This Cannes Film Festival winner belongs in collections highlighting racial injustice.

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