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Reviews for September 24th, 2021

Documentary Round-Up

      The Village Detective: A Song Cycle is a fascinating doc about Russian film history. In 2016, director Bill Morrison learned from his good friend Jˇhann Jˇhannsson, a composer, that a fisherman had found 4 reels of a Russian film from 1969 called Derevenskiy Detektiv in the Atlantic Ocean, 20 miles off the coast of Ireland. The film stars Mikhail Zharov as a detective searching for a missing accordion. That film itself isn't that interesting, but the mystery surrounding how it was lost and found is indeed quite interesting. Morrison investigates that mystery while also introducing the audience to Zharov's body of work as an actor which began in the mid 1910s and ended in the late 1970's. Zharov was more famous in Russia than in the US and many of them, except for Ivan the Terrible are hard to find on DVD. The 4 film prints in the 4 reels of Derevenskiy Detektiv, which translates as Village Detective, were deteriorated after decades of sitting in the muddy bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Morrison shows footage from Derevenskiy Detektiv as well as others like Man from the Restaurant. He commissioned composer David Lang to do Derevenskiy Detektiv's accordion music which brings that film to life. The amount of archival material that Morrison includes is impressive, and it's equally impressive how he incorporates and edits it into the documentary. Film lovers especially will appreciate learning about a lesser known part of Russian film history. Now if only a U.S. film distributor could find a way to get the rights to as many of Mikhail Zharov's film as possible to make them available for U.S. audiences who weren't around to see films like Man from the Restaurant when it played at the Cameo Theatre in NYC back in 1930. At a running time of just 81 minutes, The Village Detective: A Song Cycle opens at IFC Center on Wednesday, September 22nd via Kino Lorber. It's an essential documentary film buffs.

Apache Junction

Directed by Justin Lee


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Saban Films.
Opens at Cinema Village and on VOD.

Dear Evan Hansen

Directed by Stephen Chbosky


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Universal Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

I'm Your Man

Directed by Maria Schrader


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Bleecker Street.
Opens in select theaters.