Lion's Gate Home Entertainment, $24.99
OSCAR-NOMINATED among last year's foreign-language movies, this debut feature by Alejandro Gonzᬥz I�itu opened here in April and remains one of my favorite flicks of '01. The resulting DVD is no bells-and-whistles transfer job, but it gets the job done. There are three I�itu music videos for tunes included in Perros; more interesting are three short featurettes that provide background on the dogfights—none were harmed, really!--and harrowing car crash, covered with nine cameras for one unforgettable take.
The behind-the-scenes featurette reveals the seriousness both actors and director brought to the film; their remarks are refreshingly free of the usual Hollywood praise and platitudes. Of the gut-wrenching violence and emotional intensity, I�itu declares, "I think it's a film that can move people's livers."
He and his screenwriter supply a satisfyingly dense commentary track to the feature, again with the same thoughtful tone. Rather than other filmmakers, I�itu lists musicians like Bowie, Led Zep, and the Stones as his influences; later he cites photographer Nan Goldin as an inspiration for Perros' dark, gritty cinematography.
"Life is just a series of losses," the director opines. "In the end, we are what we have lost." It's a bleak sentiment, yet I�itu is also a humanist willing to end Perros with a hopeful, redemptive coda. Check it out.
THIS WEEK'S BIG release is The Phantom Menace, a double-disc set laden with extras. (Alas, the digital erasure of Jar Jar Binks is not among them!) For parents and kids, we'd instead recommend a digitally spiffed-up new edition of the 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which oddly includes Barbra Streisand covering "Someday My Prince Will Come" among its additional features. Close on Snow's heels is 1941's Dumbo (also restored), another excellent family pick. Frances O'Connor is the best thing to recommend about About Adam (due Oct. 23), while sci-fi buffs may protest that Dr. Aki Ross is far bablier in the special edition of Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within.