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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Home Movies/Out on Digital: July 14

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The Monk

Matthew Lewis’ novel The Monk (1796), a milestone in gothic fiction, is brought to life in French director Dominik Moll’s elegantly filmed adaptation. Capucin Ambrosio (Vincent Cassel) is the most acclaimed preacher in 16th-century Spain, but his spiritual path leads down the road to darkness, masochism—and worse. Suppression only triggers temptation and obsession. In this quiet dramatization, Ambrosio’s preoccupation with evil leads to greater evil.

Combat Girls

Nihilism is almost indistinguishable from Nazism and sex is an expression of violence in this German film about the country’s youthful neo-Nazi subculture. Given the scarcity of Jews in post-Hitler Germany, the chilling brutality of these tattooed skinheads—Sieg Heiling to a death metal roar—is directed against Asians and Middle Easterners. Combat Girls explores the dangerous allure of extremism as a rebuke to bad parenting and a banal society.

War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State

Robert Greenwald’s documentary examines four recent whistleblowers whose revelations changed policies—or at least stirred public debate. When Marine Corps veteran Franz Gayl’s reports on the vulnerability of Humvees to IEDs went unanswered, he leaked his unclassified report to a blogger, which drew attention from Sen. Joe Biden, a front-page story in USA Today and a shift in Defense Department policy. Greenwald uses this and other examples to show how whistle blowing has become integral to the good functioning of democracy.