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Small Screen | “Youssou N’Dour” In Focus; “Beeswax,” “Bad Lieutenant” Also

Small Screen | "Youssou N'Dour" In Focus; "Beeswax," "Bad Lieutenant" Also

Fans of Peter Gabriel should be familiar with Youssou N’Dour, the Senegalese musician whose distinctive voice can be heard on a number of Gabriel songs, including “In Your Eyes” from the mid-80s. In Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s documentary, “Youssou N’Dour: I Bright What I Love”, the widely popular musician is in the spotlight as he tries to navigate treacherous waters surrounding the release of his “Egypt” album. The work include a personal exploration of his Islamic faith and issues of tolerance, stirring controversy and charges of blasphemy back home even as the artist increases his international stature.

Oscilloscope Laboratories, the distribution company headed by the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch, is releasing the acclaimed “I Bring What I Love” on DVD this week. As discussed in an indieWIRE article recently, describing the company’s acquisition of DVD rights to “The Maid,” Oscilloscope is defining themselves as a designer DVD label, finding high-quality films and paying particular attention to creating eye-catching and complementary cover art.

Andrew Bujalski’s “Beeswax” (with a B average on our criticWIRE) heads to home theaters. The film, which premiered at the 2009 Berlinale and then played Bujalski’s hometown fest SXSW, watches two sisters (real life sisters Tilly and Maggie Hatcher) deal with a series of issues that come between them. One sister, paralyzed and in a wheelchair, deals with her sister who is sued by her business partner, while the sued sister calls her lawyer ex-boyfriend for legal advice. What follows is a thoughtful legal anti-thriller…that happened to be one of Manohla Dargis‘s favorite films of 2009.

Nicolas Cage’s return to critics’ good graces, “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” also comes home this week. The film, directed by Werner Herzog, is a remake/reimagining/reworking of a film Herzog claims he hadn’t seen, Abel Ferrara’s “Bad Lieutenant.” The film, one of our most rated films on criticWIRE, has received a B average from our trusted set of critics.

Classic French film director Rene Clair’s 1928 silent comedy, “Un chapeau de paille d’Italie” (“The Italian Straw Hat”), will also be relased today. Carl Barnett at Silent Era praises the DVD’s quality, while calling the film “a satisfying comedy of marriage and manners.”

Also on DVD today are Sundance 2009 doc alum “Dirt! The Movie,” Casper Andreas’s “The Big Gay Musical” (a gay fest favorite), the silly New Jersey South Asian community singing competition “Loins of Punjab Presents,” and Kerry Fox’s comeback film, the 2009 Berlinale favorite “Storm.”

Bryce Renninger, an indieWIRE contributor in the New York office, is also the shorts programmer for Newfest and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Media Studies at Rutgers University. He can be reached via Twitter.

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