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Kino Lorber releases aim to brighten our day

Dan Webster

There's not much good that can be said about the COVID-19 pandemic. It's caused something like five million deaths around the world, devastated the economy, ruined careers and darkened the future for what might be the next few generations.

Yet this is hardly the first time the world has faced an International crisis. Humankind has weathered pandemics, world wars, autocratic political regimes and a number of natural disasters. And it has — we have — endured.

So whatever the circumstances, and however dire, we seek out whatever comfort and solace where we can find it. Far down the list — following family connection, community service and whatever spiritual process you follow — comes entertainment. And, no surprise, my entertainment of choice involves movies.

Since the current quarantine has forced theaters to close, most movie fans — those lucky enough to have internet access — have indulged their habits through the various streaming services. Day by day, however, movie companies are finding ways to provide content.

Take Kino Lorber, for instance. The company, which was founded just over a decade ago, specializes in distributing what it terms as the "finest Art-house and International films" — a number of which can be accessed through the Magic Lantern Theater.

And now, through its streaming arm Kino Now, the company is opening up even more of its library of some 1,000 titles.

The intent? To make money, of course. But, too, the company wants to improve the country’s emotional state. “(R)ight now,” announced a company press release, “we’re in the mood for something a little more cheerful, and we’re guessing you are, too! So for this week’s feature, we’ve put together a collection of upbeat and offbeat films to brighten your day.”

Some of the released titles: “Boy” (2010), Oscar-winning Taika Waititi’s second film, which focuses on an 11-year-old (and Michael Jackson fan) who reunites with his long-absent father; “Computer Chess” (2013), a period-piece comedy drama about a chess tournament set in the 1980s; and “Seven Beauties” (1975), Italian director Lina Wertmuller’s masterpiece about one man (Giancarlo Giannini) coming of age before, during and after World War II.

So, yes, the pandemic is upon us. And it might feel as if we’re merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. But even on the Titanic, the orchestra continued to play.

And so many movies are out there still to watch.  

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2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.