- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

The movie connoisseur can be one of the most difficult people to buy for — especially if you don’t have a list of what’s in his (likely impressive) DVD collection.

Not this holiday season.

Buy your friend a subscription to Film Movement’s DVD Movie Club. Twelve times a year, the service sends out an award-winning independent or foreign film that isn’t otherwise available on DVD. It probably hasn’t even shown in your local art-house theater.

Film Movement, a direct-to-consumer distribution company, says it’s “like having an entire film festival delivered to your door,” and it’s not far off. The films are chosen carefully by a board of curators that includes the directors of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival and the American Film Institute. (The latter also is the original programmer of the Sundance Film Festival.)

November’s film was “Something Like Happiness,” a feature from the Czech Republic that won seven Czech Lion Awards earlier this year and was named best film at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Festival du Nouveau Cinema de Montreal. The quiet drama follows three struggling young friends who have complicated relationships with their families and each other.

The month before that, subscribers received “Men at Work,” an Iranian comedy about middle-class men with midlife crises who become obsessed with moving an immovable rock.

Each DVD is the subscriber’s to keep and includes a short film alongside the feature. Previous shorts include the first films by Sofia Coppola (“Marie Antoinette”) and Mike Mills (“Thumbsucker”).

A “film club” feature on the Web site offers discussion guides and press kits for each film to encourage subscribers to have their friends visit to talk about each movie.

Memberships are available in three-, six- and 12-month subscriptions. At 20 percent off the monthly price, these long-term subscriptions start from $13.25 per month.

If you’re looking for a treat for yourself this holiday, you can get started with your own month-to-month membership for just $1 for your first film.

To give that independent and foreign-film lover a gift he’ll enjoy all year, go to www.filmmovement.com.

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