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An occasional update of video releases

* HEART OF DARKNESS Based on Joseph Conrad's chilling novella, this made-for-TV melodrama stars Tim Roth as a sailor penetrating the African wilderness in search of an ivory trader who has gone insane and become as savage as the jungle surrounding him. John Malkovich is less intense than usual as the mad Kurtz, and director Nicolas Roeg never finds the harrowing originality of his best movies. Still, the tale retains much of its unsettling power. (Turner Home Entertainment, Atlanta)

* POWER AND THE LAND - Recruited by the United States government to promote New Deal programs in the 1930s, several of the period's most distinguished artists joined forces to produce some of the most eloquent documentaries ever made. Of the four on this cassette, the greatest is ``Power and the Land,'' in which director Joris Ivens and writer Stephen Vincent Benet make cinematic poetry from the story of a rural Ohio family that gets a much-needed electrical hookup from a government program. ``The River'' and ``The Plow That Broke the Plains,'' directed by Pare Lorentz with music by Virgil Thompson, focus on ecological problems, and ``The New Frontier'' visits an experiment in communal living. A fascinating journey through byways of Depression history. (Kino Video, New York)

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* NUTAMARO AND HIS FIVE WOMEN - The hero of this Japanese drama is an 18th-century artist with a passion for painting women. This is a perfect subject for filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi, who often focused on female characters during his long career, and brought to his movies a painterly quality much influenced by traditions of Japanese art. The plot begins with a bang, as a rival artist challenges Utamaro to a duel for insulting his style, then shifts to a leisurely pace more representative of Mizoguchi's mature work. The delicacy of his images must be seen to be believed. First released in 1946. (New Yorker Video, New York)

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