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Out on Video

A weekly update of video releases

THE SEVENTH CONTINENT - Driven literally insane by the mind-numbing routines of their outwardly comfortable life, the members of a middle-class family decide to end it all in a methodical orgy of destruction, aimed at themselves as well as the material goods that have dominated their existence. Michael Haneke is one of Austria's most internationally popular filmmakers, and this fact-based 1989 tragedy is perhaps his most chillingly effective work. Its unsparing pessimism about the sanitized superficiality of modern society is certainly not for the squeamish. (Not rated; Cinema Parallel)

SOLO FLIGHT: THE GENIUS OF CHARLIE CHRISTIAN - During the Depression years, Charlie Christian took the unprecedented step of plugging his guitar into an amplifier and playing full-fledged melodies instead of background harmony riffs, opening bright new horizons for the art of jazz. This bouncy essay-film traces his life from his birth in rural Texas to his early fame in Oklahoma City, where a virtual African-American renaissance was going on, and then to his stint with Benny Goodman's swing-era sextet. Also explored is Christian's contribution to the revolutionary "bebop" style, which he pioneered with jazz giants like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. The only complaint: There's more talk than music on the video, which means a newcomer to Christian might not get a full idea of how his playing really sounded. Directed by Gary Don Rhodes. (Not rated; View Video)

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TRISTANA - An innocent young woman goes to live with her wealthy but hypocritical uncle, entering a power struggle that takes many ironic twists before reaching its sardonic conclusion. This ranks with the subtlest and sparest films by Spanish director Luis Buuel, whose penchant for surrealistic touches and sly social criticism has never been more cleverly applied. The star-studded cast includes Catherine Deneuve as the heroine, Fernando Rey as her aristocratic uncle, and Franco Nero as her handsome boyfriend. Nominated for best foreign-language picture in the 1970 Academy Award race. (Not rated; Home Vision)

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