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Out on Video

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI - Once upon a time, making a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster didn't necessarily mean shaking the screen with flamboyant action and high-tech special effects. Although it's certainly an epic in size and length, this 1957 classic doesn't really care about its cast of thousands - only a handful of characters are ever developed to any degree - and its explosive climax is visually tame by today's standards. In addition to its ingenious plot, about British officers helping the Japanese build a bridge in Burma during World War II, what makes it memorable are its intelligent acting and its exquisitely ironic perspective on the absurdities of military thinking. The film won seven Academy Awards including best picture, best actor for Alec Guinness, and best director for David Lean. Released in Columbia TriStar's Studio Heritage Collection; be sure to get the "letterboxed" cassette that preserves the movie's original shape. (PG; Columbia TriStar Home Video)

CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING - "Alice in Wonderland" meets "Groundhog Day" in this endlessly surprising 1974 comedy about a librarian and a magician who investigate a mysterious house where the same melodramatic events happen every day. Directed by Jacques Rivette, a founding member of France's brilliant New Wave movement and still one of the world's most inventive filmmakers. He has a special knack for exploring women's experiences through improvisatory screenplays. Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier head a gifted cast that also includes Bulle Ogier, Barbet Schroeder, and Marie-France Pisier. (Not rated; New Yorker Video)

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LA DOLCE VITA - The late Marcello Mastroianni gives what might be his most celebrated performance in Federico Fellini's legendary 1960 drama, about a Roman journalist whose jaded curiosity brings him into contact with a wide range of contemporary decadence. As usual, Fellini emphasizes vivid spectacle over thoughtful analysis, but his powerful images still carry a strong social and psychological punch. (Not rated; Republic Pictures Home Video)

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