An occasional update of video releases.


Alfred Hitchcock directed these brief thrillers during World War II, as his contribution to the Allied cause. They were deemed too nuanced and complex for propaganda purposes, however, so they were shelved and forgotten until recently. The first shows a British soldier's escape from occupied France, then reshows it with new information that casts doubt on the hero's view of what really happened; the second tells a tale of jealousy and revenge in Madagascar under the Vichy government. Neither is a major work, but both are fascinating examples of Hitchcock's artistry under most unusual circumstances. (Milestone Film & Video, New York) * HOUSEHOLD SAINTS

This deeply moving story of an Italian-American family begins with the ironic experiences of a newly married woman, her unsophisticated husband, and her superstitious mother-in-law; the second half focuses on her highly religious daughter, whose faith is strong and heartfelt but grows increasingly obsessive in tone, worrying the people who care for her. Directed by Nancy Savoca, who combines great sensitivity to everyday detail with touches of ``magic realism'' that carry the film close to sublimity in its best moments. Lili Taylor gives an especially rich performance as the daughter who is either blessed, cursed, or both.

(Columbia TriStar Home Video, Burbank, Calif.) * NATIVE LAND - Trials and tribulations of the American labor movement are the subject of this splendidly experimental movie, which shifts between drama and documentary as it beats the drum for progressive ideals of freedom, equality, and solidarity. The picture was produced in 1942 by Frontier Films and crafted by prominent members of that politically oriented collective, including Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand, who directed it; Marc Blitzstein, who composed the score; and Paul Robeson, who intones the poetic narration. (Kino Video, New York)

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