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Mercury Video Picks

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TAINTED LOVE

Valentine's Day! What could be dreamier than a box of heart-shaped chocolates, your adoring sweetie, and a three-hankie romance grinding away in the VCR? But who needs crap like Sleepless in Seattle? Real love isn't scripted to the plink of violins and lame sitcom jokes. It's bizarre, shocking, possessive, and cannibalistic. Rent one these if you really wanna peep at the creepy-crawlies under that rock in your loved one's heart.

The Night Porter (1974)--Bite into this ultra-bittersweet bon-bon, my little turtle doves, then let's hear you squeak for seconds. An ex-Nazi S.S. officer (Dirk Bogarde) works in a Viennese hotel, where he relives his twisted past with the ethereal concentration camp victim he used to abuse (the ravishing/ravished Charlotte Rampling).

The Pointsman (1986)--If Ingmar Bergman had been addicted to crack, he couldn't have topped this frothy surrealist cupcake (directed by Jos Stelling). In an imaginary Scottish outback, a drop-dead sexy French chick is stranded in a tiny railroad shack with a mute Dutch pointsman. Their affair is poetic, comic, heartbreaking, and deadly.

The Collector (1965)--Terence Stamp is a butterfly collector who captures a leggy young bird (Samantha Eggar) and keeps her under glass a bit too long. A terrific, terrifying look at Everyman's (and Woman's) obsession with "the other," from the John Fowles novel of the same name.

Institute Benjamenta (1995)--Lest you think only the men can crack the whip, witness this masterpiece from the (world-renowned animators) Brothers Quay. Their first live-action film--based on a Robert Walser short story--is a hallucinatory descent into a hermetic school for training servants. Fraulein Benjamenta, using a fawn's leg as a pointer, prods her heartsick student, Jakob, to the brink of madness.

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