The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (U)

Second Run, £14.99

A HUGE influence on Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam (who filmed his own version in 1988), Karel Zeman's 1961 Czech classic comes to DVD courtesy of East European specialists Second Run complete with a lengthy documentary about Zeman featuring both Gilliam and Burton, and a filmed appreciation by noted film historian Michael Brooke. There's plenty for all to praise in a film which manages to be funny, philosophical and satirical at the same time as being dizzyingly inventive in its mix of live action and animation. If you want the source book for virtually everything Gilliam did from Monty Python onwards, this is it.

Zeman sticks fairly closely to Rudolph Raspe's 1785 novel, though an opening sequence in which the Baron (Miloš Kopecký) and his friends Cyrano de Bergerac and Jules Verne encounter a spaceman on the Moon clearly isn't in the original. From there it's off to Ottoman-era Constantinople to rescue a Princess (Jana Brejchová), then a sea voyage which takes a detour into the stomach of a massive ocean-going monster, a couple of wars – there's a famous scene in which the Baron rides a cannonball towards the enemy, then picks up an enemy one coming back the other way – and a brush with a firing squad. Finally it's back to the Moon for the pleasing closing scenes. Triangulate a point between Monty Python, Salvador Dali and The Clangers and you'll find The Fabulous Baron Munchausen there.

Mickey One (12)

Indicator, £15.99

ARTHUR Penn's black and white 1965 curio lacks the charm and cool of the French New Wave films which inspired it and which it sets out to ape. But it makes up for the loss through to its specially-commissioned Stan Getz jazz score, Penn's highly original image-making and the free-wheeling visual panache of veteran cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet, who had already worked with Jacques Becker and would shoot Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar the following year. The film is also notable for pairing Penn with Warren Beatty, the actor with whom he would be reunited two years later for the film which kickstarted the so-called New Hollywood era – Bonnie And Clyde.

Here Beatty plays the titular Mickey, a fast-talking and fast-living Detroit nightclub comic who finds himself in debt to the Mob and goes on the lam, winding up in a Chicago that Penn portrays as a dark, dirty, gritty and dangerous. He picks up work but keeps his head down as a sense of paranoia grips him. In jarring contrast to this noirish set-up, other scenes are fantastical, particularly the ones involving a character known only as The Artist (Akira Kurosawa regular Kamatari Fujiwara), a mute mummer who rides a horse-drawn cart and is constantly beckoning to Mickey when he sees him in the street. Another layer of intrigue comes courtesy of French-Canadian actress Alexandra Stewart, who went to Paris to study art and wound up working with Louis Malle, among others. She plays Jenny, introduced through a frankly bamboozling plot device that literally drops her straight into Mickey's bed.

Beyond that basic plot it's anybody's guess as to what's actually going on and, predictably, the film was a critical and commercial disaster on release. But Beatty's livewire performance and a steady supply of pleasing set-pieces – particularly a final scene in which Mickey comes apart under a harsh spotlight on a nightclub stage – mean none of that matters much and as a result Penn's film is well worth rediscovering. Released on DVD in the UK for the first time, it comes with a generous extras package that includes audio of a 1981 interview with Penn as well as filmed interviews with his son, Matthew, and Alexandra Stewart.

The Other Side of Hope (12)

Curzon Artificial Eye, £15.99

ALTHOUGH best known for his 1989 comedy-drama Leningrad Cowboys Go America and its 1994 sequel Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses, Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki's recent output has dwelt on more political subjects. So as with 2011's French language Le Havre, The Other Side Of Hope deals with migrants and refugees, in this case young Syrian car mechanic Khaled (Sherwan Haji). He arrives in Finland on a boat carrying coal, seeks asylum and, when his appeal is rejected, goes on the run. Meanwhile bored shirt salesman Wikstrom (Sakari Kuosmanen) has sold his business, won a small fortune in a high-stakes poker game and sunk the money in The Golden Pint – a down-at-heel restaurant which comes with three surly staff. The slightly out-of-time characters, the kitsch interiors and deadpan comedy are all Kaurismäki trademarks – as is the soundtrack: scenes are intercut with shots of grizzly buskers ploughing through rock and blues numbers – but the introduction of Khaled as the restaurant's newly-appointed cleaner brings the outside world crashing in. The result is an often uneasy mixture of the kooky and the serious, though strong central performances from Haji and Kuosmanen just about carry it off.