The stars must have aligned in a whole new way in the DVD universe, because we have an exceptional number of interesting indie release this week. My top pick is Simon Rumley's The Living and the Dead, which my colleague Scott Weinberg described as "bizarre, chilling and strangely hypnotic." As he wrote in his review, it "isn't a 'horror movie' in the most traditional sense, but is a thoroughly disturbing experience all the same. And by 'disturbing,' I mean: Really twisted, unique and fascinating to puzzle through." The DVD from TLA Releasing includes a "making of" feature, trailers and a stills gallery.

Eve of Understandingstars Rebecca Lowman as Donna, a woman who embarks on a road trip to deliver notes and knick-knacks to a motley crew of people at the behest of her recently-deceased mother. When she saw it at AFI Dallas last year, Cinematical's Kim Voynar wrote that first-time director Alyson Shelton "largely succeeds in what she's trying to get across, largely because Lowman's strong performance keeps us interested in Donna and what happens to her even in the film's weaker spots." The DVD from Vanguard Cinema includes two "featurettes," photo gallery and "director's statement." Our own James Rocchi penned a thoughtful, balanced review of Marc Forster's The Kite Runner; it's best to read it in its entirety, but to give you the flavor, he concluded that the film "makes us truly see the people ... in many ways for the first time; that's the film's greatest achievement, and ultimately the best reason to see it." (James also interviewed novelist Khaled Hosseini and screenwriter David Benioff.) The DVD from Dreamworks Video includes a commentary with Forster, Hosseini and Benioff, two "featurettes" and a public service announcement (!).