Well ladies and gentleman, after a long weekend of prognostication, Criterion has finally gone and revealed their final slate for this year, their December 2012 lineup, and it’s a doozy.
Leading the way is a new Blu-ray upgrade of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. The supplements are basically all ported over from their massive DVD release, with even the box’s artwork heading its way onto the smaller Blu-ray jewel case. The release is announced after about a month’s worth of rumors pertaining to the film’s status as a pending Criterion Blu-grade, with the last we heard about the release being that it was in fact going to happen, but it was just a matter of when.
Also finally set for a Criterion release is Chris Nolan’s first film, Following. Long rumored along with the noticeably absent Y Tu Mama Tambien (more on that in a minute), the film will hit on December 11 with a transfer supervised by the filmmaker, as well as an interview and a commentary with Nolan. The two main features from the first DVD release of the film (one that appears to now be out of print) appear to be ported over here in the form of a chronological rendering of the film and a comparison between the film and its shooting script. Nolan’s short film, Doodlebug is also featured here.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WhKt_CkXD0&version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0]
Next is Rene Clement’s telling of the Talented Mr. Ripley tale, Purple Noon. I haven’t seen the film, but knowing that it stars Alain Delon, and that it’s currently available on Criterion’s Hulu Plus page, may very well change that. The release isn’t super dense, but it does include interviews with Clement scholar Denitza Bantcheva as well as with Delon and writer Patricia Highsmith who penned the book from which this film is based.
Finally, Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi Trilogy is getting the box set treatment, and what a set it is. Here, I’ll let Criterion do the talking for this one. Here’s the release’s massive series of supplements:
- New, restored high-definition digital transfers of all three films, approved by director Godfrey Reggio, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
- Essence of Life, an interview program with Reggio and composer Philip Glass on Koyaanisqatsi
- New interview with cinematographer Ron Fricke about Koyaanisqatsi
- Early forty-minute demo version of Koyaanisqatsi with a scratch soundtrack by Allen Ginsberg, along with a new introduction by Reggio
- New interview with Reggio about Koyaanisqatsi‘s original visual concept, with behind-the-scenes footage
- Impact of Progress, an interview program with Reggio and Glass on their collaboration
- Inspiration and Ideas, an interview with Reggio about his greatest influences and teachers
- Anima Mundi (1992), Reggio’s twenty-eight-minute montage of images of over seventy animal species, scored by Glass
- Video afterword by Reggio on the trilogy
- The Making of ‘Naqoyqatsi,’ a brief documentary featuring interviews with the production crew
- Panel discussion on Naqoyqatsi from 2003, with Reggio, Glass, editor Jon Kane, and music critic John Rockwell
- Music of ‘Naqoyqatsi,’ an interview with Glass and cellist Yo-Yo Ma
- Television spots and an interview with Reggio relating to his 1970s multimedia privacy campaign in New Mexico
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays on the trilogy by film scholar Scott MacDonald, Rockwell, and author and environmentalist Bill McKibben
Now this is what a holiday box set should be. Better get some bigger stockings for Christmas this year guys.
However, what may be more interesting than the films announced are those that haven’t even been hinted at yet.
The biggest absence here has to, once again, be Y Tu Mama Tambien. The film has been rumored for going on nearly two years now (if it hits 2013’s New Years drawing it will be the third in a row), and doesn’t have any semblance of coming out relatively soon. Unlike it’s IFC partner Following, the current DVD is still very much in print and this Blu-ray somewhere in the ether. Oh, and where is that Wild Strawberries Blu-ray? I don’t want to delve too deeply into films that may or may not hit to start off next year as, I’m sure our faithful leader will have more to say on that in the coming weeks/months, but with now a month between us and Criterion’s first 2013 announcement, one can’t help but keep an eye out for some films yet to be announced. Breaking The Waves? Could a Wim Wenders box take an early 2013 slot like this year’s David Lean box did? I’m assuming that or The Apu Trilogy would be rather far off, just given the fact two different boxes will hit two months in a row, but who knows. Pina is playing at a theater locally here, so that film is definitely in this writer’s mind going into next month’s announcement as is Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days, given that director’s new film which will be hitting early next year, with the domestic rights being held by none other than Sundance Selects, a company owned by IFC. You’ve got Thief and of course that handful of Errol Morris films that have been rumored for about a year now.
Simply put, 2013 is going to be one hell of a year, if 2012 was any sign of Criterion’s direction going forward.