Criterion Teases Titles For 2013 And Beyond At The Wexner Center

Last night, Kim Hendrickson and Curtis Tsui presented a screening of Sunday Bloody Sunday at the Wexner Center For The Arts at Ohio State University. Like last year, we learned a whole lot about what the Criterion Collection is working on.

Now that I’m working the evening shift at my job, I was unable to watch / listen to the live stream, but many many folks on the Criterion Forum made sure to watch it and take notes. Our good friend Ryan Nichols passed along some of the titles that were mentioned. I’m going to open up the comments on this post, if any of you also watched the stream and can offer more information, or feel the need to clear up anything that I might have incorrect.

Here is a shortened list of what was teased at or announced, and I’ll go into further depth below.

  1. Badlands / Pre-Code Warner Bros film
  2. A Brighter Summer Day / Limite / World Cinema Foundation
  3. Eclipse titles getting stand-alone releases (Les Miserables / Jungle Book mentioned)
  4. Fellini’s Satyricon / Jacques Rivette / more Imamura
  5. Richard III / Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp Blu-rays
  6. The Devil’s Backbone
  7. Le Samourai
  8. Shoah
  9. Apu Trilogy / more Satyajit Ray films
  10. On The Waterfront

I’ll include some of Ryan’s commentary in my notes below, as well as some links to resources online and information about the films and restorations.

Again, I didn’t watch the stream, so I’m going off of the notes from the forum, so if you have any further information, feel free to comment. Last year’s talk was recorded on Ustream and available for playback after the fact, but I don’t see any archived copy of this year’s talk yet. If anyone has a copy of it, I’d love to check it out.


1. Badlands / Pre-Code Warner Bros. Film

The idea that Warner Bros and Criterion have worked out a distribution / licensing deal is huge. Apart from someone like Disney, WB has been notoriously adamant that they handle all of their DVDs and Blu-rays in-house. Criterion did have a few Warner titles on laserdisc, and there are some New Line titles which Criterion has been able to release on DVD and Blu-ray due to other parties involved (the folks on the forum know much more about this topic than I).

Badlands is one of those titles that has a vocal following on the Criterion Collection Facebook page, and they’ll soon have their wishes granted. Last year we learned that there was a possibility that Criterion could release it, but we were all very hesitant about getting our hopes up. Criterion has since teased at a Badlands release in their newsletter, and so I’m sure we’ll have it on Blu-ray very soon.

Apparently a pre-code Warner Bros film was hinted at as well, but there might have been some confusion in how the question was asked. We’ll see if we can find out a little more later.

2. A Brighter Summer Day / Limite / World Cinema Foundation

Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation is doing an incredible job at restoring older films, and it looks like the rights issues have been resolved.

Earlier this week we learned about Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day getting a Criterion release, but it looks like we might also get a box set of titles from the Foundation, along with stand alone releases for Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day and Mário Peixoto’s Limite.

From the World Cinema Foundation on the restoration for A Brighter Summer Day:

The restoration of the uncut version of A Brighter Summer Day used the original 35mm camera and sound negatives provided by the Edward Yang Estate and preserved at the Central Motion Pictures Corporation in Taipei. Due to the deterioration of the original camera negative an intermediate of the film printed at the time was also used. The digital restoration produced a new 35mm internegative.

Walter Salles on Limite:

Then came the revelation of Limite, the first and only film by 21-year-old director Mário Peixoto. This was a film of transcendent poetry and boundless imagination. Once again, I found myself in a state of shock, not only because of the film itself, which was made in 1931 and forgotten for many years, but also for the evidence it bore, that of our creative diversity.

Here is a list of the films that the Foundation has restored, or is in the process of restoring. Hopefully The Housemaid could happen as well.

3. Eclipse Titles

There is some debate about how this question was phrased, and what the answer meant. Apparently someone asked about the high definition transfer of The Jungle Book being available on iTunes, and a statement about some Eclipse titles getting their own stand-alone releases. Raymond Bernard’s Les Miserables was also mentioned, and it would make sense for something like Daisies to make the leap as well.

While I would love to own The Jungle Book and Daisies on Blu-ray, I think Criterion should continue to keep films like that a part of the Eclipse Series, if for nothing else than to lead people to the other films in those box sets.

4. Misc. directors / films mentioned

From Ryan Nichol’s notes:

the following films and directors were name-dropped despite not being in the collection yet: Jacques Rivette, Fellini’s Satyricon, more Imamura

Supposedly the Fantastic Mr Fox was used as an answer to a trivia question, but it seems unlikely that Criterion will release that soon (prove us wrong, Criterion!)

5. Richard III / Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp

Last week Janus tweeted about the newly restored Richard III playing at the NYFF, presented by Martin Scorsese. It seems inevitable, and I’ve been dying to see the new print of Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp. I’m sure these Blu-rays will look gorgeous.

From the Lincoln Center:

Featuring one of the finest British casts ever assembled on film, including John Gielgud as the ill-fated Duke of Clarence, Claire Bloom as Lady Anne, Ralph Richardson as the Duke of Buckingham and Stanley Baker as the Earl of Richmond, Richard III has been immaculately restored to its full Technicolor glory (and 161-minute running time) from the original VistaVision negative.

6. The Devil’s Backbone

Supposedly Guillermo Del Toro announced this on the Nerdist(?) last week at NY Comic Con, but I haven’t seen it picked up anywhere. When I asked Del Toro about this last year, he had mentioned it was something he was interested in, but that it’d take a year or so before it happened. Well here we are and it looks like it will indeed happen. I’ve been tempted to buy the Del Toro Blu-ray box set from the UK, despite the fact that it isn’t region free.

It’s certainly one of my favorite films from Del Toro, and I cannot wait to see what sort of extras they fit into this release. Hopefully we’ll get a second installment of the tour of the man-cave (Bleak House), and a new illustration from Mike Mignola on the cover (or they could use the Aaron Horkey illustration that Mondo used for their print).

7. Le Samourai Blu-ray

A title that we’ve all been waiting for. There have been some grumblings about the video transfer that was used abroad recently, and those who didn’t like the Children Of Paradise Blu-ray are worried that a Le Samourai Blu-ray might be flawed in some way. This got a “probably” qualifier for a 2013 release.

8. Shoah

IFC Films toured Claude Lanzmann’s 9 1/2 hour documentary recently, and we’ve all been anticipating a Criterion release. The box set will also apparently include The Karski Report and A Visitor From the Living.

Sam Smith designed the poster for IFC’s theatrical run, and I wonder if Criterion will use a modified version of it for the box set.

9. Apu Trilogy

At last year’s Wexner Talk, the Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy was teased at, and I really thought it might be the big holiday box set for this November / December. Criterion hasn’t forgotten about it, and it sounds like if the materials “hold up”, we’ll get this set in 2013. Supposedly there is another Ray title in the works, but not revealed yet.

10. On The Waterfront

Criterion teased at this a few months back with their drawing of the pigeons on the beach, and we’ve all been eagerly awaiting it’s official announcement. Apparently the release will contain three different aspect ratios: 1.33:1, 1.66:1, and 1.85:1. Yup, the Criterion Collection folks are geeks.


2013 is lining up to be an impressive year, along with all of the other titles that have been rumored but not yet released.