So I know that the last few days have been rather quiet here on the CriterionCast front, and I hope to make up for it with a flood of posts on a variety of topics. As listeners of the podcast are well aware of, I got married this past Thursday, and so I’ve obviously had my hands full with many things, non-Criterion related.
Tomorrow, as we all know, is the 15th of the month, thus bringing us the long awaited announcements for the February 2011 Criterion Collection new releases. I wanted to write this post before we got the announcement, just to give everyone an idea of some rumored releases that have been swirling around on the various forums that I follow, as well as some wild conjecture, that may or may not turn out to be true.
Just so that it’s clear from the beginning, I don’t have any insider knowledge on any of these titles being announced tomorrow. I also have a feeling that because I’ll be at work tomorrow when the titles are announced, it may take me some time to get the new release post up on the blog, to get all of the images and links up and running.
So let’s talk rumors and speculation.
As has been shown from the various new releases over the past several months, along with new additions to the Collection, Criterion has enjoyed remastering several older spine numbers. Over the past year we’ve seen the incredible re-releases for The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus, as well as the incredible revamping of Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout. All of these had incredible DVD and Blu-rays produced, in addition to gorgeous new cover art. Criterion seems to be moving their way through the first 100 spine numbers (those that aren’t out of print), and I’m going to assume that in February, we’ll get some more. I’ve been working on a list that will go up this week, of ten DVDs that I’d love to see get a Blu-ray upgrade in 2011. One of those that will be on the list (unless this speculation turns out to be true, in which case I’ll choose another one) is Federico Fellini’s Amarcord.
We discussed Amarcord way back in April, and from what I can remember, we all loved it. On the updated, two disc edition of Amarcord, we got a look into the restoration process that Criterion put the film through, to help present to the viewers, the best possible experience. Now this is something that Rudie and I have long championed as one of the best, most insightful supplements that Criterion can present. By showing us the thought process that goes into the restoration, we learn more about Criterion’s philosophy, and what sort of defects they are willing to live with, if it means an experience that is more true to the directors intent.
Because Amarcord has already received such an incredible DVD edition in recent history, this is a title that I am going to predict will receive a Blu-ray upgrade in February. I doubt they’d go back and release another DVD edition, but it seems perfect timing to bring more Fellini to Criterion’s Blu-ray line-up. Over the past few months we’ve gotten films like Charade and Breathless brought to the Blu-ray side of the force, and as of now we only have 8 1/2 to represent Fellini. We recently talked about the possibility that La Dolce Vita may enter the Criterion Collection, with the recent theatrical debut of a restored print of the film in Rome. While I still have a hunch that this film could make it’s way into the Collection, I don’t know if we’ll see it as soon as February.
As I said, I think Amarcord will be Criterion’s Blu-ray upgrade, I have a hunch we’ll see a DVD and Blu-ray upgrade as well for another title. As we’ve reported over the past few months, the BFI in the UK has been releasing several films from Yasujiro Ozu on DVD/Blu-ray dual format discs. Criterion still hasn’t released any of Ozu’s works on Blu-ray for consumption here in the States, but I think that is going in 2011. As has been remarked on a few forums, as well as by some close movie blogging friends of mine, Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story is listed as “backordered” on Criterion’s website. The film is also currently unavailable on Amazon. Now it should be noted that the film is not listed as “out of print” from Criterion, which I have to assume is a big signal that we’ll be getting this film in high definition. Tokyo Story was released on Blu-ray this past June from the BFI. If you’re interested in hearing us discuss some other Ozu films, check out our early episode on Late Spring, or our recent episode on A Story Of Floating Weeds / Floating Weeds. I’d also highly recommend going through friend of the show, Moises Chiullan’s series of posts, discussing Ozu’s films. If Criterion does go with an updated DVD and Blu-ray for Tokyo Story, I really hope they ask Adrian Tomine to return to illustrate the cover of the release, as he did an incredible job with this past years box set of There Was A Father and The Only Son.
Now that I’ve covered a couple of titles that have already been released by Criterion, that I think will get an upgrade, let’s talk about some films that might be new to the Collection. These might not be as lengthy, but there is good reason to expect them.
First up I think we should continue mentioning the fact that way back in January, when Criterion let loose their Cryptic New Years Drawing, hinting at several films that would get a release in 2010, there was clearly a feather in the drawing. Now, I doubt this was in fact referring to Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, that just saw it’s release on DVD and Blu-ray, but rather, Zolta Korda’s The Four Feathers, which has still not been announced. The single white feather has long referred to the Four Feathers, and so I have to hold out hope that we’ll see this announced.
Next I’d like to remind everyone of a few titles that Criterion has hinted at recently via Twitter and Facebook. We’ve seen hints that Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Still Walking will finally get a spine number in the Collection. This was a title that was announced way back when the IFC deal went through, and it is certainly some of our readers most anticipated release. We’ve also seen hints that the Sweet Smell Of Success will be released very soon. I don’t have any specific clues as to whether these two will be released in February, but I wanted to keep them fresh in everyones minds.
Another film that has been teased at by Criterion is Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. Way back in April, Criterion tweeted out an image from their screening room, of a shot from Fish Tank. That along with a mention of Arnold in a past e-mail newsletter, made us all think that this will inevitably bring Michael Fassbender back into the Collection.
A few months back, The Playlist put up a story that Criterion was currently working on releasing Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, and I really want this one to be true. Tarkovsky’s Solaris is one of my favorite titles in the Collection, and is also on my list of titles that I want to see upgraded onto Blu-ray for 2011.
Another rumor that has been floating around on various forums, and one that we’ve discussed a couple times on the show, is that Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate will be heading to the Criterion Collection in 2011, and while I’ve never seen this legendary piece of work, it is one of Rudie’s favorites.
A couple of other rumored titles that have been floating around on forums are movies like Robert Young’s Alambrista and Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower. Shinoda recently made a stop at the Criterion offices, and you can see the video over on Criterion’s Facebook page.
That’s pretty much all that I have for now, in terms of what I’m expecting to see tomorrow, unless of course Criterion wants to throw me for a loop and finally release the Blu-ray upgrade for Rashomon, or maybe even a Blu-ray for the Tin Drum (Volker was also recently spotted at the Criterion offices). There’s also that wacky drawing for Kes that may finally come true.
What are you looking forward to getting from Criterion in 2011? Any predictions for tomorow’s February announcements? Let me know in the comments below.