News – CriterionCast https://criterioncast.com Sun, 29 Nov 2020 08:13:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://criterioncast.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cropped-9329A558-8143-4F71-9E79-E26F8C0F3C59-1-300x300.jpeg News – CriterionCast https://criterioncast.com 32 32 December 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/december-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Sun, 29 Nov 2020 08:13:00 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64766  

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For November, the Channel will feature films from Barbra Streisand, Terrence Malick, Julie Dash, Margarethe von Trotta, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

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Tuesday, December 1

Short + Feature: Die Laughing

The Extraordinary Life of Rocky and Harold and Maude

Two deliciously dark coming-of-age comedies tackle the ultimate taboo—death—with wicked humor. First, don’t get too close to the subject of Kevin Meul’s deadpan short The Extraordinary Life of Rocky, a most unfortunate young man who finds that everyone he loves meets a grisly end. It’s an appropriately macabre companion to Hal Ashby’s counterculture classic Harold and Maude, in which a chance encounter (at a funeral, naturally) leads to a surprising relationship between a suicide-obsessed teenager and a bohemian septuagenarian.

Tuesday, December 1

The Awful Truth: Criterion Collection Edition #917

In this Oscar-winning farce, Cary Grant (in the role that first defined the Cary Grant persona) and Irene Dunne exude charm, cunning, and artless affection as an urbane couple who, fed up with each other’s infidelities, resolve to file for divorce. But try as they might to move on, the mischievous Jerry can’t help meddling in Lucy’s ill-matched engagement to a corn-fed Oklahoma businessman (Ralph Bellamy), and a mortified Lucy begins to realize that she may be saying goodbye to the only dance partner capable of following her lead. Directed by the versatile Leo McCarey, a master of improvisation and slapstick as well as a keen and sympathetic observer of human folly, The Awful Truth is a warm but unsparing comedy about two people whose flaws only make them more irresistible. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with critic Gary Giddins, a video essay by David Cairns on Cary Grant’s performance, an illustrated audio interview with Irene Dunne, and a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film starring Grant and Claudette Colbert.

Wednesday, December 2

Short Films by Julie Dash

Featuring The Cinematic Jazz of Julie Dash, a 1992 interview program

One of the leaders of the now legendary LA Rebellion movement that rumbled forth from the UCLA Film School in the 1970s, Julie Dash became the first Black American woman to have a feature widely released with her stunning, dreamlike Daughters of the Dust. Made between 1975 and 2016, these five remarkable short films—including Illusions, her landmark look at Hollywood’s racial deceptions—encompass a variety of modes including narrative, dance, and performance. Each is a testament to Dash’s visionary artistry and unique ability to give poetic visual expression to the creative, cultural, spiritual, and historical dimensions of Black womanhood.

  • Four Women, 1975
  • Diary of an African Nun, 1977
  • Illusions, 1982
  • Praise House, 1991
  • Standing at the Scratch Line, 2016

Thursday, December 3

Sorry We Missed You

Exclusive streaming premiere

Humanist master Ken Loach turns his empathetic eye once again to the experiences of the British working class in this wrenching family drama that exposes the dark side of the gig economy. Having lost their home in the 2008 financial crash, Ricky (Kris Hitchen), a former laborer, and his home-attendant wife, Abby (Debbie Honeywood), are desperate to find their way out from their financial distress. When an opportunity arises for Ricky to work as his own boss as a delivery driver, they trade in their only asset, Abby’s car, for a shiny new van and the dream that Ricky can work his way up to someday owning his own delivery franchise. But the hope of financial autonomy soon reveals itself to be an illusion as an unrelenting schedule, a ruthless supervisor, and the needs of their two teenage children only push the couple further toward the edge.

Thursday, December 3

Three by Terrence Malick

Featuring interviews with actors Richard Gere, Sissy Spacek, and Martin Sheen; production designer Jack Fisk; costume designer Jacqueline West; cinematographers Haskell Wexler and John Bailey; and more

The cosmic rhapsodies of Terrence Malick are spoken of with a hushed reverence. Each of these rarefied masterpieces ruminates profoundly on the connection between humanity and the natural world, seeking out transcendence in the landscapes of America’s past. This trio of touchstone works—his sublime lovers-on-the-run debut Badlands, golden-hour reverie Days of Heaven, and mesmerizing historical epic The New World—are to be savored for their senses-ravishing imagery and rich philosophical resonance.

  • Badlands, 1973
  • Days of Heaven, 1978
  • The New World, 2005

Friday, December 4

Double Feature: The Adventures of Paul Dedalus

My Sex Life … or How I Got into an Argument and My Golden Days

French-cinema titan Arnaud Desplechin casts Mathieu Amalric as his on-screen alter ego in two rich, absorbingly novelistic explorations of love, sex, and growing up at different stages of life. Desplechin first made a splash with the sprawling My Sex Life … or How I Got into an Argument, in which the self-absorbed academic Paul Dedalus navigates romantic and career crises as he approaches thirty. Nearly twenty years later, the director and star revisited the character in the emotionally layered coming-of-age tale My Golden Days, in which a now middle-aged Dedalus reflects upon his youth and first experiences of love.

Friday, December 4

From the Archive: Bad Day at Black Rock

Featuring the original John Sturges commentary from Criterion’s 1991 laserdisc edition

Ace genre craftsman John Sturges directs Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan in this taut western noir. Tracy is the one-armed war veteran John J. Macreedy, who arrives in the remote desert outpost of Black Rock in search of a Japanese American man. As the mysterious Macreedy’s presence in the town stirs up hostility and suspicion among the locals, he becomes increasingly convinced that they may be covering up a dark secret. The striking CinemaScope compositions, expertly handled action (witness Tracy’s karate technique), and impassioned antiracist message come together in one of the finest and most morally courageous thrillers of the 1950s.

Saturday, December 5

Saturday Matinee: National Velvet

A twelve-year-old Elizabeth Taylor delivers a star-is-born performance in one of the most beloved films ever made about the bond between children and animals. She is the equine-obsessed Velvet Brown, who, after she wins a spirited steed in a raffle, works alongside a headstrong jockey (Mickey Rooney) to turn the “unbreakable” horse into a champion. The heavenly Technicolor cinematography adds to the nostalgic glow of this enduring family favorite.

Sunday, December 6

The Best of Mae West

Queen of the risqué double entendre Mae West said it best herself: “When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.” The singular performer, playwright, sex symbol, and all-around star had brass and brilliance to burn in her ascent from vaudeville vamp to scandal-inciting Broadway sensation to Hollywood’s biggest box-office draw of the early 1930s, when she kept censors on their toes with her bawdy one-liners and liberated approach to sexuality in pre-Code jaw-droppers like She Done Him Wrong (the success of which almost singlehandedly saved Paramount from bankruptcy) and I’m No Angel. An icon of emancipated womanhood, West always more than held her own in a man’s world, both on- and off-screen—she wrote or cowrote every screenplay featured here.

  • She Done Him Wrong, Lowell Sherman, 1933
  • I’m No Angel, Wesley Ruggles, 1933
  • Belle of the Nineties, Leo McCarey, 1934
  • Goin’ to Town, Alexander Hall, 1935
  • Klondike Annie, Raoul Walsh, 1936
  • Go West Young Man, Henry Hathaway, 1936
  • Every Day’s a Holiday, A. Edward Sutherland, 1937
  • My Little Chickadee, Edward F. Cline, 1940

Monday, December 7

Paris Is Burning: Criterion Collection Edition #1018

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris Is Burning offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women—including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza—Paris Is Burning brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A conversation between director Jennie Livingston, ball community members Sol Pendavis and Freddie Pendavis, and filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris; over an hour of never-before-seen outtakes; audio commentary featuring Livingston, ball community members Freddie Pendavis and Willi Ninja, and film editor Jonathan Oppenheim; and more.

Monday, December 7

Uncovering “The Naked City”

In this original short documentary and personal essay, Bruce Goldstein, founder of Rialto Pictures and repertory director at New York’s FIlm Forum, tracks down many of the 100+ New York City locations—from the Bronx to the Lower East Side—used in his friend Jules Dassin’s classic police procedural The Naked City, while also spotlighting the contributions of producer Mark Hellinger and cinematographer William Daniels.

Tuesday, December 8

Short + Feature: Release the Hounds

Mutts and White God

The dogs have their day in two totally unleashed visions of canine chaos that double as searing political allegories. Halima Ouardiri’s short Mutts is a visceral immersion into an enormous dog shelter in Morocco, home to some 750 strays, that draws subtle but powerful parallels with the plight of refugees. Then, 250 pooches (all real—no CGI trickery here!) are let loose onto the streets of Budapest in Kornél Mundruczó’s audacious animal revenge thriller White Dog, in which abandoned mutts rise up in revolt against their human abusers.

Wednesday, December 9

Three by Barbra Streisand

Featuring a new interview with Streisand

There are legends … and then there is Barbra Streisand. A trailblazing triple threat, Streisand not only left her mark on the countless films she starred in, she has also directed and produced three acclaimed features, all of which she produced as well. It took fifteen years to bring her passion project, the acclaimed musical Yentl, to the screen, with Streisand cowriting the screenplay as well as producing, directing, and starring. The film garnered five Academy Award nominations and one win, for best music/original song score—and Streisand took home the Golden Globe for best director, the only woman to do so to this day (Yentl also won the Golden Globe for best picture – musical or comedy). More accolades followed for her second feature, The Prince of Tides, which was nominated for a whopping seven Academy Awards, and which netted Nick Nolte a Golden Globe for best actor. For the unconventional romantic comedy The Mirror Has Two Faces, she assembled a formidable cast led by Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, and Lauren Bacall, with Bacall winning the Golden Globe and SAG Award for best supporting actress. The three films Streisand directed garnered fourteen Academy Award nominations, and are sensational showcases for the larger-than-life talents of an icon who shines both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Yentl, 1983
  • The Prince of Tides, 1991
  • The Mirror Has Two Faces, 1996

Thursday, December 10

Observations on Film Art #40: Telling Details in Hunger

In his stunning feature debut, Steve McQueen (Small Axe, 12 Years a Slave) used minimal dialogue and vivid imagery to tell the harrowing true story of Irish Republican Army member and political prisoner Bobby Sands’s hunger strike against the British state. In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson explores how McQueen’s background as a sculptor and installation artist informed his uniquely tactile approach to storytelling and how he uses an accumulation of seemingly small, often elusive visual details—a fly, a snowflake, a brush, an ashtray, a feather—to create a visceral experience that “speaks” more fully through its images than it does through words.

Friday, December 11

Double Feature: Against the Grain

Days of Heaven and The Reflecting Skin

Magic hour meets black magic in two visually stunning slices of Americana set amid rippling wheat fields and bathed in sunset’s golden glow. One of the most gorgeous films ever made, Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven pushes the story of a turn-of-the-century romantic tragedy into the realm of the sublime, thanks to the rapturous cinematography of Nestor Almendros. Its dreamy, Hopperesque aesthetic is unsettlingly mirrored in Philip Ridley’s surreal cult classic The Reflecting Skin, which blends horror and wicked humor into a singularly strange and arresting vampire tale.

Saturday, December 12

Saturday Matinee: The Railway Children

Bursting with turn-of-the-century English charm, this beloved adaptation of the classic novel by Edith Nesbit has been a favorite of British children for five decades. Directed with consummate taste by Lionel Jeffries, The Railway Children stars Jenny Agutter (of Walkabout fame) as one of three children in a wealthy family whose lives change dramatically when their father is disgraced and they must move from London to a Yorkshire cottage near a railway station. A series of memorable episodes—birthday parties, childhood adventures, family reunions—are captured with a glowing sincerity and poignant sense of nostalgia.

Sunday, December 13

Art-House America: The Doris Duke

Located in the heart of Honolulu, Hawaii, the Doris Duke Theatre began operating out of the Honolulu Museum of Art in 1977 and has become a fixture of Hawaiian film culture. Through their annual Surf Film Festival and series that highlight the perspectives of Hawaii’s Native, Asian, and Black communities, the Doris Duke has dedicated itself to championing films that reflect the diversity, complexity, and cultural richness of the island, challenging longstanding cinematic depictions of Hawaii as an exoticized paradise. The theater’s commitment to showcasing homegrown stories and amplifying marginalized voices is on display in the Hawaiian-focused lineup of films they have selected.

From programmer Taylour Chang: “Tourism and Hollywood have shaped the perception of Hawai‘i as a paradise destination since the early twentieth century. A rising tide of Native Hawaiian and Hawai‘i-based filmmakers challenge those colonial stereotypes and present a worldview of Hawai‘i that is rooted in the land and its people. This slate is a snapshot of a genealogy of filmmakers who express Hawai‘i’s spirit and resilience. Pioneers like Victoria Keith (The Sand Island Story) and Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina (Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege) captured an awakening of Native Hawaiian political consciousness and set a foundation for current generations—from Ty Sanga (Stones), who inspired a wave of Native Hawaiian filmmakers to embrace narrative fiction, to talents like Ciara Lacy (Out of State). These storytellers, among many others, provoke an innovative understanding of a Hawai‘i-specific visual language.”

Features

  • Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege, Joan Lander and Puhipau, 2005
  • Out of State, Ciara Lacy, 2017
  • August at Akiko’s, Christopher Makoto Yogi, 2018

Shorts

  • The Sand Island Story, Victoria Keith, 1981
  • Stones, Ty Sanga, 2009
  • Like a Mighty Wave, Michael Inouye, 2019
  • Kapaemahu, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, 2020
  • Standing Above the Clouds, Jalena Keane-Lee, 2020

Monday, December 14

Documentaries by Alan Berliner

With a rare genius for rendering the personal universal, Alan Berliner has quietly established himself as one of the premier film essayists of our time. Drawing his subjects from his immediate life—his grandfather in Intimate Stranger, his father in Nobody’s Business, and his own name in The Sweetest Sound—he excavates the mysteries and mythologies embedded within family histories, using found footage, photographs, voice-over, interviews, and ephemera to construct intricate cinematic collages that are revealing, humorous, wise, and totally unique.

  • The Family Album, 1988
  • Intimate Stranger, 1991
  • Nobody’s Business, 1996
  • The Sweetest Sound, 2001

Tuesday, December 15

Short + Feature: Bad Santas

Santa, the Fascist Years and The Silent Partner

Jolly old St. Nick goes rogue in two dark tales that will leave you wondering: what evil lurks behind that snow-white beard and red cap? First, underground-animation legend Bill Plympton reveals the untold story of Kris Kringle’s disturbing flirtation with authoritarianism in the black-comic alternate history Santa, the Fascist Years. Then, mild-mannered bank teller Elliott Gould finds himself drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Christopher Plummer’s psychotic shopping-mall Santa in the 1978 heist thriller The Silent Partner, a Hitchcockian tour de force of nerve-twisting tension that features an early appearance by John Candy and an unforgettable bit of grisly business with a fish tank.

Wednesday, December 16

Films by Marie Losier

Featuring a new interview with the filmmaker

New York City–based French filmmaker Marie Losier captures the freewheeling energy of the avant-garde underground through her playful, lovingly handmade 16 mm portraits of boundary-pushing musicians, artists, and performers. Her acclaimed feature documentaries The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, about the gender-bending journey of industrial-music pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and Cassandro, the Exotico!, an intimate snapshot of a drag-queen luchador, reflect Losier’s ability to achieve an almost symbiotic creative rapport with her larger-than-life subjects. They are presented alongside a selection of the filmmaker’s exuberantly inventive experimental shorts, which feature such counterculture luminaries as George Kuchar, Guy Maddin, Alan Vega, and Tony Conrad.

Features

  • The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, 2011
  • Cassandro, the Exotico!, 2018

Shorts

  • The Passion of Joan Arc, 2002
  • The Touch Retouched, 2002
  • Bird, Bath and Beyond, 2003
  • Electrocute Your Stars, 2004
  • Eat My Makeup!, 2005
  • The Ontological Cowboy, 2005
  • Flying Saucey!, 2006
  • Manuelle Labor, 2007
  • Tony Conrad, DreaMinimalist, 2008
  • Papal Broken-Dance, 2009
  • Cet Air La, 2010
  • Byun, objet trouvé, 2012
  • Alan Vega: Just a Million Dreams, 2013
  • Bim, Bam, Boom, Las Luchas Morenas, 2014
  • Draw Me Now, 2018

Thursday, December 17

Three by Rick Alverson

Featuring a new interview with the filmmaker

Watching a film by Rick Alverson can be a singularly uncomfortable experience—but just try to look away. Refusing to conform to tidy narrative arcs and conventional notions of “likable” characters, Alverson creates transgressive, confrontational, tragicomic portraits of masculinity in crisis that dare viewers to stare into the existential void. Following the journeys of a foundering Afghanistan veteran (New Jerusalem), a relentlessly nihilistic Brooklyn hipster (Tim Heidecker in The Comedy), and a repellent stand-up comedian (Gregg Turkington, a.k.a. Neil Hamburger, in Entertainment), Alverson’s films reckon unflinchingly with the loneliness at the heart of modern American life.

  • New Jerusalem, 2011
  • The Comedy, 2012
  • Entertainment, 2015

Friday, December 18

Double Feature: I Put a Spell on You

Bell, Book and Candle and I Married a Witch

Modern-day witches cast a silver-screen spell in two utterly enchanting romantic comedies. Fresh from their pairing in Vertigo, stars Kim Novak and James Stewart reunited for Bell, Book and Candle, featuring black-magic beatniks, some serious queer subtext, and a memorable cat named Pyewacket. Then, Veronica Lake uses her otherworldly charms to ensnare Fredric March in René Clair’s I Married a Witch, a delightful screwball confection bursting with playful special effects and sparkling wit. Fun fact: both films were key influences on the classic sitcom Bewitched.

Saturday, December 19

Saturday Matinee: 20 Million Miles to Earth

Featuring an alternate color version of the film

This thrilling creature-feature classic stands out thanks to dazzling special effects by Ray Harryhausen. En route from Venus back to Earth, a United States Army rocket ship crash-lands in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Italy, and from the wreckage rises one of the stop-motion master’s most memorable creations: a rapidly growing lizardlike menace that destroys everything in its path as it romps its way across Rome. An epic monster vs. elephant showdown and a Roman Colosseum–set climax are among the eye-popping attractions.

Sunday, December 20

Afrofuturism

Featuring an introduction by programmer Ashley Clark

Coined in 1994 by critic Mark Dery, the term “afrofuturism” has become an essential framework for art about imagined and alternative global Black experiences. As the author Ytasha Womack writes, “Afrofuturism combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.” Afrofuturist ideas have found fertile ground in film, and this expansive series takes viewers on an international, intergalactic journey that stretches back long before the term existed, and far into the future. Spanning animation, documentary, and genre spectacle, these exuberant visions of Black creativity, resistance, and freedom zigzag across the African diaspora from New York to Brasilia to Kinshasa to worlds unknown. Curated by Ashley Clark, the series draws together films from Space is the Place: Afrofuturism on Film, which took place at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2015; a sequel planned for 2020 that was canceled due to the pandemic; and a selection of all-new titles, many of them available for streaming for the first time.

Features

  • Space Is the Place, John Coney, 1974
  • Born in Flames, Lizzie Borden, 1983
  • The Brother from Another Planet, John Sayles, 1984
  • Ornette: Made in America, Shirley Clarke, 1985
  • Yeelen, Souleymane Cissé, 1987
  • Welcome II the Terrordome, Ngozi Onwurah, 1995
  • The Last Angel of History, John Akomfrah, 1996
  • An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Terence Nance, 2012
  • White Out, Black In, Adirley Queirós, 2014
  • Crumbs, Miguel Llansó, 2015
  • Once There Was Brasilia, Adirley Queirós, 2017
  • Supa Modo, Likarion Wainaina, 2018

Shorts

  • The Changing Same, Cauleen Smith, 2001
  • Dark Matters, Monique Walton, 2010
  • The Becoming Box, Monique Walton, 2011
  • Hasaki Ya Suda, Cedric Ido, 2011
  • Native Sun, Terence Nance and Blitz Bazawule, 2011
  • Robots of Brixton, Kibwe Tavares, 2011
  • Jonah, Kibwe Tavares, 2013
  • Touch, Shola Amoo, 2013
  • Twaaga, Cédric Ido, 2013
  • Afronauts, Nuotama Bodomo, 2014
  • You and I and You, Terence Nance, 2015
  • The Golden Chain, Adebukola Bodunrin and Ezra Claytan Daniels, 2016
  • 1968 < 2018 > 2068, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, 2018
  • I Snuck Off the Slave Ship, Lonnie Holley and Cyrus Moussavi, 2019
  • T, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, 2019
  • Zombies, Baloji, 2019

Monday, December 21

The People United and Black and Blue

In the midst of a historic reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism, two essential documentaries from the mid–1980s offer timely lessons on the power of protest. Alonzo Speight’s The People United is a crucial snapshot of a decisive moment in Boston history when the city’s predominately Black Roxbury neighborhood took unified action against escalating incidents of police brutality. Its galvanizing portrait of organized resistance is echoed in Hugh King and Lamar Williams’s Black and Blue, which chronicles an impassioned community response to decades of police violence against people of color in Philadelphia through a hard-hitting mix of archival materials, news clips, and documentary footage.

Tuesday, December 22

Short + Feature: It’s a Mad, Mad Christmas

Christmas Inventory and A Christmas Tale

There’s no place like home for the holidays as two singularly imaginative auteurs capture the comedy and chaos of Christmastime family gatherings. First, Portuguese spellbinder Miguel Gomes takes a kaleidoscopic, kid’s-eye view of a rambunctious yuletide get-together in his delightfully cozy holiday surprise Christmas Inventory. Then, Arnaud Desplechin weaves a tapestry of merriment, melancholy, and messy emotions in A Christmas Tale, a marvelously rich, unpredictable portrait of a most unforgettable family reunion, presided over by an imperious Catherine Deneuve.

Wednesday, December 23

Directed by Margarethe von Trotta

One of cinema’s foremost feminist artists, German auteur Margarethe von Trotta engages fearlessly with political, historical, and social issues to redefine the representation of women onscreen. Emerging from the New German Cinema movement that launched her early collaborators Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Volker Schlöndorff (with whom she codirected The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum), von Trotta went on to become the first woman to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival with Marianne and Juliane. She’s remained one of contemporary European cinema’s leading voices ever since, bringing searing stories of courageous, visionary women—including Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, twelfth-century mystic Hildegard von Bingen, and philosopher Hannah Arendt—to the screen with complexity and conviction.

  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, 1975
  • Marianne and Juliane, Margarethe von Trotta, 1981
  • Rosa Luxemburg, Margarethe von Trotta, 1986
  • Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, Margarethe von Trotta, 2009
  • Hannah Arendt, Margarethe von Trotta, 2012

Thursday, December 24

La flor

A decade in the making, Argentine filmmaker Mariano Llinás’s La flor is an audacious, unrepeatable labor of love and madness that redefines the concept of binge viewing. Filmed around the world, this landmark of marathon cinema is composed of six distinct episodes—including a monster movie, a musical, a spy thriller, and a remake of a French classic—each starring the same four women. A delirious plunge down a seemingly endless array of narrative rabbit holes, La flor is an epic adventure in scale and imagination, a wildly entertaining and addictive ode to the power of storytelling.

Friday, December 25

Double Feature: And to All a Good Fright

Cronos and Black Christmas

Have yourself a scary little Christmas with two nightmares that prove that fruitcake, ugly sweaters, and your extended family aren’t the most disturbing things about the holidays. Master of the twisted fairy tale Guillermo del Toro made his auspicious debut with Cronos, a visually rich and emotionally captivating Christmastime vampire fable awash in the haunting imagery for which he would become renowned. Then it’s time for a winter slay ride with Bob Clark’s cult classic Black Christmas, the groundbreaking independent shocker that spawned the modern slasher genre as we know it.

Saturday, December 26

Saturday Matinee: City Lights

City Lights, the most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin, is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form. The result was the epitome of his art and the crowning achievement of silent comedy.

Sunday, December 27

Cary Grant Comedies

Cary Grant may have been classic Hollywood’s ultimate embodiment of suave sophistication, but thankfully he never took himself too seriously, as seen in these comedy classics that showcase his inimitable flair for farce. A former acrobat who was as adept at delivering sparkling banter as he was at taking a slapstick pratfall, Grant imbued his comic performances with a slyly winking charm and breezy joie de vivre that feels at once effortless and virtuosic. The perfect antidote to the winter blues, these slices of golden-age heaven pair Grant with some of the studio era’s most legendary leading ladies—including Katharine Hepburn (Holiday), Irene Dunne (The Awful Truth), Myrna Loy (Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House), and Ingrid Bergman (Indiscreet)—and let the screwball sparks fly.

  • I’m No Angel, Wesley Ruggles, 1933
  • She Done Him Wrong, Lowell Sherman, 1933
  • The Awful Truth, Leo McCarey, 1937
  • Bringing Up Baby, Howard Hawks, 1938*
  • Holiday, George Cukor, 1938
  • My Favorite Wife, Garson Kanin, 1940
  • The Talk of the Town, George Stevens, 1942*
  • Arsenic and Old Lace, Frank Capra, 1944*
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Irving Reis, 1947
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, H.C. Potter, 1948
  • Indiscreet, Stanley Donen, 1958
  • Operation Petticoat, Blake Edwards, 1959
  • The Grass Is Greener, Stanley Donen, 1960
  • That Touch of Mink, Delbert Mann, 1962
  • Father Goose, Ralph Nelson, 1964

*Available January 1

Monday, December 28

Dawson City: Frozen Time

This astonishing meditation on cinema’s past from Bill Morrison pieces together the bizarre true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints from the early 1900s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the center of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought one hundred thousand prospectors to the area. It was also the final stop for a distribution chain that sent prints and newsreels to the Yukon. The films were seldom, if ever, returned. The now-famous Dawson City Collection was uncovered in 1978 when a bulldozer working its way through a parking lot dug up a horde of film cans. Morrison draws on these rare, permafrost-protected silent films and newsreels, pairing them with archival footage, interviews, historical photographs, and an enigmatic score by Sigur Rós collaborator and composer Alex Somers. Dawson City: Frozen Time chronicles the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation.

Tuesday, December 29

Short + Feature: Altitude Adjustment

Snow Canon and Clouds of Sils Maria

Intense, complex relationships between women play out against the dramatic landscapes of the Alps in these multilayered explorations of power dynamics and female intimacy. Isolated in a snowbound chalet, a teenage girl and her babysitter test the boundaries of their relationship in Mati Diop’s psychosexual chamber piece Snow Canon. It’s an appropriately heady prelude to Olivier Assayas’s shape-shifting backstage drama Clouds of Sils Maria, in which Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart blur the line between the personal and professional while on a transformative Alpine excursion.

Wednesday, December 30

Films by Camille Billops and James Hatch

Trailblazing artist and polymath Camille Billops (1933–2019) and her partner in life and work, James Hatch (1928–2020), left behind invaluable legacies as archivists who worked tirelessly to preserve records of Black cultural life and as filmmakers who turned their unflinching camera on Billops’s own, often painful personal experiences. The films they made together, while grounded in documentary, use a range of techniques including reenactments, dramatization, and satire to illuminate the ways in which race, gender, and class shape everyday life. In their Family Trilogy—Suzanne, Suzanne; Finding Christa; and A String of Pearls—the pair cover more than thirty years of troubling truths from Billops’s own family, tackling issues of drug addiction, abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and motherhood with fearless honesty.

Features

  • Finding Christa, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 1991
  • The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 1994
  • A String of Pearls, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 2002

Shorts

  • Suzanne, Suzanne, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 1982
  • Older Women and Love, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 1987
  • Take Your Bags, Camille Billops, 1998

Thursday, December 31

The Phantom Carriage: Criterion Collection Edition #579

The last person to die on New Year’s Eve before the clock strikes twelve is doomed to take the reins of Death’s chariot and work tirelessly collecting fresh souls for the next year. So says the legend that drives The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), directed by the father of Swedish cinema, Victor Sjöström. The story, based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, concerns an alcoholic, abusive ne’er-do-well (Sjöström himself) who is shown the error of his ways, and the pure-of-heart Salvation Army sister who believes in his redemption. This extraordinarily rich and innovative silent classic (which inspired Ingmar Bergman to make movies) is a Dickensian ghost story and a deeply moving morality tale, as well as a showcase for groundbreaking special effects. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Two scores, one by Swedish composer Matti Bye and the other by the experimental duo KTL (Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehberg); audio commentary featuring film historian Casper Tybjerg; an interview with Ingmar Bergman; and more.

Plus:

Thirty Years of the Film Foundation—New Titles Added!

In November, we kicked off our thirtieth-anniversary celebration for film-preservation powerhouse The Film Foundation, founded by Martin Scorsese in 1990. This month, the initial thirty-title line-up is joined by four restored films directed by an array of Hollywood-pantheon auteurs: a jewel of pre-Code horror from Michael Curtiz, Nicholas Ray’s poetic rodeo tale, Charles Laughton’s legendary sole feature, and an antiwar classic by Stanley Kubrick.

  • Mystery of the Wax Museum, Michael Curtiz, 1933
  • The Lusty Men, Nicholas Ray, 1952
  • Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton, 1955
  • Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick, 1957

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 1968 < 2018 > 2068, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, 2018
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth, Nathan Juran, 1957
  • Afronauts, Nuotama Bodomo, 2014
  • Alan Vega: Just a Million Dreams, Marie Losier, 2014
  • August at Akiko’s, Christopher Makoto Yogi, 2018
  • The Awful Truth, Leo McCarey, 1937
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Irving Reis, 1947
  • The Baker’s Wife, Marcel Pagnol, 1938
  • Bad Day at Black Rock, John Sturges, 1955 *
  • Badlands, Terrence Malick, 1973
  • The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, Marie Losier, 2011
  • The Becoming Box, Monique Walton, 2011
  • Bell, Book and Candle, Richard Quine, 1958
  • Belle of the Nineties, Leo McCarey, 1934
  • Bim, Bam, Boom, las Luchas Morenas, Marie Losier, 2014
  • Bird, Bath and Beyond, Marie Losier, 2003
  • Black and Blue, Hugh King and Lamar Williams, 1987
  • The Brother from Another Planet, John Sayles, 1984
  • Byun, objet trouvé, Marie Losier, 2012
  • Cassandro, the Exotico!, Marie Losier, 2018
  • Cet Air La, Marie Losier, 2010
  • The Changing Same, Cauleen Smith, 2001
  • Christmas Inventory, Miguel Gomes, 2000
  • The Comedy, Rick Alverson, 2012
  • Crumbs, Miguel Llansó, 2015
  • Dark Matters, Monique Walton, 2010
  • Dawson City: Frozen Time, Bill Morrison, 2016 *
  • Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick, 1978
  • Diary of an African Nun, Julie Dash, 1977
  • Draw Me Now, Marie Losier, 2018
  • Eat My Makeup!, Marie Losier, 2005
  • Electrocute Your Stars, Marie Losier, 2004
  • Entertainment, Rick Alverson, 2015
  • Every Day’s a Holiday, A. Edward Sutherland, 1937
  • The Family Album, Alan Berliner, 1986
  • Father Goose, Ralph Nelson, 1964
  • Finding Christa, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 1991
  • La flor, Mariano Llinás, 2018 *
  • Flying Saucey!, Marie Losier, 2006
  • Four Women, Julie Dash, 1975
  • Go West Young Man, Henry Hathaway, 1936
  • The Golden Chain, Adebukola Bodunrin and Ezra Claytan Daniels, 2014
  • Goin’ to Town, Alexander Hall, 1935
  • The Grass Is Greener, Stanley Donen, 1960
  • Hannah Arendt, Margarethe von Trotta, 2012**
  • Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby, 1971
  • Hasaki Ya Suda, Cédric Ido, 2011
  • Holiday, George Cukor, 1938
  • House of Games, David Mamet, 1987
  • I Snuck off the Slave Ship, Lonnie Holley and Cyrus Moussavi, 2019
  • I’m No Angel, Wesley Ruggles, 1933
  • Illusions, Julie Dash, 1982
  • Indiscreet, Stanley Donen, 1958
  • Intimate Stranger, Alan Berliner, 1991
  • Jonah, Kibwe Tavares, 2013
  • Kapaemahu, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Joe Wilson, and Dean Hamer, 2020
  • The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks, Camille Billops, James Hatch, 1994
  • Klondike Annie, Raoul Walsh, 1936
  • The Last Angel of History, John Akomfrah, 1996
  • Like a Mighty Wave, Mikey Inouye, 2020
  • The Lusty Men, Nicholas Ray, 1952
  • Manuelle Labor, Marie Losier, 2007
  • March of the Wooden Soldiers, 1934
  • Marianne and Juliane, Margarethe von Trotta, 1981
  • Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege, Joan Lander and Puhipau, 2005
  • The Mirror Has Two Faces, Barbra Streisand, 1996 *
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, H.C. Potter, 1948
  • Mutts, Halima Ouardiri, 2019
  • My Favorite Wife, Garson Kanin, 1940 *
  • My Golden Days, Arnaud Desplechin, 2015
  • My Little Chickadee, Edward F. Cline, 1940
  • My Sex Life … or How I Got into an Argument, Arnaud Desplechin, 1996
  • Mystery of the Wax Museum, Michael Curtiz, 1933
  • National Velvet, Clarence Brown, 1944 *
  • New Jerusalem, Rick Alverson, 2011
  • The New World, Terrence Malick, 2005 *
  • The Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton, 1955
  • Nobody’s Business, Alan Berliner, 1997
  • Now, Voyager, Irving Rapper, 1942
  • Older Women and Love, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 1987
  • Once There Was Brasilia, Adirley Queirós, 2017
  • The Ontological Cowboy, Marie Losier, 2005
  • Operation Petticoat, Blake Edwards, 1959
  • Out of State, Ciara Lacy, 2017
  • Papal Broken-Dance, Marie Losier, 2008
  • Paris Is Burning, Jennie Livingston, 1990
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc, Marie Losier, 2002
  • Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick, 1957
  • The People United, Alonzo Speight, 1985
  • Praise House, Julie Dash, 1991
  • The Prince of Tides, Barbra Streisand, 1991
  • Quadrophenia, Franc Roddam, 1979
  • The Railway Children, Lionel Jeffries, 1970
  • The Reflecting Skin, Philip Ridley, 1990
  • Robots of Brixton, Kibwe Tavares, 2011
  • Rosa Luxemburg, Margarethe von Trotta, 1986
  • Les saignantes, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 2005
  • The Sand Island Story, Victoria Keith, 1981
  • She Done Him Wrong, Lowell Sherman, 1933
  • The Silent Partner, Daryl Duke, 1978
  • Sorry We Missed You, Ken Loach, 2019
  • Space Is the Place, John Coney, 1974
  • Standing Above the Clouds, Jalena Keane-Lee, 2020
  • Standing at the Scratch Line, Julie Dash, 2016
  • Stones, Ty Sanga, 2009
  • A String of Pearls, Camille Billops and James Hatch, 2002
  • Supa Modo, Likarion Wainaina, 2018
  • The Sweetest Sound, Alan Berliner, 2001
  • T, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, 2019
  • Take Your Bags, Camille Billops, 1998
  • That Touch of Mink, Delbert Mann, 1962
  • Tony Conrad, DreaMinimalist, Marie Losier, 2008
  • Touch, Shola Amoo, 2013
  • The Touch Retouched, Marie Losier, 2002
  • Twaaga, Cédric Ido, 2013
  • Uncovering Naked City, Bruce Goldstein, 2020
  • Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen, Margarethe von Trotta, 2009 *
  • White God, Kornél Mundruczó, 2014
  • White Out, Black In, Adirley Queirós, 2014
  • A Woman Under the Influence, John Cassavetes, 1974
  • Yeelen, Souleymane Cissé, 1987
  • Yentl, Barbra Streisand, 1983
  • Zombies, Baloji, 2019

*Available in the U.S. only

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The November 2020 Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion Collection Sale Has Begun! https://criterioncast.com/news/the-november-2020-barnes-noble-50-off-criterion-collection-sale-has-begun Fri, 06 Nov 2020 06:46:52 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64661
For the past several years, Barnes & Noble holds a bi-annual 50% off sale on the Criterion Collection, each July and November. The sale begins today online and goes through November 30th.

Below you’ll find covers to the most recent Criterion Collection Blu-ray releases, with links taking you to their corresponding pages on Barnes & Noble’s website.

What are you picking up this time around? Head over to our Facebook page, or Subreddit, and share your haul shots!

These are affiliate links, and when you purchase through our links, you are helping our site. I really appreciate it. The product pages below should show you prices from various retailers, there may be a delay between when the prices are updated. There will be links to Barnes & Noble on each product page.

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

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November 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/column/calendar/criterion-channel/november-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Wed, 28 Oct 2020 05:02:07 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64576 Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For November, the Channel will feature films from Claire Denis, Nadav Lapid, Ngozi Onwurah, The Film Foundation, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial

Sunday, November 1

Frame of Mind: Psychiatry On-Screen

How do you portray the complex inner workings of the human mind on-screen? It’s a challenge that has long tantalized filmmakers, as seen in this wide-ranging look at some of cinema’s most fascinating explorations of neuroses, psychoses, and the art and science of psychiatry. From pop-Freudian deconstructions of criminal psychology (The Dark Past, The Mark) to immersions into the inner workings of psychiatric institutions (The Cobweb, David and Lisa) to explorations of the therapist-patient relationship both serious (Pressure Point, Ordinary People) and satiric (The President’s Analyst, The Ninth Configuration), these films reflect the increasingly nuanced representation of psychiatry in art as well as our evolving understanding of our own minds and selves.

  • Blind Alley, Charles Vidor, 1939
  • Possessed, Curtis Bernhardt, 1947
  • The Dark Past, Rudolph Maté, 1948
  • The Cobweb, Vincente Minnelli, 1955
  • Autumn Leaves, Robert Aldrich, 1956
  • The Mark, Guy Green, 1961
  • David and Lisa, Frank Perry, 1962
  • Pressure Point, Hubert Cornfield, 1962
  • The President’s Analyst, Theodore J. Flicker, 1967
  • Solaris, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972
  • Old Boyfriends, Joan Tewkesbury, 1979
  • Bad Timing, Nicolas Roeg, 1980
  • Dressed to Kill, Brian De Palma, 1980
  • The Ninth Configuration, William Peter Blatty, 1980
  • Ordinary People, Robert Redford, 1980
  • House of Games, David Mamet, 1987*
  • The Prince of Tides, Barbra Streisand, 1991*

*Available December 1

Monday, November 2

A Dream Is What You Wake Up From

Through a bold mix of narrative and documentary techniques, directors Carolyn Johnson and Larry Bullard explore the experiences of Black families in American society. Shuffling between day-to-day scenes of life at home, school, and work, A Dream Is What You Wake Up From profiles three African American families grappling with the realities of systemic racism, domestic abuse, and economic disenfranchisement as they find themselves left behind by the promise of the American dream. As timely as ever in its intersectional approach to issues of race, class, and gender, this essential, long-neglected document of Black American struggle is a work of aching intimacy and powerful political insight.

Tuesday, November 3

Short + Feature: Stand-Up Guys

Stand Up and Lenny

Stand-up comedy becomes a vehicle for raw, uncomfortable, and lacerating truth-telling in two unsparing, black-and-white portraits of the personal pain behind the funnyman mask. Composed in a continually transmogrifying scrawl of animation, Joseph Pierce’s short Stand Up reveals the tortured soul of a comedian as he literally bares all to an audience over the course of an increasingly unhinged set. It provides a perfect opener for Bob Fosse’s Lenny, a devastating look at the rise and fall of the brilliant and controversial stand-up legend Lenny Bruce starring an electrifying Dustin Hoffman.

Tuesday, November 3

The Elephant Man: Criterion Collection Edition #1051

With this poignant second feature, David Lynch brought his atmospheric visual and sonic palette to a notorious true story set in Victorian England. When the London surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) meets the freak-show performer John Merrick (John Hurt), who has severe skeletal and soft-tissue deformities, he assumes that he must be intellectually disabled as well. As the two men spend more time together, though, Merrick reveals the intelligence, gentle nature, and profound sense of dignity that lie beneath his shocking appearance, and he and Treves develop a friendship. Shot in gorgeous black and white and boasting a stellar supporting cast that includes Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, and Wendy Hiller, The Elephant Man was nominated for eight Academy Awards, cementing Lynch’s reputation as one of American cinema’s most visionary talents. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: David Lynch and critic Kristine McKenna reading from their book Room to Dream; archival interviews with Lynch, John Hurt, producers Mel Brooks and Jonathan Sanger, and other crew members; The Terrible Elephant Man Revealed, a documentary about the film; and more.

Wednesday, November 4

Old Boyfriends

Featuring a new introduction by director Joan Tewkesbury

The sole theatrical feature directed by Joan Tewkesbury—whose screenplays for Nashville and Thieves Like Us yielded two of Robert Altman’s finest films—is an endlessly intriguing, shaggy-dog romantic comedy starring Talia Shire as Dianne Cruise, a Los Angeles psychiatrist who, with her life falling apart around her, goes in search of three of her past boyfriends in order to figure out where things went wrong. Written by Paul and Leonard Schrader and costarring John Belushi (fantastic as Dianne’s sleazy rocker ex) and Keith Carradine, Old Boyfriends ambles, in the best seventies road-movie tradition, through a series of surprising, emotionally intricate detours as it arrives at messy, complex truths about love and self-understanding.

Thursday, November 5

Guest of Honour

Exclusive streaming premiere

A father and daughter attempt to unravel their complicated histories and intertwined secrets in the latest film from acclaimed director Atom Egoyan, which weaves through time in a riveting, psychologically intricate exploration of perception and penance, memory and forgiveness. Jim (David Thewlis) is a meticulous food inspector who wields great power over small, family-owned restaurants—a power he doesn’t hesitate to use. His daughter, Veronica (Laysla De Oliveira), is a high-school music teacher who has been wrongfully imprisoned for sexually abusing a student—a crime she didn’t commit but which she nevertheless wishes to be punished for. Years later, while preparing her father’s funeral, Veronica confides the secrets of her past to Father Greg (Luke Wilson), who may hold the final piece of this most curious family puzzle.

Friday, November 6

Double Feature: The Wicked and the Weird

Mad Love and The Devil-Doll

Deranged scientists, bizarre experiments, and macabre menace haunt these two offbeat cult classics of 1930s B-movie horror. First, master cinematographer Karl Freund directs a bald-pated Peter Lorre in the actor’s Hollywood debut, an outré adaptation of the classic horror novel The Hands of Orlac dripping with twisted psychosexual perversity and shadow-laden expressionist atmosphere. Things get even stranger with ghoulmeister Tod Browning’s demented tale of mad science and miniaturization The Devil-Doll, starring a drag-donning Lionel Barrymore as an escaped convict who hits upon a fiendish, incredible shrinking scheme to get revenge on those who wronged him.

Saturday, November 7

Saturday Matinee: The Canterville Ghost

Director Jules Dassin scares up plenty of mirth in this wittily imaginative fantasy comedy based on a short story by Oscar Wilde. Three hundred years ago, an act of cowardice by Sir Simon (Charles Laughton) brought shame to the Canterville name and doomed his ghost to haunt the family castle. The only thing that will free his spirit: a daring deed by a descendant. When World War II GI and Canterville kinsman Cuffy Williams (Robert Young) is billeted at the castle, now owned by six-year-old Lady Jessica (Margaret O’Brien), it seems that Sir Simon’s chance to break the spell has finally come—or will Cuffy prove as lily-livered as his ancestors? Vintage special effects and fanciful costumes and sets make this supernatural charmer an evergreen family favorite.

Sunday, November 8

Written by Harold Pinter

Featuring Harold Pinter: Art, Truth & Politics, Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Lecture

One of the most influential playwrights of the twentieth century brings his celebrated Pinter pauses and anxious ambiguity to the screen in these masterful dramas that quiver with quotidian menace. Having conquered the British stage with landmark works like The Birthday Party and The Caretaker, Harold Pinter embarked on a long and successful screenwriting career that included three brilliantly unsettling collaborations with director Joseph Losey (The Servant, Accident, The Go-Between) and several acclaimed adaptations of novels by writers like Penelope Mortimer (The Pumpkin Eater), John Fowles (The French Lieutenant’s Woman), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Ian McEwan (The Comfort of Strangers). Rife with Pinter’s signature themes of power and control, these films are an indispensable part of the monumental legacy of an artist who exposed the tensions lurking beneath the surface of everyday life.

  • The Servant, Joseph Losey, 1963
  • The Pumpkin Eater, Jack Clayton, 1964
  • Accident, Joseph Losey, 1967
  • The Go-Between, Joseph Losey, 1971
  • The Homecoming, Peter Hall, 1973
  • Butley, Harold Pinter, 1974
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Karel Reisz, 1981
  • The Comfort of Strangers, Paul Schrader, 1990
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Volker Schlöndorff, 1990

Monday, November 9

Dark Days

For years, a homeless community took root in a train tunnel beneath New York City, braving dangerous conditions and perpetual night. Marc Singer’s acclaimed documentary explores this surprisingly domestic subterranean world, unearthing a way of life unimaginable to those above. Through stories simultaneously heartbreaking, hilarious, intimate, and off-the-cuff, tunnel dwellers reveal their reasons for taking refuge underground and their struggles to survive there. Filmed in striking black and white with a crew comprised of the tunnel’s inhabitants, and scored by legendary turntablist DJ Shadow, Dark Days is a haunting and soulful record of invisible lives.

Tuesday, November 10

Short + Feature: Lovers in Arms

Flores and Beau travail

Two visions of love and longing among military men unfold amid lush, senses-stunning landscapes in these ravishing cinematic hallucinations. An island overrun by hydrangeas whose rich purple color seems to drip from each frame is the dreamily apocalyptic setting for a romance between two soldiers in Jorge Jácome’s lavender-drenched alternate-reality “documentary” Flores. A similarly intoxicating study of desire and masculinity plays out in Claire Denis’s Beau travail, a mesmerizing take on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd in which the sunbaked landscapes of coastal Djibouti heighten the simmering erotic tension.

Tuesday, November 10

Make Way for Tomorrow: Criterion Collection Edition #505

Make Way for Tomorrow, by Leo McCarey, is one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces, an enormously moving Depression-era depiction of the frustrations of family, aging, and the generation gap. Beulah Bondi and Victor Moore headline a cast of incomparable character actors, starring as an elderly couple who must move in with their grown children after the bank takes their home, yet end up separated and subject to their offspring’s selfish whims. An inspiration for Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, this is among American cinema’s purest tearjerkers, all the way to its unflinching ending, which McCarey refused to change despite studio pressure. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and critic Gary Giddins on the film, its social context, and McCarey’s career.

Wednesday, November 11

Directed by Claire Denis

No one makes movies like Claire Denis, one of contemporary cinema’s foremost masters. Raised in colonial West Africa, Denis apprenticed as an assistant to Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders before striking out on her own in the late eighties in an entirely original cinematic language shaped by her outsider’s perspective. Atmospheric, elliptical, and hypnotically absorbing, her films unfold as sensuous washes of sound and image that manage to balance intimate human stories with weighty themes of postcolonial tension, modern alienation, and the boundless complexities of love and sex. This selection of some of Denis’s key works—including a new restoration of her simmering erotic masterpiece BEAU TRAVAIL—reveals a wholly original artist who is as much a storyteller as she is a poet of rhythm, movement, and mood.

  • Chocolat, 1988
  • No Fear, No Die, 1990
  • Nenette and Boni, 1996
  • Beau travail, 1999
  • Towards Mathilde, 2005
  • 35 Shots of Rum, 2008
  • White Material, 2009

Thursday, November 12

Three by Bill Forsyth

Charm, whimsy, and humanism abound in the lovably offbeat works of Bill Forsyth, a pivotal figure in Scottish cinema who led the revitalization of his country’s film industry in the 1980s. First coming to widespread attention with the endearing coming-of-age romance Gregory’s Girl, Forsyth went on to work with Burt Lancaster in the delightful fish-out-of-water comedy Local Hero and made his American debut with a quirkily poetic adaptation of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. Though gently unassuming on the surface, Forsyth’s films reveal keen insights into human nature and resonate with bittersweet moral truths.

  • Gregory’s Girl, 1980
  • Local Hero, 1983
  • Housekeeping, 1987

Friday, November 13

Double Feature: Killer Kiddies

The Bad Seed and Village of the Damned

The kids are very much not all right in two chilling tales of demonic children whose innocent faces conceal shocking evil. First, director Mervyn LeRoy blows the archetype of the picture-perfect 1950s family to bits in The Bad Seed, in which a mother discovers that her adorable, pigtailed daughter has a murderous dark side. One homicidal tyke is bad enough, but heaven help the residents of the Village of the Damned, in which a gaggle of towheaded tots with glowing eyes and telepathic powers are a parent’s worst nightmare come to terrifying life.

Saturday, November 14

Saturday Matinee: Lovers and Lollipops

Directors Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin followed up their independent landmark Little Fugitive with an equally charming slice-of-life fable that, like its predecessor, captures 1950s New York City through the eyes of a child. Bursting with the same stylistic spontaneity that made Little Fugitive a favorite of the French New Wave upstarts, Lovers and Lollipops tells the story of a headstrong young girl (Cathy Dunn) who, when she feels threatened by her single mother’s relationship with a new boyfriend, begins—both intentionally and unintentionally—to thwart the budding romance. Shot on handheld cameras all across the city—from Central Park to the Museum of Modern Art to Macy’s toy department—this freewheeling time capsule is a lyrical ode to the resilience of love and the enchantment of youth.

Sunday, November 15

30 Years of The Film Foundation

Featuring a new interview with Martin Scorsese by Ari Aster

In 1990, Martin Scorsese founded an organization whose stated mission told the world, in no uncertain terms, that movies matter, that the art of cinema and its history is a legacy worth preserving. Three decades later, The Film Foundation is an indispensable pillar of moving-image culture, helping to make possible over 850 restorations so far and raising much-needed awareness of the necessity of film preservation as central to the safeguarding of our cultural heritage. In recognition of thirty years of vital work, the Criterion Channel looks back at a selection of the many brilliant films that, thanks to the efforts of The Film Foundation, have been rescued from the ravages of time for future generations to discover. Beginning with these thirty films, the series will expand over the next year, with new additions to be announced monthly.

Features

  • The Broken Butterfly, Maurice Tourneur, 1919
  • Trouble in Paradise, Ernst Lubitsch, 1932
  • It Happened One Night, Frank Capra, 1934
  • L’Atalante, Jean Vigo, 1934
  • The Long Voyage Home, John Ford, 1940
  • The Chase, Arthur Ripley, 1946
  • The Red Shoes, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1948
  • The River, Jean Renoir, 1951
  • Moulin Rouge, John Huston, 1952
  • The Bigamist, Ida Lupino, 1953
  • Ugetsu, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953
  • Senso, Luchino Visconti, 1954
  • The Big Country, William Wyler, 1958
  • Shadows, John Cassavetes, 1959
  • The Cloud-Capped Star, Ritwik Ghatak, 1960
  • Primary, Robert Drew, 1960
  • The Connection, Shirley Clarke, 1961
  • Salvatore Giuliano, Francesco Rosi, 1962
  • The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman, 1964
  • Once Upon a Time in the West, Sergio Leone, 1968
  • The Night of Counting the Years, Shadi Abdel Salam, 1969
  • Soleil Ô, Med Hondo, 1970
  • The Mattei Affair, Francesco Rosi, 1972
  • Insiang, Lino Brocka, 1976
  • Xiao Wu, Jia Zhangke, 1997

Shorts

  • The Fatal Glass of Beer, Clyde Bruckman, 1933
  • Uncle Yanco, Agnès Varda, 1967
  • Black Panthers, Agnès Varda, 1968
  • The Eloquent Peasant, Shadi Abdel Salam, 1970
  • Audience, Barbara Hammer, 1983

Monday, November 16

Antonio Gaudí: Criterion Collection Edition #425

Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) designed some of the world’s most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films ever made. In Antonio Gaudí, their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara’s film takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject’s organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí on film. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with architect Arata Isozaki, footage from Teshigahara’s first trip to Spain, a 2003 documentary on Gaudí’s life and work, a 1961 BBC program on Gaudí by Ken Russell, and more.

Tuesday, November 17

Short Films by Sky Hopinka

Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker

Transcendent meditations on language, landscape, and myth, the ethnopoetic works of Sky Hopinka—a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians—explode the traditions of ethnographic filmmaking and reclaim the form as a vehicle for ecstatic personal expression. Through an intricate layering of words and images, Hopinka creates dense, hallucinatory audiovisual collages that reflect his longstanding interest in endangered Indigenous languages (particularly the nearly extinct chinuk wawa) and the cultural memories embedded within them. Through both his filmmaking and his work with the COUSIN Collective, which supports fellow Native filmmakers, Hopinka has emerged as a vital force in bringing the contemporary Indigenous experience to the screen.

  • Wawa, 2014
  • Kunįkága Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkága Remembers the Welcome Song, 2014
  • Venite et Loquamur, 2015
  • Jáaji Approx., 2015
  • Visions of an Island, 2016
  • I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become, 2016
  • Anti-Objects, or Space Without Path or Boundary, 2017
  • Dislocation Blues, 2017
  • Fainting Spells, 2018
  • When you’re lost in the rain, 2018
  • Lore, 2019

Tuesday, November 17

Shorts + Feature: Caribbean Journeys

Dadli and Black Mother

Experience some of the many dimensions of life in the Caribbean in two immersive voyages through its islands. Dadli, the 16 mm debut short from acclaimed cinematographer Shabier Kirchner (Small Axe), is a richly textured, observational portrait of street life in Antigua, the island where he grew up, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Then, Khalik Allah takes us on a spiritual journey through Jamaica in his mesmerizing Black Mother, exploring both the island’s vibrant culture and tumultuous history through a procession of ecstatically poetic images.

Wednesday, November 18

Directed by Ngozi Onwurah

Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker

A vital cinematic voice of the Black diaspora, British-Nigerian filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah has forged an eclectic cinematic vocabulary that spans documentary and genre spectacle, formal experimentation and bold political commentary. Her short work includes autobiographical explorations of racial and sexual identity (The Body Beautiful) as well as nonfiction studies of the conflicts between tradition and modernity that shape gender roles in Nigerian society (The Desired Number). And with her dystopian feature debut, Welcome II the Terrordome, Onwurah proved herself to be a visionary ahead of her time, becoming the first Black woman to direct a British feature in the process.

Features

  • Welcome II the Terrordome, 1995

Shorts

  • Coffee Colored Children, 1988
  • The Body Beautiful, 1991
  • And Still I Rise, 1993
  • The Desired Number, 1995

Thursday, November 19

Three by Nadav Lapid

Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker

The bracing films of Israeli writer-director Nadav Lapid are visceral, highly physical explorations of identity, belonging, and otherness informed by his own complicated relationship with his homeland. In just three features to date—the hard-hitting hostage drama Policeman, the provocative psychological puzzle The Kindergarten Teacher, and the delirious expat tragicomedy Synonyms—Lapid has established himself as one of contemporary cinema’s most arresting voices, a continually surprising artist who finds bold and unexpected ways to grapple with Israel’s fractured national consciousness.

  • Policeman, 2011
  • The Kindergarten Teacher, 2014
  • Synonyms, 2019

Thursday, November 19

King of the Hill: Criterion Collection Edition #698

For his first Hollywood studio production, Steven Soderbergh (whose independent debut, sex, lies, and videotape, had won the Palme d’Or at Cannes a few years earlier) crafted this small jewel of a growing-up story. Set in St. Louis during the Great Depression, King of the Hill follows the daily struggles of a resourceful and imaginative adolescent who, after his younger brother is sent to live with a relative and his tubercular mother to a sanitarium, must survive on his own in a run-down hotel during his salesman father’s long business trips. This evocative period piece, faithfully adapted from the A. E. Hotchner memoir, is among the versatile Soderbergh’s most touching and surprising films. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Soderbergh and author A. E. Hotchner; Against Tyranny, a video essay by Kogonada exploring Soderbergh’s unique approach to narrative; The Underneath, Soderbergh’s follow-up feature to King of the Hill; and more.

Friday, November 20

Double Feature: Domestic Disturbances

Faces and Deathdream

John Cassavetes’s lacerating marital drama Faces is a brutal and compassionate portrait of a couple confronting the wreckage of their relationship. Bob Clark’s unjustly neglected horror gem Deathdream explores the domestic ravages of the Vietnam War through the story of a couple who receive a shock when their son—who has supposedly died fighting overseas—suddenly returns home. What do these seemingly disparate films have in common? In both, powerhouse actors John Marley and Lynn Carlin play the husband and wife in question, bringing searing intensity and pathos to their harrowing portrayals of couples in crisis.

Saturday, November 21

Saturday Matinee: Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome’s classic children’s novel was beautifully adapted for the big screen with this enchanting adventure bursting with wit, wonder, and early-twentieth-century period detail. While on summer holiday with their mother in North West England’s Lake District, four siblings set sail for a nearby island that they soon discover is the territory of two other young girls. As rivalry turns to friendship, the kids—who declare themselves the Swallows and Amazons, respectively—embark on a series of moonlit expeditions, boat voyages, and adult-besting competitions over the course of what proves to be a most unforgettable summer idyll.

Sunday, November 22

Queersighted: Queer Fear

Featuring a new conversation between series programmer Michael Koresky and filmmaker and critic Farihah Zaman

We’re freaking ourselves out in this installment of Queersighted, which features a selection of movies that cast illumination on some of the darker corners of queer cinema. The mission of this ongoing series is to draw out the realities and presence of a non-heteronormative, non-gender-binary cinema that has always existed alongside, parallel to, or underneath the status quo—and there is perhaps no genre that’s better suited to teasing out queer subtext than horror. From Victorian-tinged gothic ghost stories and campy creaky-house movies to gory explorations of forbidden desires and contemporary psychological thrillers, these films—which include movies directed by out filmmakers like James Whale, Clive Barker, and Alain Guiraudie—remind us that queerness has traditionally been seen as the ultimate fear for hetero life, an inchoate threat that cannot be contained. But even when queer figures are cast as villains, their erotic charisma is often the source of these films’ delights—after all, when it comes to horror, it’s the monsters who get top billing.

  • The Old Dark House, James Whale, 1932
  • The Black Cat, Edgar G. Ulmer, 1934
  • The Seventh Victim, Mark Robson, 1943
  • The Uninvited, Lewis Allen, 1944
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, Albert Lewin, 1945
  • Diabolique, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955
  • The Haunting, Robert Wise, 1963
  • Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir, 1975
  • Hellraiser, Clive Barker, 1987
  • Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie, 2013
  • Always Shine, Sophia Takal, 2016

Monday, November 23

A Spell to Ward off the Darkness

Less a film in the traditional sense than an incantatory induction into the sublime, this utterly unclassifiable collaboration between boundary-pushing experimentalists Ben Rivers and Ben Russell finds transcendence in the elemental forces of earth, water, and doom metal. Through three episodes, we follow a man (played by musician Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe) in search of present-day utopia, first as a member of a commune on an Estonian island, then alone in the majestic wilderness of northern Finland, and finally as the singer of a neopagan black-metal band in Norway. Blending documentary, ethnography, and narrative into a 16 mm monument of trance-state cinema, Rivers and Russell tap into something mythic, eternal, and totally overpowering.

Tuesday, November 24

Short + Feature: In Rave Danger

Acid Rain and Victoria

Turn up the bass and turn out the lights for two synthy, stroboscopic journeys through Europe’s underground rave scene that capture both its hedonistic highs and crushing comedowns. First, it’s back to the ’90s in Tomek Popakul’s hallucinogenic animated short Acid Rain, in which a woman’s mind-enhancing odyssey through the Day-Glo wonderland of Poland’s club-drug subculture takes a dark and disturbing turn. Then, Sebastian Schipper plunges the viewer into the heart of Berlin’s shadowy underbelly in the exhilarating thriller Victoria, another tale of a night out gone wrong, dazzlingly shot in a virtuosic single take.

Wednesday, November 25

Werewolf

Featuring a new introduction by director Ashley McKenzie

With both sensitivity and brutal honesty, the revelatory feature debut from Ashley McKenzie immerses the viewer in the hardscrabble lives of two methadone addicts locked in a toxic relationship. Drifting through life on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, twentysomething junkies Blaise (Andrew Gillis) and Vanessa (Bhreagh MacNeil) survive by sleeping in tents and harassing residents into letting them mow their lawns for money in order to finance their next fix. Shooting in oblique close-ups that heighten the sense of disorientation, McKenzie doggedly and courageously refuses to romanticize her characters’ lives, capturing the futility, toil, and frustration that define their existence with startling immediacy. Werewolf is presented alongside two shorts by McKenzie that further showcase her jagged, uncompromising style and feeling for life on the margins.

Features

  • Werewolf, 2016

Shorts

  • Stray, 2013
  • 4 Quarters, 2015

Thursday, November 26

Short Films by W. C. Fields

The prickly genius of comic curmudgeon W. C. Fields is on display in five classic shorts that showcase his roguish wit and timeless cynicism. Though he made his screen debut in 1915 showing off his slapstick skills in Pool Sharks, the irascible writer-actor had to wait until the sound era of the 1930s for his distinctive drawl and colorful wordplay to find proper appreciation in hilariously antisocial gems like The Barber Shop and the surreal melodramatic satire The Fatal Glass of Beer. Full of antifamily values and brilliantly off-the-cuff one-liners, these shorts are miniature masterpieces of misanthropy from one of the screen’s most sui generis talents.

  • Pool Sharks, Edwin Middleton, 1915
  • The Golf Specialist, Monte Brice, 1930
  • The Barbershop, Arthur Ripley, 1933
  • The Fatal Glass of Beer, Clyde Bruckman, 1933
  • The Pharmacist, Arthur Ripley, 1933

Friday, November 27

Double Feature: Meet the Author

The Arbor and Rita, Sue and Bob Too

One of the most fascinating and innovative documentaries of the last decade, Clio Barnard’s The Arbor deploys a radical formal device—in which actors lip-synch to audio interviews—to tell the story of Andrea Dunbar, the brilliant but troubled British playwright who brought the everyday concerns of working-class Britain to the stage with unvarnished authenticity. It’s presented with the irreverently incisive sex-and-class comedy Rita, Sue and Bob Too, adapted by Dunbar from her own stage play and directed by fellow social realist Alan Clarke—a film that was billed as “Thatcher’s Britain with her knickers down.”

Saturday, November 28

Saturday Matinee: The King and the Mockingbird

French animation master Paul Grimault worked for over thirty years to bring this dizzyingly imaginative adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep” to the screen. A feast of gorgeous hand-drawn visuals, THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD tells the story of the irreverent, brightly feathered mockingbird who defies a tyrannical king in order to help a young couple escape his clutches. Cited by Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata as a key influence on their art, this winningly eccentric fable is one of the true treasures of traditional animation.

Sunday, November 29

Directed by Terence Nance

Featuring a new conversation between Nance and critic Greg Tate

Beamed straight from his id to your eyeballs, the kaleidoscopic, mind-enhancing visions of Terence Nance swirl surrealism, Afrofuturism, animation, and confessional documentary into exhilaratingly unclassifiable works of free-form abstraction. In his ecstatically innovative feature An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, experimental sketch show Random Acts of Flyness, and a string of visually enthralling short films and music videos, Nance has established himself as one of America’s most forward-thinking filmmakers, a boundary-breaking creative spirit who has the remarkable ability to shape the raw materials of his subconscious into poetic, political, and philosophical expressions of the cosmic sublime.

Features

  • An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, 2012

Shorts

  • No Ward, 2009
  • Native Sun, 2011
  • Their Fall Our All, 2014
  • Swimming in Your Skin Again, 2015
  • You and I and You, 2015
  • Univitellin, 2016
  • Jimi Could Have Fallen From the Sky, 2017

Monday, November 30

Films by Rithy Panh

The sole member of his family to survive the Cambodian genocide, documentarian Rithy Panh has devoted himself to exorcising the traumas of his country’s past through the cathartic power of cinema. These profoundly moving works—the Academy Award–nominated The Missing Picture, which recreates the lost images of the genocide through clay figurines, and Exile, a poetic rumination on the horrors his family experienced at the hands of the Khmer Rouge—are harrowing and haunting records of human atrocity and unbelievable resilience.

  • The Missing Picture, 2013
  • Exile, 2016

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 35 Shots of Rum, Claire Denis, 2008
  • 4 Quarters, Ashley McKenzie, 2015
  • Accident, Joseph Losey, 1967
  • Acid Rain, Tomek Popakul, 2019
  • Always Shine, Sophia Takal, 2016
  • And Still I Rise, Ngozi Onwurah, 1993
  • Anti-Objects, or Space Without Path or Boundary, Sky Hopinka, 2017
  • The Arbor, Clio Barnard, 2010 *
  • The Bad Seed, Mervyn LeRoy, 1956
  • The Barbershop, Arthur Ripley, 1933
  • Beau travail, Claire Denis, 1999
  • The Big Country, William Wyler, 1958
  • The Black Cat, Edgar G. Ulmer, 1934
  • Blind Alley, Charles Vidor, 1939
  • The Body Beautiful, Ngozi Onwurah, 1991
  • The Broken Butterfly, Maurice Tourneur, 1919
  • Butley, Harold Pinter, 1974
  • The Canterville Ghost, Jules Dassin, 1944
  • The Chase, Arthur Ripley, 1946
  • Chocolat, Claire Denis, 1988
  • The Cobweb, Vincente Minnelli, 1955
  • Coffee Colored Children, Ngozi Onwurah, 1988
  • The Connection, Shirley Clarke, 1961
  • Dadli, Shabier Kirchner, 2018
  • Dark Days, Marc Singer, 2000
  • The Dark Past, Rudolph Maté, 1948
  • David and Lisa, Frank Perry, 1962
  • The Desired Number, Ngozi Onwurah, 1995
  • The Devil-Doll, Tod Browning, 1936
  • Dislocation Blues, Sky Hopinka, 2017
  • A Dream is What You Wake Up From, Larry Bullard and Carolyn Johnson, 1978
  • Dressed to Kill, Brian De Palma, 1980
  • The Elephant Man, David Lynch, 1980
  • The Eloquent Peasant, Shadi Abdel Salam, 1970
  • Exile, Rithy Panh, 2016**
  • Fainting Spells, Sky Hopinka, 2018
  • The Fatal Glass of Beer, Clyde Bruckman, 1933
  • Flores, Jorge Jácome, 2017
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Karel Reisz, 1981
  • The Go-Between, Joseph Losey, 1971
  • The Golf Specialist, Monte Brice, 1930
  • Gregory’s Girl, Bill Forsyth, 1980
  • Guest of Honour, Atom Egoyan, 2019
  • The Haunting, Robert Wise, 1963
  • Hellraiser, Directed by Clive Barker, 1987
  • The Homecoming, Peter Hall, 1973
  • Housekeeping, Directed by Bill Forsyth, 1987
  • I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become, Sky Hopinka, 2016
  • It Happened One Night, Frank Capra, 1934
  • Jáaji Approx., Sky Hopinka, 2015
  • Jimi Could Have Fallen from the Sky, Terence Nance, 2017
  • The Kindergarten Teacher, Nadav Lapid, 2014
  • The King and the Mockingbird, Paul Grimault, 1980
  • King of the Hill, Steven Soderbergh, 1993
  • Kunįkága Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkága Remembers the Welcome Song, Sky Hopinka, 2014
  • Local Hero, Bill Forsyth, 1983
  • Lore, Sky Hopinka, 2019
  • Lovers and Lollipops, Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, 1956
  • Mad Love, Karl Freund, 1935 *
  • Make Way for Tomorrow, Leo McCarey, 1993
  • The Mark, Guy Green, 1961
  • The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman, 1964
  • The Mattei Affair, Francesco Rosi, 1972
  • The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh, 2013 *
  • Moulin Rouge, John Huston, 1952
  • Native Sun, Terence Nance, 2011
  • Nenette and Boni, Claire Denis, 1996
  • The Night of Counting the Years, Shadi Abdel Salam, 1969
  • The Ninth Configuration, William Peter Blatty, 1980
  • No Fear, No Die, Claire Denis, 1990
  • No Ward, Terence Nance, 2009
  • Old Boyfriends, Joan Tewkesbury, 1979
  • The Old Dark House, James Whale, 1932
  • Once Upon a Time in the West, Sergio Leone, 1968
  • Ordinary People, Robert Redford, 1980
  • An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Terence Nance, 2012
  • The Pharmacist, Arthur Ripley, 1933
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, Albert Lewin, 1945
  • Policeman, Nadav Lapid, 2011
  • Pool Sharks, Edwin Middleton, 1915
  • The President’s Analyst, Ted Flicker, 1967
  • Pressure Point, Hubert Cornfield, 1962
  • The Pumpkin Eater, Jack Clayton, 1964
  • Rita, Sue and Bob Too, Alan Clarke, 1987
  • The Servant, Joseph Losey, 1963
  • The Seventh Victim, Mark Robson, 1943
  • A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, Ben Rivers and Ben Russell, 2013
  • Stand Up, Joseph Pierce, 2008
  • Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie, 2013 *
  • Stray, Ashley McKenzie, 2013
  • Sunset Song, Terence Davies, 2015
  • Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome, 1974
  • Swimming in Your Skin Again, Terence Nance, 2014
  • The Tenant, Roman Polanski, 1976
  • Their Fall Our All, Terence Nance, 2014
  • Towards Mathilde, Claire Denis, 2005 *
  • The Uninvited, Lewis Allen, 1944
  • Univitellin, Terence Nance, 2016
  • Venite et Loquamur, Sky Hopinka, 2015
  • Victoria, Sebastian Schipper, 2015
  • Village of the Damned, Wolf Rilla, 1960
  • Visions of an Island, Sky Hopinka, 2016
  • Wawa, Sky Hopinka, 2014
  • Welcome II the Terrordome, Ngozi Onwurah, 1995
  • Werewolf, Ashley McKenzie, 2016
  • When you’re lost in the rain, Sky Hopinka, 2019
  • Xiao Wu, Jia Zhangke, 1997
  • You and I and You, Terence Nance, 2015

    *Available in the US only

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Joshua Reviews Tsai Ming-liang’s Days [NYFF 2020] https://criterioncast.com/news/joshua-reviews-tsai-ming-liangs-days-nyff-2020 Wed, 30 Sep 2020 16:00:46 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64484

Returning to the director’s chair following an alleged retirement (at least from narrative, scripted filmmaking) in the wake of his incredible 2013 film Stray Dogs, legendary filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang has once again hopped behind the camera for a beautiful, almost silent (literally), rumination on loneliness and human connection.

Entitled Days, Tsai Ming-liang’s new effort tells the story of Kang (played by Tsai’s muse Lee Kang-sheng), a man at the midpoint of his life and dealing with an illness that remains relatively vague. Lee’s own experience with health issues has become something of a narrative theme throughout his working relationship with Tsai, particularly in films like The River, where the same neck issue that crops up here as a plot point becomes something of focal point in that film as well. Pain becomes a theme throughout the film, a subject Tsai’s films often touch on but is found particularly tender and human in this quiet, meditative picture. We don’t learn all that much about any of the players involved, instead Tsai forces viewers to read between the proverbial lines, if they’re even there.

Days is Tsai at his most sparse. His most narratively simplistic. To even ascribe an actual narrative to the film would feel almost comical. Opposite Kang is Anong Houngheuangsy as Non, a young, working class man who we watch go about his day, until the two cross paths during a massage. Told beautifully in a static, asymmetrical shot, the massage turns beautifully intimate and despite Tsai, himself, describing the scene as one of a purely transactional relationship, watching as this moment of true, genuine connection comes before and after devastatingly solitary sequences turns it into something truly otherworldly.

In one of the more moving sequences of the film, Kang rushes after Anong after the latter leaves the room, only for the two to have a quiet dinner in one anothers company, only to then return back to the isolated lives they both were living before they shared that one moment. Without the scenes of Anong washing vegetables silently in his home (as we’re all doing during quarantine, COVID-19 making this an experience all the more evocative), this small moment of connection and companionship would feel cheap and manipulative. Instead, Tsai is so assured in his craft as a composer of textured, tactile frames and frill-free narratives that it turns into something almost primordial. There’s a reason Tsai features a reference to Chaplin’s Limelight as a matter point of the film. Not only is that brilliant picture about a relationship between two people finding strength in one another, but this is a love letter to the type of silent films of Chaplin’s heyday. Very much riffing on Tsai’s recent run as an experimental visual artist, the visual language here is subtle, not simple, using wonderfully composed shots to get deeper ad deeper into the ever present sense of isolation and loneliness that makes the meeting of these two men feel nearly spiritual in its catharsis.  There are no words spoken here, instead finding the director at his most free, using simple, seemingly quaint framing to allow two titanic performances (Lee is particularly great here but Houngheuangsy is an absolute discovery) to breathe and riff on the palpable chemistry the two have, even if they only share the screen for a matter of moments.

Tsai Ming-liang’s Days is a gorgeous, wordless, meditation on isolation and companionship. A balm in the year 2020 and one of the great dramas of the year.

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October 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/october-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Fri, 25 Sep 2020 00:12:07 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64409 Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For October, the Channel will feature films from Marlon Riggs, Pedro Costa, Barbara Kopple, Jenni Olson, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial

Thursday, October 1

Vitalina Varela

Exclusive streaming premiere

A work of deeply concentrated beauty, the latest film from Portuguese master Pedro Costa stars nonprofessional actor Vitalina Varela in an extraordinary performance based on her own life. She plays a Cape Verdean woman who, after two decades of separation, travels to Lisbon to reunite with her husband—only to arrive mere days after his funeral. Alone in a strange, forbidding land, Vitalina perseveres and begins to establish a new life. Winner of the Golden Leopard for best film and best actress at the Locarno Film Festival, Vitalina Varela is a tour de force of shadow and whisper, a ravishing visual experience and a profoundly moving tale of human endurance.

Thursday, October 1

Directed by Pedro Costa

Portuguese cinematic poet Pedro Costa makes uncompromising, seemingly daunting works that, on the surface, appear rigorously spare. Look closer, however, and they reveal untold depths of human feeling and some of the most sublime images in contemporary cinema. Frequently working with nonprofessional actors—which lends his films a documentary-like realism—Costa turns his unflinching camera on some of Lisbon’s poorest and most disenfranchised communities in endlessly rich revelations like Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth, each set in the city’s impoverished Fontainhas quarter. Though Costa has made only a handful of films since the late 1980s, each is a rare treasure that manages to find truth and beauty in the bleakest of circumstances.

  • Casa de lava, 1994
  • Ossos, 1997
  • In Vanda’s Room, 2000
  • Colossal Youth, 2006
  • Vitalina Varela, 2019

Friday, October 2

Double Feature: Prying Eyes

Peeping Tom and Odd Obsession

Two taboo-busting tales of voyeuristic obsession explore the dangers of watching and being watched. First up, the film that all but ended British cinema titan Michael Powell’s career: the explosively controversial Peeping Tom, which stands as the most provocative and disturbing film ever made about the relationship between cinema, voyeurism, and violence. Then comes Kon Ichikawa’s black-comic thriller about an impotent family man who manipulates his younger wife into an affair in order to arouse his own jealousy, in a perverse game of scopophilia that’s all the more engrossing for the cool detachment with which Ichikawa films it.

Saturday, October 3

Saturday Matinee: The Yearling

Life abounds in the 1870s Florida scrubland that’s home to young Jody Baxter (Claude Jarman Jr., recipient of a special “juvenile” Academy Award). There are bears to hunt, cash crops to plant, evenings of storytelling with Pa (Gregory Peck) and Ma (Jane Wyman). And there are timeless lessons of love and letting go that Jody learns from Flag, the orphaned pet fawn that follows him around with devotion. Filmed on location in stunning Technicolor, this classic adaptation of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel beautifully captures both the wonders of the natural world and the bittersweet realities of the human one.

Sunday, October 4

’70s Horror

In the 1970s, everything was wilder, weirder, and more far-out—and horror movies were no exception. In North America, a new generation of maverick directors like Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), George A. Romero (The Crazies), Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes), Brian De Palma (Sisters), and David Cronenberg (The Brood) responded to the decade’s heightened political anxieties and Vietnam War–era sense of disillusionment by pushing the genre’s psychological intensity and visceral violence to shocking new heights. Across the Atlantic, Britain’s legendary Hammer Films continued to serve up old-school gothic spine-tinglers (The Vampire Lovers), while auteurs like Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now) wedded spellbinding terror to art-house experimentation. Bringing together some of the decade’s most iconic slashers, chillers, and killer thrillers alongside low-budget cult rarities (Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Deathdream) and camp-tastic oddities (Trog, Theater of Blood), this tour through the 1970s nightmare realm is a veritable blood feast of perverse pleasures from a time when gore, grime, and sleaze found a permanent home in horror.

  • Trog, Freddie Francis, 1970
  • The Vampire Lovers, Roy Ward Baker, 1970
  • Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971
  • Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, John D. Hancock, 1971
  • The Nightcomers, Michael Winner, 1971
  • Dracula A.D. 1972, Alan Gibson, 1972
  • Images, Robert Altman, 1972
  • Death Line, Gary Sherman, 1972
  • Season of the Witch, George A. Romero, 1972
  • The Crazies, George A. Romero, 1973
  • Don’t Look Now, Nicolas Roeg, 1973
  • Ganja & Hess, Bill Gunn, 1973
  • Sisters, Brian De Palma, 1973
  • Theater of Blood, Douglas Hickox, 1973
  • The Wicker Man, Robin Hardy, 1973
  • Black Christmas, Bob Clark, 1974
  • Deathdream, Bob Clark, 1974
  • It’s Alive, Larry Cohen, 1974
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Tobe Hooper, 1974
  • Shivers, David Cronenberg, 1975
  • The Tenant, Roman Polanski, 1976*
  • The Witch Who Came from the Sea, Matt Cimber, 1976
  • The Hills Have Eyes, Wes Craven, 1977
  • Rabid, David Cronenberg, 1977
  • Coma, Michael Crichton, 1978
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Philip Kaufman, 1978
  • Long Weekend, Colin Eggleston, 1978
  • The Brood, David Cronenberg, 1979
  • The Driller Killer, Abel Ferrara, 1979

*Available November 1

Monday, October 5

Directed by Barbara Kopple

Few figures have shaped the form of modern documentary storytelling more than Barbara Kopple, who, with her Academy Award–winning landmark Harlan County USA, fused the techniques of cinema verité with the radical spirit of 1970s political activism to create an electrifying account of a grueling, extended miners’ strike in southeastern Kentucky. Fifteen years later she won a second Oscar for American Dream, another bracing look at issues of union organizing and class struggle that, along with its predecessor, stands as one of the greatest and most trenchant films ever made about labor in the United States.

  • Harlan County USA, 1976
  • American Dream, 1990

Tuesday, October 6

Short + Feature: Chaos Reindeers

Deer Boy and Antichrist

These darkly atmospheric fairy tales stray into the forest to explore some of the primal anxieties of parents and children. Polish filmmaker Katarzyna Gondek’s hauntingly atmospheric Deer Boy tells the tale of a boy born with antlers, a misfortune that causes his mother and father feelings of shame, and the child to question his true nature—especially when he grows old enough to learn the family trade: deer hunting. Then, Danish provocateur Lars von Trier’s controversial psychodrama Antichrist trails a therapist (Willem Dafoe) and his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) into the woods, where they retreat after the accidental death of their infant son. But no respite is to be found, as they encounter all manner of gruesome terrors courtesy of Mother Nature—and, eventually, each other.

Wednesday, October 7

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Having established herself as one of contemporary cinema’s most electrifying voices with the critical triumphs of Ratcatcher and Morvern Callar, British auteur Lynne Ramsay continued her exploration of youth in turmoil with this gripping psychological thriller. Based on the acclaimed novel by Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin features a tour-de- force performance from Tilda Swinton as Eva, a mother pushed to the breaking point as she contends with the increasing malevolence of her seemingly sociopathic son Kevin (Ezra Miller). Ramsay’s masterful storytelling maintains a provocative moral ambiguity as it takes the age-old debate about nature vs. nurture to its chilling extreme.

Thursday, October 8

Watching the Polls

Is it November yet? Let the countdown to election night 2020 begin with a full ballot of films showcasing the drama, dysfunction, and high-stakes tension of the American political process. From groundbreaking looks at pivotal presidential runs like the cinema verité landmark Primary (Kennedy ’60) and the eye-opening behind-the-scenes procedural The War Room (Clinton ’92) to Hal Ashby’s bitingly cynical sixties elegy Shampoo (Nixon ’68) and Robert Downey Jr.’s gonzo campaign-trail odyssey The Last Party (Clinton/Bush ’92), this wining ticket of campaign classics is an all-American ode to the once-every-four-years, can’t-look-away spectacle that is our political theater of the absurd.

  • Primary, Robert Drew, 1960
  • The Best Man, Franklin J. Schaffner, 1964
  • Shampoo, Hal Ashby, 1975
  • The Last Party, Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin, 1993
  • The War Room, Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, 1993
  • Election, Alexander Payne, 1999

Thursday, October 8

Videodrome: Criterion Collection Edition #248

When Max Renn goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. As he struggles to unearth the origins of the program, he embarks on a hallucinatory journey into a shadow world of right-wing conspiracies, sadomasochistic sex games, and bodily transformation. Starring James Woods and Deborah Harry in one of her first film roles, Videodrome is one of writer/director David Cronenberg’s most original and provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking elements of sex and violence. With groundbreaking special effects makeup by Academy Award winner Rick Baker, Videodrome has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and mind-bending science fiction films of the 1980s. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Two audio commentaries, one by David Cronenberg and cinematographer Mark Irwin, the other by actors James Woods and Deborah Harry; Camera, a short film starring Videodrome’s Les Carlson, written and directed by Cronenberg; Forging the New Flesh, a documentary featurette about the creation of Videodrome’s video and prosthetic-makeup effects; and more.

Friday, October 9

Cat People: Criterion Collection Edition #833

The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manhattan who believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves (Kent Smith) will turn her into a feline predator. Lewton, a consummate producer-auteur who oversaw every aspect of his projects, found an ideal director in Jacques Tourneur, a chiaroscuro stylist adept at keeping viewers off-kilter with startling compositions and psychological innuendo. Together, they eschewed the canned effects of earlier monster movies in favor of shocking with subtle shadows and creative audio cues. One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon; Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a feature-length documentary about the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer; an archival interview with director Jacques Tourneur; and more.

Friday, October 9

Double Feature: Slime Time

The Blob and Beware! The Blob

In 1958, one of the most unforgettable movie monsters in cinema history oozed its way onto the screen and straight into drive-in immortality in the form of The Blob, a B-movie cult classic of gooey greatness starring Steve McQueen in one of his earliest roles. Fourteen years later, Larry Hagman (in his sole feature directorial effort) revived the gelatinous terror in Beware! The Blob, an appropriately tongue-in-cheek sequel with all the slimy outrageousness of the original plus a touch of irresistibly goofball camp humor.

Saturday, October 10

Saturday Matinee: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

The eye-popping special effects of stop-motion-animation wizard Ray Harryhausen dazzle and delight in this spectacular adventure fantasy. After a conniving sorcerer shrinks his fiancée (Kathryn Grant) to the size of a thumb, the heroic Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) must travel to the mythical island of Colossa—where a towering cyclops, a sword-swinging skeleton, and the enormous two-headed bird known as the Roc dwell—to find the secret that will return his beloved to her real size. Shot in glorious widescreen Technicolor and featuring a stirring score by the great Bernard Herrmann, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is the magical stuff of childhood nostalgia for older generations and a captivating discovery for young movie lovers.

Sunday, October 11

Starring Joan Crawford

Like the ambitious, upwardly mobile working women she became famous for portraying, Joan Crawford forged one of the longest-lasting and brightest-burning careers of Hollywood’s golden age through her fierce determination, dedication to her craft, and remarkable ability to continually reinvent herself. Rising through the ranks of MGM, she went from Jazz Age flapper ingenue (Our Dancing Daughters) to emblem of Depression-era tenacity (Dancing Lady, Sadie McKee) to A-list diva (The Women) to, by the early 1940s, so-called “box-office poison.” The first of multiple career comebacks ensued with her ferocious, Academy Award–winning turn in the stone-cold noir classic Mildred Pierce, leading to a second life as a melodrama queen in films like Humoresque, Possessed, and Autumn Leaves. And when it once again seemed like her career might fade away, the indomitable Crawford transformed herself into a 1960s horror grande dame in the gothic camp classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? A commanding screen presence whose steely veneer and concentrated intensity could give way to tender vulnerability, Crawford endures as one of the most complex and endlessly fascinating icons of the studio era—a star in every sense of the word whose larger-than-life legend has only grown with time.

  • The Unknown, Tod Browning, 1927
  • Our Dancing Daughters, Harry Beaumont, 1928
  • Our Modern Maidens, Jack Conway, 1929
  • Possessed, Clarence Brown, 1931
  • Grand Hotel, Edmund Goulding, 1932
  • Dancing Lady, Robert Z. Leonard, 1933
  • Sadie McKee, Clarence Brown, 1934
  • Love on the Run, W. S. Van Dyke, 1936
  • The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, Richard Boleslawski, Dorothy Arzner, and George Fitzmaurice, 1937
  • Mannequin, Frank Borzage, 1937
  • The Women, George Cukor, 1939
  • Strange Cargo, Frank Borzage, 1940
  • A Woman’s Face, George Cukor, 1941
  • Above Suspicion, Richard Thorpe, 1943
  • Mildred Pierce, Michael Curtiz, 1945
  • Humoresque, Jean Negulesco, 1946
  • Possessed, Curtis Bernhardt, 1947
  • The Damned Don’t Cry, Vincent Sherman, 1950
  • Harriet Craig, Vincent Sherman, 1950
  • Sudden Fear, David Miller, 1952
  • Queen Bee, Ranald MacDougall, 1955
  • Autumn Leaves, Robert Aldrich, 1956
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Robert Aldrich, 1962
  • Strait-Jacket, William Castle, 1964
  • Trog, Freddie Francis, 1970

Monday, October 12

Town Bloody Hall: Criterion Collection Edition #1039

On April 30, 1971, a standing-room-only crowd of New York’s intellectual elite packed the city’s Town Hall theater to see Norman Mailer—fresh from the controversy over his essay “The Prisoner of Sex” and the backlash it received from leaders of the women’s movement—tangle with a panel of four prominent female thinkers and activists: Jacqueline Ceballos, Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston, and Diana Trilling. Part intellectual death match, part three-ring circus, the proceedings were captured with crackling, fly-on-the-wall immediacy by the documentary great D. A. Pennebaker and a small crew, with Chris Hegedus later condensing the three-and-a-half-hour affair into this briskly entertaining snapshot of a singular cultural moment. Heady, heated, and hilarious, Town Bloody Hall is a dazzling display of feminist firepower courtesy of some of the most influential figures of the era, with Mailer plainly relishing his role as the pugnacious rabble-rouser and literary lion at the center of it all. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A new interview with Chris Hegedus; audio commentary featuring Hegedus and author Germaine Greer; footage from a 2004 celebration of the film, which brought the filmmakers together with participants Greer, Jacqueline Ceballos, and Jill Johnston; and more.

Tuesday, October 13

Short + Feature: Someone’s Watching

Influenza and Caché

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Told entirely through footage captured by security cameras, Bong Joon Ho’s innovative short Influenza documents a man’s descent into increasingly horrific violence with the characteristic twists, tension, and stylistic audaciousness that we’ve come to expect from the Parasite director. The unblinking, all-seeing gaze of the CCTV camera is used to similarly provocative effect in Michael Haneke’s Caché, a masterful exploration of privilege and guilt in which an upper-middle-class French couple find themselves plunged into a paranoid nightmare when they begin receiving a series of anonymous surveillance tapes.

Wednesday, October 14

Films by Jenni Olson

Featuring a new introduction by Olson

The personal and the political meet in the ruminative essay films of queer cinema memoirist Jenni Olson. Interweaving reflections on landscapes (particularly those of her longtime home city of San Francisco), lesbian identity, sexuality, and cinema, Olson’s searching, slyly self-deprecating film diaries take the viewer down a dizzying array of intellectual rabbit holes; they’re as likely to spin off into a history of the Golden Gate Bridge as a suicide hotspot (as in The Joy of Life) as they are into an account of a one-night stand with a straight woman (as in Blue Diary). Drawing on her deep knowledge of film history, Olson suffuses her works with allusions to classic Hollywood cinema (notably Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in her latest feature, The Royal Road), bringing dream-factory fantasy into intimate dialogue with the contemporary queer experience.

Features

  • The Joy of Life, 2005
  • The Royal Road, 2015

Shorts

  • Blue Diary, 1998
  • 575 Castro St., 2009
  • In nomine Patris, 2019

Thursday, October 15

Trouble in Paradise: Criterion Collection Edition #170

When thief Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) meets his true love in pickpocket Lily (Miriam Hopkins), they embark on a scam to rob lovely perfume-company executive Mariette Colet (Kay Francis). But when Gaston becomes romantically entangled with Mme. Colet, their larcenous ruse is jeopardized and Gaston is forced to choose between two beautiful women. Legendary director Ernst Lubitsch’s masterful touch is in full flower in Trouble in Paradise, a pinnacle of the sophisticated romantic comedy, loaded with sparkling dialogue, witty innuendo, and elegant comic invention. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Lubitsch biographer Scott Eyman; an introduction by director Peter Bogdanovich; Lubitsch’s 1917 short film Das fidele Gefängnis (The Merry Jail); and more.

Friday, October 16

Double Feature: Twisted Sister

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Sisters

Sibling bonds turn sour in this diabolical double bill. Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a dark and devilishly comedic showcase for two of Hollywood’s most notorious enemies, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, who play a sadistic, washed-up actor and her embittered, wheelchair-bound sister. Then, Brian De Palma’s first foray into horror voyeurism, Sisters follows the twisted relationship that forms between a fashion model, her former conjoined twin, and a hotshot reporter who suspects the latter of murder. Taking its cues from Hitchcock, De Palma’s scary and stylish paean to female destructiveness features a spine-tingling score from the great Bernard Herrmann.

Saturday, October 17

Saturday Matinee: Buck Privates

Comedy legends Bud Abbott and Lou Costello turn the military inside out in this World War II farce about a couple of con men who accidentally enlist in the army to avoid being arrested—only to discover that their drill instructor is the police officer they taunted on the streets of New York. The film that catapulted Abbott and Costello to stardom and made them one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1940s, this infectiously madcap musical comedy features performances by the Andrews Sisters, introducing their smash hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

Sunday, October 18

Race, Sex & Cinema: The World of Marlon Riggs

Featuring a new conversation between guest programmer Ashley Clark and filmmakers Vivian Kleiman and Shikeith

Filmmaker, gay-rights activist, poet, professor, provocateur: the late, great Black artist Marlon Riggs (1957–94) spoke truth to power through his work in bracingly eloquent fashion. Working at the height of the AIDS crisis and the conservative culture wars of the 1980s and early ’90s, Riggs—who was diagnosed with HIV in 1988—defied a culture of silence and shame to create formally innovative, often joyously expressive works about race, sexuality, identity, and representation that collapsed the divide between personal essay and documentary. Curated by guest programmer Ashley Clark, and based on the series of the same name that took place at Brooklyn Academy of Music in February 2019, Race, Sex & Cinema: The World of Marlon Riggs is a comprehensive retrospective of an essential artist whose work, more than twenty-five years after his death, remains every inch as resonant.

Features

  • Ethnic Notions, Marlon Riggs, 1986
  • Tongues Untied, Marlon Riggs, 1989
  • Color Adjustment, Marlon Riggs, 1992
  • Black Is … Black Ain’t, Marlon Riggs, 1994
  • I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs, Karen Everett, 1996

Shorts

  • Long Train Running: A History of the Oakland Blues, Marlon Riggs & Peter Webster, 1981
  • Affirmations, Marlon Riggs, 1990
  • Anthem, Marlon Riggs, 1991
  • Non, je ne regrette rien (No Regret), Marlon Riggs, 1993

Sunday, October 18

Inspired by Marlon Riggs

In 1994, Marlon Riggs died from AIDS at the tragically young age of thirty-seven. Riggs’s untimely passing robbed the world of an artist of uncommon vision and empathy, but not of his work’s ability to galvanize and inspire future generations. This program comprises a selection of stylistically and thematically diverse short films by contemporary Black and queer artists who have taken cues from Riggs to create works of empathy, playfulness, and intellectual rigor. From soul-searching dance to sensual drama, erotic expression to self-acceptance, these films are infused with Riggs’s generous spirit.

  • Walk for Me, Elegance Bratton, 2016
  • 100 Boyfriends Mixtape, Brontez Purnell, 2016
  • A Drop of Sun Under the Earth, Shikeith, 2017
  • The Labyrinth 1.0, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, 2017
  • A Guide to Breathing Underwater, Raven Jackson, 2018

Monday, October 19

Burroughs: The Movie: Criterion Collection Edition #789

Made up of intimate, revelatory footage of the singular author and poet filmed over the course of five years, Howard Brookner’s 1983 documentary about William S. Burroughs was for decades mainly the stuff of legend; that changed when Aaron Brookner, the late director’s nephew, discovered a print of it in 2011 and spearheaded a restoration. Now viewers can enjoy the invigorating candidness of Burroughs: The Movie, a one-of-a-kind nonfiction portrait that was brought to life with the help of a remarkable crew of friends, including Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo, and that features on-screen appearances by fellow artists of Burroughs’s including Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, Patti Smith, and Terry Southern. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who was a sound recordist on the film; audio interview with director Howard Brookner from 1985, conducted by William S. Burroughs biographer Ted Morgan; rare outtakes; and more.

Tuesday, October 20

Short + Feature: Let’s Talk About Sex

Dirty and Weekend

Two nuanced, emotionally raw queer romances get real about the intricacies of love, sex, and relationships. In Matthew Puccini’s sensitively observed, award-winning short Dirty, a young couple’s relationship is put to the test as they navigate intimacy together for the first time. Its tender yet unflinching approach to matters of sex and sexuality is mirrored in Andrew Haigh’s acclaimed breakout feature Weekend, which traces a one-night stand turned budding relationship between two men with a sensitivity and frankness rarely seen on-screen.

Wednesday, October 21

Women Filmmakers of New World Pictures

In the history of American independent cinema, few studios have assumed the legendary cult status of New World Pictures, the production company cofounded by pop-cinema wizard Roger Corman in 1970. Specializing in grindhouse sleaze staples like biker and women-in-prison films, the studio was a training ground for many up-and-coming New Hollywood mavericks, including a handful of trailblazing women who infused the company’s exploitation formula with a startling antipatriarchal punch. Films like Stephanie Rothman’s feminist social-issue drama The Student Nurses, Amy Holden Jones’s slasher-with-brains Slumber Party Massacre, and Penelope Spheeris’s punk rebel yell Suburbia stand out as fascinating examples of how the transgressive pleasures of exploitation cinema can be wedded to a subversive approach to gender and genre.

  • The Student Nurses, Stephanie Rothman, 1970
  • The Velvet Vampire, Stephanie Rothman, 1971
  • Humanoids from the Deep, Barbara Peeters and Jimmy T. Murakami, 1980
  • Slumber Party Massacre, Amy Holden Jones, 1982
  • Suburbia, Penelope Spheeris, 1983

Thursday, October 22

Directed by João Pedro Rodrigues

Featuring Where Are You, João Pedro Rodrigues?, a short self-portrait by the director from 2016

Sexy, cerebral, and transgressive, the films of Portuguese auteur João Pedro Rodrigues are fearless explorations of queer identity, alienation, and desire that reach for—and frequently attain—the transcendent. Fascinated by the tension between the carnal and the spiritual, Rodrigues has explored the extreme limits of both in daring tales of physical and psychic transfiguration like his startling debut, the grimy erotic shocker O Fantasma, and most recent feature, the iconoclastic modern-day religious odyssey The Ornithologist. Teeming with some of the most striking and extravagant images in contemporary cinema, Rodrigues’s films are unforgettable feasts for the eyes as well as the intellect.

  • O Fantasma, 2000
  • Two Drifters, 2005
  • To Die Like a Man, 2009
  • The Ornithologist, 2016

Friday, October 23

Double Feature: Woman on the Edge

Christine and Kate Plays Christine

In 1974, Florida newscaster Christine Chubbuck shocked the nation by committing suicide on live television—a tragedy that, in its entwining of violence and media spectacle, inspired not one, but two 2016 films to grapple with its legacy. Built around a riveting performance from Rebecca Hall, Antonio Campos’s Christine takes a relatively straightforward narrative approach to its subject, powerfully and empathetically recreating the events that led to Chubbuck’s fateful decision. In contrast, Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine adopts the form of a radically experimental documentary, toying provocatively with ideas of performance and reality as it follows the actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to play the role of Chubbuck in a fictitious narrative film about her life.

Saturday, October 24

Saturday Matinee: Kirikou and the Sorceress

West African folktales provide the basis for this wondrously imaginative adventure, brought to colorful life through exquisite hand-drawn animation. Brave newborn Kirikou is not like other babies. He comes out of the womb walking, talking, and ready for action as he sets out on a quest to save his village from an evil sorceress. The gorgeous visuals and vibrant music of Senegalese legend Youssou N’Dour come together in a captivating fable overflowing with timeless morals, wisdom, and life lessons.

Sunday, October 25

New Korean Cinema

Featuring a new introduction by critic Grady Hendrix and a conversation between directors Bong Joon Ho and Park Chan-wook

As Korean pop culture continues its worldwide ascent, now is a perfect time to catch up with the wild, genre-defying pleasures of the seemingly unstoppable movement known as the New Korean Cinema. Bringing together essential works by major directors like Bong Joon Ho (The Host, Mother), Park Chan-wook (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), Kim Jee-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters), and Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist) this sampler of modern classics and cult favorites spotlights the innovative artists who have powered the commercial and creative renaissance that completely transformed South Korea’s film industry from the mid 1990s through the late 2000s. Characterized by an ingenious mixing and subversion of genre conventions and an effortless blending of art-house and commercial sensibilities, these visceral, audaciously constructed films deliver both high-octane thrills and biting social and political critiques of contemporary Korean life.

Guest programmed by Goran Topalovic, cofounder of Subway Cinema and the New York Asian Film Festival

  • Nowhere to Hide, Lee Myung-se, 1999
  • Barking Dogs Never Bite, Bong Joon Ho, 2000
  • The Foul King, Kim Jee-woon, 2000
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Park Chan-wook, 2002
  • A Tale of Two Sisters, Kim Jee-woon, 2003
  • Crying Fist, Ryoo Seung-wan, 2005
  • Lady Vengeance, Park Chan-wook, 2005
  • The Host, Bong Joon Ho, 2006
  • Mother, Bong Joon Ho, 2009

… and more titles to be announced!

Monday, October 26

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

This gut-wrenching documentary tells the story of a devastating family tragedy in the form of a heartfelt home movie. On November 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered in a parking lot in western Pennsylvania; the prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Dr. Shirley Turner, promptly fled the United States for Canada, where she announced that she was pregnant with Andrew’s child. She named the little boy Zachary. When filmmaker Kurt Kuenne, Andrew’s oldest friend, begins making a film for little Zachary as a way for him to get to know the father he’d never meet, it’s the beginning of a wrenching, endlessly twisting odyssey that leads where no one could have foreseen.

Tuesday, October 27

Short + Feature: Booze and Blood

It’s Not Just You, Murray! and The Public Enemy

The colorful exploits of bootlegging gangsters are recounted with plenty of stylistic flash and punch by two titans of American cinema. Made while he was studying at New York University, Martin Scorsese’s early short It’s Not Just You, Murray! is an exuberantly inventive, subversively funny gangster spoof in which a middle-aged mobster looks back on the highs and lows of his life in organized crime—complete with a Busby Berkeley musical homage. It’s a tongue-in-cheek descendant of the granddaddy of all gangster movies, William A. Wellman’s gritty pre-Code classic The Public Enemy, starring an electrifying James Cagney in his breakout role as a bootlegger who rises to the precarious top of the criminal underworld.

Tuesday, October 27

Observations on Film Art No. 38: The Voice in Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl

In his watershed feature debut Black Girl, master director Ousmane Sembène offers a searing critique of colonialism’s legacy via the story of Diouana, a young Senegalese woman whose new life in France working for a white family gradually reveals itself to be a trap. In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Jeff Smith deconstructs Sembène’s multilayered use of dialogue and language, exploring how the central character’s outward terseness (what the director called “a defensive muteness”) contrasts with the film’s use of voice-over, which makes the viewer privy to Diouana’s inner thoughts as she grows increasingly disaffected with her situation. That both are expressed in French—the language of the colonizer, which Sembène’s contract required him to use—only enhances the film’s devastating portrait of cultural alienation.

Wednesday, October 28

Directed by Catherine Breillat

Shattering taboos with her unflinching, often shocking explorations of female sexuality and pleasure, Catherine Breillat emerged as one of the major voices of the New French Extremity, a movement defined by its transgressive focus on the corporeal realms of eroticism and violence. The two are inextricably linked in her daring body of work, which encompasses the controversial exploration of female desire Romance, the provocative coming-of-age portrait Fat Girl, revisionist fairy tales such as Bluebeard and Sleeping Beauty, and overtly autobiographical works like Abuse of Weakness. In all, Breillat fearlessly delves into the intricacies of eroticism, power, and sexual politics, forcing viewers to confront that which makes them most uncomfortable and radically redefining the depiction of the female body on-screen.

  • Romance, 1999
  • Fat Girl, 2001
  • Bluebeard, 2009
  • Sleeping Beauty, 2010
  • Abuse of Weakness, 2013

Thursday, October 29

Six Films by Faith and John Hubley

Featuring a conversation among the filmmakers’ children Mark, Emily, Georgia, and Ray Hubley, moderated by filmmaker Leah Shore

A pair of Hollywood exiles—she was a former sound-effects and music editor at Columbia, he was an ex–Disney cartoonist and union activist blacklisted for refusing to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee—Faith and John Hubley left behind the mainstream to forge a thrillingly experimental animation style all their own. Channeling the influences of jazz and abstract expressionism, the husband-and-wife duo created strikingly hand-drawn and -painted works that pulse with the improvisational spirit of bebop (Date with Dizzy, a sly anticapitalist critique featuring Dizzy Gillespie) and childhood imagination (Moonbird, which sets a recording of their own children at play to free-flowing animation). Applying their effortlessly light touch to weighty themes like atomic-age anxiety (the Academy Award–wining The Hole) and the place of humankind in the universe (the wondrous animated documentary Of Stars and Men), the Hubleys helped usher in a new era of independent animation in which Disneyfied gloss gave way to gloriously unrestrained personal expression.

Features

  • Of Stars and Men, 1961
  • Everybody Rides the Carousel, 1976

Shorts

  • Date with Dizzy, 1955
  • Tender Game, 1958
  • Moonbird, 1959
  • The Hole, 1962

Friday, October 30

Double Feature: Twice Bitten

Nosferatu and Nosferatu the Vampyre

An undead classic of German expressionist terror lives on in a spellbinding remake from contemporary cinema’s gutsiest iconoclast. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, F. W. Murnau’s 1922 silent landmark Nosferatu features arguably the creepiest vampire in cinema history in the form of Max Schreck’s Count Orlok, an ashen apparition straight from the nightmare realm. Over fifty years later, Werner Herzog conceived his own mesmerizingly moody Nosferatu the Vampyre as an homage to Murnau’s haunting vision, with a supremely disturbing Klaus Kinski sinking his teeth into the iconic title role.

Saturday, October 31

Saturday Matinee: The Illusionist

From Sylvain Chomet, the director of the acclaimed The Triplets Of Belleville, comes this charming animated flight of fancy based on an unproduced script written by Jacques Tati in 1956. The film—set in Scotland, rather than Czechoslovakia as Tati originally envisioned—follows a struggling illusionist, one of the last of a dying breed of stage entertainers whose thunder has been stolen by up-and-coming rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties, and bars, he meets a young fan whose belief in his art changes his life forever. Tipping its hat to Tati’s elegantly whimsical, bittersweet style, The Illusionist serves as a gently affecting meeting point between two generations of French cinematic magic-makers.

Saturday, October 31

The Devil’s Backbone: Criterion Collection Edition #666

One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary and video introduction by Del Toro; ¿Que es un fantasma?, a 2004 making-of documentary; an interactive director’s notebook; and more.

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 100 Boyfriends Mixtape, Brontez Purnell, 2016
  • 575 Castro St., Jenni Olson, 2008
  • The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Nathan Juran, 1958
  • Above Suspicion, Richard Thorpe, 1943
  • Abuse of Weakness, Catherine Breillat, 2013 **
  • Affirmations, Marlon Riggs, 1990
  • American Dream, Barbara Kopple, Cathy Caplan, Thomas Haneke, Lawrence Silk, 1990
  • Anthem, Marlon Riggs, 1991
  • Autumn Leaves, Robert Aldrich, 1956
  • Barking Dogs Never Bite, Bong Joon Ho, 2000 **
  • The Best Man, Franklin J. Schaffner, 1964
  • Beware! The Blob, Larry Hagman, 1972
  • Black Christmas, Bob Clark, 1974
  • Black Is … Black Ain’t, Marlon Riggs, 1994
  • Blue Diary, Jenni Olson, 1998
  • Bluebeard, Catherine Breillat, 2009 **
  • Buck Privates, Arthur Lubin, 1941
  • Caché, Michael Haneke, 2005
  • Casa de lava, Pedro Costa, 1994
  • Cat People, Jacques Tourneur, 1942
  • Christine, Antonio Campos, 2016
  • Color Adjustment, Marlon Riggs, 1992
  • Coma, Michael Crichton, 1978
  • The Crazies, George A. Romero, 1973
  • Crying Fist, Ryoo Seung-wan, 2005
  • The Damned Don’t Cry, Vincent Sherman, 1950
  • Dancing Lady, Robert Z. Leonard, 1933
  • Date With Dizzy, John Hubley, 1958
  • Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971
  • Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, Kurt Kuenne, 2008
  • Death Line, Gary Sherman, 1972
  • Deathdream, Bob Clark, 1974
  • The Devil’s Backbone, Guillermo del Toro, 2001 **
  • Dirty, Matthew Puccini, 2020
  • Don’t Look Now, Nicolas Roeg, 1973
  • Dracula A.D. 1972, Alan Gibson, 1972
  • The Driller Killer, Abel Ferrara, 1979
  • A Drop of Sun Under the Earth, Shikeith, 2017
  • Election, Alexander Payne, 1999
  • Ethnic Notions, Marlon Riggs, 1986
  • Everybody Rides the Carousel, John Hubley, 1976
  • O Fantasma, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2000
  • The Foul King, Kim Jee-woon, 2000
  • Grand Hotel, Edmund Goulding, 1932
  • Harriet Craig, Vincent Sherman, 1950
  • The Hills Have Eyes, Wes Craven, 1977
  • The Hole, John Hubley, 1962
  • The Host, Bong Joon Ho, 2006 **
  • Humanoids from the Deep, Barbara Peeters, Jimmy T. Murakami, 1980
  • Humoresque, Jean Negulesco, 1946
  • I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs, Karen Everett, 1996
  • The Illusionist, Sylvain Chomet, 2010 **
  • Images, Robert Altman, 1972
  • In nomine Patris, Jenni Olson, 2019
  • Influenza, Bong Joon Ho, 2004
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Philip Kaufman, 1978
  • It’s Alive, Larry Cohen, 1974
  • The Joy of Life, Jenni Olson, 2005
  • Kirikou and the Sorceress, Michel Ocelot, 1998
  • The Labyrinth 1.0, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, 2017
  • Lady Vengeance, Park Chan-wook, 2005
  • The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, Richard Boleslawski, Dorothy Arzner, George Fitzmaurice, 1937
  • The Last Party, Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin, 1993
  • Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, John D. Hancock, 1971
  • Long Train Running: A History of the Oakland Blues, Marlon Riggs, Peter Webster, 1981
  • Love on the Run, W.S. Van Dyke, 1936
  • Mannequin, Frank Borzage, 1937
  • Mildred Pierce, Michael Curtiz, 1945
  • Moonbird, John Hubley, 1959
  • Mother, Bong Joon Ho, 2009 **
  • The Nightcomers, Michael Winner, 1971
  • Non, je ne regrette rien (No Regret), Marlon Riggs, 1993
  • Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau, 1922
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre, Werner Herzog, 1979
  • Nowhere to Hide, Lee Myung-se, 1999
  • Of Stars and Men, John Hubley, 1961
  • The Ornithologist, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2016 **
  • Our Dancing Daughters, Harry Beaumont, 1928
  • Our Modern Maidens, Jack Conway, 1929
  • Peeping Tom, Michael Powell, 1960
  • Possessed, Clarence Brown, 1931
  • Possessed, Curtis Bernhardt, 1947
  • The Public Enemy, William A. Wellman, 1931
  • Queen Bee, Ranald MacDougall, 1955
  • Rabid, David Cronenberg, 1977
  • Romance, Catherine Breillat, 1999
  • The Royal Road, Jenni Olson, 2015
  • Sadie McKee, Clarence Brown, 1934
  • Season of the Witch, George A. Romero, 1972
  • Shampoo, Hal Ashby, 1975
  • Shivers, David Cronenberg, 1975
  • Sleeping Beauty, Catherine Breillat, 2010 **
  • Slumber Party Massacre, Amy Holden Jones, 1982
  • The Smiling Lieutenant, Ernst Lubitsch, 1931
  • Strait-Jacket, William Castle, 1964
  • Strange Cargo, Frank Borzage, 1940
  • The Student Nurses, Stephanie Rothman, 1970
  • Suburbia, Penelope Spheeris, 1983
  • Sudden Fear, David Miller, 1952
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Park Chan-wook, 2002
  • A Tale of Two Sisters, Kim Jee-woon, 2003
  • Tender Game, John Hubley, 1958
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Tobe Hooper, 1974
  • Theater of Blood, Douglas Hickox, 1973
  • To Die Like a Man, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2009 **
  • Tongues Untied, Marlon Riggs, 1989
  • Trog, Freddie Francis, 1970
  • Trouble in Paradise, Ernst Lubitsch, 1932
  • Two Drifters, João Pedro Rodrigues, 2005**
  • The Unknown, Tod Browning, 1927
  • The Vampire Lovers, Roy Ward Baker, 1970
  • The Velvet Vampire, Stephanie Rothman, 1971
  • Videodrome, David Cronenberg, 1983
  • Vitalina Varela, Pedro Costa, 2019
  • Walk For Me, Elegance Bratton, 2016
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay, 2011 **
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Robert Aldrich, 1962
  • The Wicker Man, Robin Hardy, 1973
  • The Witch Who Came from the Sea, Matt Cimber, 1976
  • A Woman’s Face, George Cukor, 1941
  • The Women, George Cukor, 1939
  • The Yearling, Clarence Brown, 1946

** Available in the U.S. only

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September 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/september-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Sun, 30 Aug 2020 23:05:09 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64254 Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For August, the Channel will feature films from Agnès Varda, Lucrecia Martel, Dorothy Arzner, Janicza Bravo, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

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Tuesday, September 1

Sátántangó

One of the towering achievements of modern cinema, Béla Tarr’s newly restored magnum opus, based on the novel by László Krasznahorkai, follows members of a small, defunct agricultural collective who set out to leave their village on the heels of a financial windfall. As a few of the townspeople secretly conspire to abscond with all of the earnings themselves, a mysterious character, long thought dead, returns to the village, altering the course of everyone’s lives. Shot in exquisite monochrome and composed in arresting long takes, Sátántangó unfolds in twelve distinct movements, alternating forward and backward in time, echoing the structure of a tango dance. Tarr’s monumental vision, aided by longtime partner and collaborator Ágnes Hranitzky, is enthralling, and his immersive evocation of rural Hungary as a postapocalyptic world of boozy dance parties, treachery, and near-perpetual rainfall is both transfixing and uncompromising.

Tuesday, September 1

Short + Feature: Super Bowles

You Are Not I and The Sheltering Sky

The writings of modernist literary legend Paul Bowles, an American expatriate who spent the majority of his life in Tangier, inspire two psychologically charged adaptations by singular film artists. Based on a Bowles short story, Sara Driver’s long-lost No Wave touchstone You Are Not I evokes a woman’s fractured mental state through a trancelike procession of haunting, uncanny images. Then, we’re whisked away to the sunbaked landscapes of the Sahara Desert for Bernardo Bertolucci’s sensuous take on Bowles’s celebrated novel The Sheltering Sky, starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich as an American couple whose sojourn to North Africa turns into a soul-shaking existential exploration.

Wednesday, September 2

Two by Dorothy Arzner

Featuring a documentary on Arzner by Katja Raganelli

The only woman to work as a director within the studio system of 1930s Hollywood, Dorothy Arzner was a trailblazer whose fascinating, often subversive films were the product of a sophisticated, queer, protofeminist sensibility that managed to assert itself in spite of the limitations of commercial moviemaking. Both made during the early 1930s at Paramount, where Arzner worked first as an editor before establishing herself as a director during the silent era, these pre-Code gems are two of her finest and most neglected films: Working Girls, a witty and complex tale of female ambition set in a women’s boarding house, and Merrily We Go to Hell, an alcohol-soaked portrait of an open marriage on a downward spiral.

  • Working Girls, 1931
  • Merrily We Go to Hell, 1932

Thursday, September 3

The Heiress: Criterion Collection Edition #974

Directed with a keen sense of ambiguity by William Wyler, this film based on a hit stage adaptation of Henry James’s Washington Square pivots on a question of motive. When shy, emotionally fragile Catherine Sloper (Olivia de Havilland, in a heartbreaking, Oscar-winning turn), the daughter of a wealthy New York doctor, begins to receive calls from the handsome spendthrift Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), she becomes possessed by the promise of romance. Are his smoldering professions of love sincere, as she believes they are? Or is Catherine’s calculating father (Ralph Richardson) correct in judging Morris a venal fortune seeker? A graceful drawing-room drama boasting Academy Award–winning costume design by Edith Head, The Heiress is also a piercing character study riven by emotional uncertainty and lacerating cruelty, in a triumph of classic Hollywood filmmaking at its most psychologically nuanced. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An appearance by de Havilland on a 1986 episode of The Paul Ryan Show; a conversation between screenwriter Jay Cocks and film critic Farran Smith Nehme; a program about the film’s costumes featuring costume collector and historian Larry McQueen; The Costume Designer, a restored 1950 short film featuring costume designer Edith Head; and more.

Friday, September 4

Double Feature: Spaghetti alla Samurai

Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars

A Japanese chanbara classic inspires a landmark Spaghetti western—and, in turn, a transnational lawsuit—in this one-two punch of visually spectacular action mayhem. Akira Kurosawa’s darkly comic Yojimbo stars the incomparable Toshiro Mifune as a wily masterless samurai who turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Mifune’s character served as a template for the Man with No Name played by Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s pulp-operatic A Fistful of Dollars, an international sensation that launched Eastwood to superstardom and prompted Kurosawa and his studio to sue successfully for copyright infringement.

Saturday, September 5

Saturday Matinee: Duck Soup

The marvelous Marx Brothers are at their anarchic best in this wildly hilarious tour de force of comic invention. When Groucho’s Rufus T. Firefly, president of the bankrupt nation of Freedonia, picks a fight with the ambassador of a neighboring country, absurdist militaristic mayhem ensues in what may the finest and funniest of the brothers’ films, directed by irreverent Hollywood craftsman Leo McCarey. Along the way there are outlandish musical numbers, some of Groucho’s most priceless one-liners, and the pure genius of the classic mirror scene, a wordless, three-minute slice of slapstick perfection.

Sunday, September 6

Pre-Code Joan Blondell

Featuring a new introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith

Classic Hollywood’s consummate scene-stealing sidekick, Joan Blondell enjoyed a successful screen career for nearly five decades, but it was during the anything-goes pre-Code era of the early 1930s—when dames, gold diggers, and good-time girls were cinematic staples—that she reached her zenith. Her vivacious energy and wisecracking persona were perfectly suited to the punchy, fast-paced style of her home studio, Warner Bros., where she was often paired with the similarly brash, dynamic James Cagney in popular hits like the mob film He Was Her Man, the delightfully risqué romantic comedy Blonde Crazy, and the kaleidoscopic Busby Berkeley musical extravaganza Footlight Parade. Whether lending snappy comedic support to a dramatic heavy hitter like Barbara Stanwyck in Night Nurse or showing her range playing a mob boss in the all-too-rare starring vehicle Blondie Johnson, Blondell exuded an irresistible, naughty-but-nice irreverence that was pure pre-Code.

  • Blonde Crazy, Roy Del Ruth, 1931
  • Millie, John Francis Dillon, 1931
  • Night Nurse, William A. Wellman, 1931
  • The Public Enemy, William A. Wellman, 1931*
  • Big City Blues, Mervyn LeRoy, 1932
  • The Crowd Roars, Howard Hawks, 1932
  • Lawyer Man, William Dieterle, 1932
  • Three on a Match, Mervyn LeRoy, 1932
  • Union Depot, Alfred E. Green, 1932
  • Blondie Johnson, Ray Enright, 1933
  • Footlight Parade, Lloyd Bacon, 1933
  • Gold Diggers of 1933, Mervyn LeRoy, 1933
  • Dames, Ray Enright and Busby Berkeley, 1934
  • He Was Her Man, Lloyd Bacon, 1934

*Available October 1

Monday, September 7

Three by Robert Greene

The line between performance and reality is scrambled to provocative effect in the adventurous nonfiction psychodramas of Robert Greene. While the bravura hybrid works Actress and Kate Plays Christine are slippery, multilayered investigations of the craft of acting, Greene’s latest film, Bisbee ’17, uses historical reenactment to connect a shameful chapter of American history to the country’s present. Opening up complex questions about the very meaning of “truth” in documentary, Greene’s fascinating films are alchemical collaborations between director and subject in which artifice is a means to reach authentic human insight.

  • Actress, 2014
  • Kate Plays Christine, 2016
  • Bisbee ’17, 2018

Tuesday, September 8

Short + Feature: Through Her Eyes

Nettles and It Felt Like Love

Featuring a new interview with Nettles director Raven Jackson

Two powerfully intimate films explore the incidents, large and small, that shape women’s lives. With hushed immediacy, Raven Jackson’s award-winning short Nettles poetically evokes a series of “stinging moments” in the lives of young women, many centered around moments of sexual vulnerability. Eliza Hittman mines similar territory in her revelatory debut feature It Felt Like Love, a bracing portrait of a Brooklyn teenager whose rush to grow up leads her down a potentially dangerous path.

Wednesday, September 9

Four Films by Janicza Bravo

A conversation between Bravo and Sam Fragoso, host of the podcast Talk Easy

The director of the audacious festival hit Lemon and the highly anticipated Zola, Janicza Bravo cultivates the unsettling, the absurd, and the hilariously warped. This selection of four of her brilliantly outré shorts—including the award-winning dark comedy Gregory Go Boom, starring Michael Cera—showcases the singular, gonzo sensibility that has made her one of American independent cinema’s most exciting voices. Centered around terminally awkward misfits so cringe-inducing that you can’t look away, Bravo’s surreal, stylistically brash films are by turns bleak and bitingly funny commentaries on loneliness, privilege, and the search for human connection.

  • Gregory Go Boom, 2013
  • Pauline Alone, 2014
  • Woman in Deep, 2016
  • Man Rots from the Head, 2016

Thursday, September 10

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Environmental-art superstar Christo, who passed away in May this year, and his longtime collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, transformed the world’s landscapes into epic canvases for their awe-inspiring site-specific installations. Though their staggering achievements—including an enormous curtain hung between two Colorado mountains and a floating fabric walkway built on an Italian lake—were designed to be ephemeral, they frequently inspired filmmakers, particularly documentary masters Albert and David Maysles, to preserve their creations on celluloid. Films like Running Fence, which depicts the artists’ struggle to build a twenty-four-mile fence out of white nylon fabric, and The Gates, about their decades-in-the-making dream to construct a “golden river” of portals in New York’s Central Park, capture the monumental vision, superhuman determination, and unique relationship that drove an extraordinary artistic partnership.

Features

  • Running Fence, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin, 1977
  • Islands, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin, 1987
  • Christo in Paris, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Deborah Dickson, and Susan Froemke, 1990
  • Umbrellas, Albert Maysles, Henry Corra, and Grahame Weinbren, 1994
  • The Gates, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Antonio Ferrera, and Matthew Prinzing, 2008
  • Walking on Water, Andrey Paounov, 2019

Shorts

  • Christo’s Valley Curtain, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Giffard, 1974

Friday, September 11

Double Feature: Tears of a Clown

Lenny and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling

It’s no laughing matter: these two unflinching films delve into the self-destructive dark sides of a pair of comedy legends. In Lenny, director Bob Fosse and star Dustin Hoffman bring a live-wire energy to their jagged portrait of controversial, envelope-pushing stand-up Lenny Bruce that cuts between his electrifying prime and burned-out later years. Then, Richard Pryor draws on his own personal demons in the autobiographical Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, a lacerating rise-and-fall showbiz saga and the only narrative feature written and directed by the comedy great.

Saturday, September 12

Saturday Matinee: The Phantom Tollbooth

What could possibly be inside that gigantic, wrapped-and-ribboned box? A tollbooth, a toy car, and adventure! Ride with young Milo (Butch Patrick) through the phantom tollbooth that takes him from the streets of San Francisco into a wondrous world that combines the enchantment of Norton Juster’s beloved children’s book with the sheer visual joy of legendary Looney Tunes animator Chuck Jones (codirecting his sole feature film). Bookended by live-action sequences and featuring a stellar voice cast led by the great Mel Blanc, The Phantom Tollbooth brings to life a magical, musical tale of warring kingdoms (one favors words, the other numbers), demons, princesses, and fabulously fantastical creatures—including a tick-tick-ticking “watch” dog!

Sunday, September 13

Directed by Albert Brooks

It’s apt that director, writer, and actor Albert Brooks should have been born Albert Einstein, since his cutting, cerebral, and brutally honest comedies are works of self-deprecating genius. Unafraid of playing unlikable, self-absorbed characters and of putting his own neuroses and obsessions under the microscope, Brooks has directed only a handful of films since the late 1970s, but each is a brilliant, unsparingly funny dissection of the frustrations of the contemporary everyman. Whether satirizing the complexities of dating in Modern Romance, Reagan-era yuppie excess in Lost in America, or the pitfalls of family ties in Mother, Brooks probes the foibles and fallibility of the human condition with a sharp observational eye and sardonic wit that’s as painful as it is hilarious.

  • Real Life, 1979
  • Modern Romance, 1981
  • Lost in America, 1985
  • Defending Your Life, 1991
  • Mother, 1996

Monday, September 14

Art and Craft

Mark Landis has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history. His impressive body of work spans thirty years and a wide range of styles, from fifteenth-century masters to Picasso to Walt Disney. And while the copies could fetch impressive sums on the open market, Landis isn’t in it for the money. Posing as a philanthropic donor, a grieving executor of a family member’s will, and even a Jesuit priest, Landis has given away hundreds of works over the years to a staggering array of institutions. But when a tenacious investigator threatens to expose his ruse, Landis must confront his controversial legacy and a growing chorus of art-world professionals calling for him to stop. What begins as a gripping cat-and-mouse art caper, rooted in questions of authorship and authenticity, gradually develops into an intimate story of obsession and the universal need for community, appreciation, and purpose.

Tuesday, September 15

Short + Feature: The Dakar Connection

A Thousand Suns and Touki Bouki

Life imitates art as a rising auteur pays homage to a landmark work by her uncle in this snapshot of Senegalese cinema past and present. In 1973, Djibril Diop Mambéty made a splash with Touki bouki, a brash, stylistically freewheeling tale of two young lovers attempting to scheme their way from Dakar to France. Forty years later, Mambéty’s niece Mati Diop revisits the film’s towering legacy in A Thousand Suns, in which she reconnects with Magaye Niang and Mareme Niang, the stars of Touki bouki, and finds that their fates have followed paths curiously similar to those of the fictional characters they played.

Wednesday, September 16

Three by Lucrecia Martel

You can feel the heat in the swelteringly sensorial films of Argentine iconoclast Lucrecia Martel, who, working in a cinematic vocabulary all her own, creates tantalizingly elliptical, shrewdly incisive commentaries on class, religion, and social hierarchy that have established her as one of the twenty-first century’s major filmmakers. In her early critical triumphs La Ciénaga and The Headless Woman, Martel introduced a startlingly original, fully formed sensibility, marked by off-kilter compositions, a tactile sense of atmosphere, and a caustic perspective on the hypocrisies of Argentina’s bourgeoisie. With her latest feature, the hallucinatory literary adaptation Zama, Martel translates her singular vision to the eighteenth century, losing none of her eccentric edge and acerbic bite.

  • La Ciénaga, 2001
  • The Headless Woman, 2008
  • Zama, 2017

Wednesday, September 16

 

Observations on Film Art #38: Visual Strategies in La Ciénaga

From the very first shot of her very first feature, La Ciénaga, Argentine auteur Lucrecia Martel laid claim to a distinctive, defiantly strange cinematic syntax unlike any other. In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson examines the surprising choices—uncomfortably tight framing, unusual camera positions, and soft- and out-of-focus lensing—that Martel uses to keep the identities of and relationships between her characters intriguingly opaque and to heighten the film’s stinging critique of bourgeois torpor.

Thursday, September 17

Boyhood: Criterion Collection Edition #839

There has never been another movie like Boyhood, from director Richard Linklater. An event film of the utmost modesty, it was shot over the course of twelve years in the director’s native Texas and charts the physical and emotional changes experienced by a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette, who won an Oscar for her performance, and Ethan Hawke), and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). Alighting not on milestones but on the small, in-between moments that make up lives, Linklater fashions a flawlessly acted, often funny portrait that flows effortlessly from one year to the next. Allowing us to watch people age on film with documentary realism while gripping us in a fictional narrative of exquisite everydayness, Boyhood has a power that only the art of cinema could harness. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A making-of documentary spanning the film’s twelve years of production; a discussion featuring Linklater and actors Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane, moderated by producer John Pierson; a video essay by critic Michael Koresky about time in Linklater’s films; and more.

Friday, September 18

Double Feature: Paradises Lost

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931) and Tabu (2012)

The shadow of a silent-cinema masterpiece looms large over a twenty-first-century marvel in two visually stunning sagas of doomed passion and colonial tragedy. In the early 1930s, German-expressionist giant F. W. Murnau joined forces with documentary pioneer Robert Flaherty for the landmark docufiction hybrid Tabu, a ravishing vision of flowering love amid the encroaching, destructive forces of Western civilization, strikingly filmed on location in Tahiti. Eight decades later, Portuguese auteur Miguel Gomes took the title and bifurcated narrative structure of Murnau’s film as the starting point from which to spin a sumptuous, exhilaratingly eccentric tale of ill-fated romance in 1960s colonial Africa in his own acclaimed Tabu.

Saturday, September 19

Saturday Matinee: Charlotte’s Web

The most popular children’s book of all time made it to the screen with E. B. White’s heartwarming vision fully intact courtesy of animation powerhouse Hanna-Barbera and the vocal talent of Debbie Reynolds. She plays the beloved spider whose bond with a runt pig yields timeless truths about friendship, cycles of life, and growing up. With handsome hand-drawn animation, songs by Disney mainstays the Sherman Brothers, and a vocal cast that also includes Paul Lynde and Agnes Moorehead, that’s some pig, indeed!

Sunday, September 20

The Films of Agnès Varda

Featuring extensive supplemental features from Criterion’s The Complete Films of Agnès Varda box set

A founder of the French New Wave who became an international art-house icon, Agnès Varda was a fiercely independent, restlessly curious visionary whose work was at once personal and passionately committed to the world around her. In an abundant career in which she never stopped expanding the notion of what a movie can be, Varda forged a unique cinematic vocabulary that frequently blurs the boundaries between narrative and documentary, and entwines loving portraits of her friends, her family, and her own inner world with a social consciousness that was closely attuned to the 1960s counterculture, the women’s liberation movement, the plight of the poor and socially marginalized, and the ecology of our planet. This comprehensive collection is a testament to the radical vision, boundless imagination, and radiant spirit of a true original for whom every act of creation was a vital expression of her very being.

Shorts

  • Du coté de la côte, 1958
  • L’opera-mouffe, 1958
  • O saisons, o chateaux, 1958
  • Les fiancés du Pont Macdonald, 1962
  • Salut les cubains!, 1964
  • Elsa la rose, 1966
  • Uncle Yanco, 1968
  • Black Panthers, 1970
  • Réponse de femmes, 1975
  • Plaisir d’amour en Iran, 1977
  • Ulysse, 1982
  • Les dites cariatides, 1984
  • 7 p., cuis., s. de b… . (à saisir), 1985
  • T’as des beaux escaliers, tu sais, 1986
  • Le lion volatil, 2003
  • Ydessa, les ours, et etc… ., 2004
  • Les 3 boutons, 2015

Features

  • La Pointe Courte, 1955
  • Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962
  • Le bonheur, 1965
  • Les créatures, 1966
  • Lions Love (… and Lies), 1969
  • Daguerréotypes, 1975
  • One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, 1977
  • Mur Murs, 1981
  • Documenteur, 1981
  • Vagabond, 1985
  • Jane B. par Agnès V., 1988
  • Kung-Fu Master!, 1988
  • Jacquot de Nantes, 1991
  • The Young Girls Turn 25, 1993
  • One Hundred and One Nights, 1995
  • The World of Jacques Demy, 1995
  • The Gleaners and I, 2000
  • The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later, 2002
  • The Beaches of Agnes, 2008
  • Agnès de ci de là Varda, 2011
  • Varda by Agnès, 2019

Monday, September 21

Streetwise and Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

Featuring a new introduction with director Martin Bell

In 1983, filmmaker Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of those society had left behind: homeless and runaway teenagers living on the margins of Seattle. The resulting film, the Academy Award–nominated documentary landmark Streetwise, follows an unforgettable group of children who, driven from their broken homes, survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Among the project’s most haunting and enduring faces was Tiny, an iron-willed fourteen-year-old who the filmmakers would continue to track for the next thirty years. Tracing her journey from lost youth to mother of ten children of her own, the long awaited follow-up documentary Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell is a heartrending, deeply empathetic portrait of a woman and a family struggling to break free from a cycle of trauma.

Tuesday, September 22

Short + Feature: All by Myself

The Amateurist + Je tu il elle

Two fearless filmmakers turn the camera on themselves to explore loneliness, solitude, identity, sexuality, and the gaze within self-engineered confines of their own making. In The Amateurist, Miranda July sets up an unsettling relationship between viewer and subject via an increasingly disturbing portrait of a woman whose obsessive, solitary video surveillance of another woman (also played by July) pushes her to the brink of madness. Then, Chantal Akerman plays a woman who ventures out of self-imposed isolation in her uncompromising first feature, which features one of the most daring sex scenes in cinema history.

Wednesday, September 23

Thank You and Good Night

Featuring two short films and a new introduction by director Jan Oxenberg

A lost-and-found revelation from indie film and TV maverick Jan Oxenberg is a docu-fantasy narrative focused on the filmmaker’s hilarious, messy, Jewish family as they prepare to say goodbye to someone they love. Narrated by a cardboard cutout of Oxenberg’s scowling child self, Thank You and Good Night takes us on a journey through the proceedings, attempting to defeat death and never say goodbye. An early Sundance hit but virtually unseen for decades, the film reemerges as a singular, uncategorizable exploration of the meaning of life, death, and the tangled stuff that is a family. In this poignant, hilarious, and complex reflection on letting go, Oxenberg innovatively transforms personal tragedy into universally resonant art that is now claiming its rightful place as a classic of independent cinema. This key touchstone in the evolution of the autobiographical documentary has reemerged thanks to a new restoration and is presented alongside two early short works by Oxenberg that offer a wittily satirical perspective on her experiences growing up as a lesbian.

Restoration by IndieCollect.

Shorts

  • Home Movie, 1973
  • A Comedy in Six Unnatural Acts, 1975

Features

  • Thank You and Good Night, 1992

Thursday, September 24

Corpus Christi

Streaming premiere

Anchored by a stunning performance from newcomer Bartosz Bielenia, this moral tinderbox is an emotionally gripping, darkly humorous portrait of a man on a most curious road to redemption. Following his release from a Warsaw prison for a violent crime, twenty-year-old Daniel (Bielenia) is sent to a remote village to work as a manual laborer. The job is designed to keep the ex-con busy, but Daniel has a higher calling. When one quick lie allows him to be mistaken for the town’s new priest, Daniel sets about leading his newfound flock, inspiring the congregation through his passion and charisma even as he edges toward a dark secret that the community hasn’t revealed in the confessional booth.

Thursday, September 24

Directed by Volker Schlöndorff

Though he would find himself at the forefront of the radical New German Cinema movement, Volker Schlöndorff got his training in France. Apprenticed to such trailblazers as Alain Resnais, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Louis Malle, he became fascinated by the possibilities of filmmaking as a political tool early in his career. His 1966 debut, Young Törless, based on Robert Musil’s acclaimed novel, was not only the first of his many ambitious literary adaptations (often of challenging, supposedly “unfilmable” works), it was also something of a New German Cinema call to arms, a political allegory about Germany’s social history set in a boys’ boarding school at the turn of the twentieth century. More stinging commentaries on the state of Germany-then-and-now followed in the seventies: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (codirected with Margarethe von Trotta, Schlöndorff’s wife at the time), Coup de grâce, and his grandest success, the Oscar- and Palme d’or–winning The Tin Drum, a brilliant adaptation of Günter Grass’s metaphorical novel about the horrors of World War II. Continuing to delve into the traumas of the mid-twentieth century in late-career triumphs like The Ogre and Diplomacy, Schlöndorff looks unflinchingly to the past in order to illuminate the present.

  • Young Törless, Volker Schlöndorff, 1966
  • Baal, Volker Schlöndorff, 1970
  • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta, 1975
  • Coup de grâce, Volker Schlöndorff, 1976
  • The Tin Drum, Volker Schlöndorff, 1979
  • Circle of Deceit, Volker Schlöndorff, 1981
  • Swann in Love, Volker Schlöndorff, 1984
  • Death of a Salesman, Volker Schlöndorff, 1985
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Volker Schlöndorff, 1990
  • Voyager, Volker Schlöndorff, 1991
  • The Ogre, Volker Schlöndorff, 1996
  • The Legend of Rita, Volker Schlöndorff, 2000
  • Diplomacy, Volker Schlöndorff, 2014

Friday, September 25

Double Feature: Mall Wonders

Golden Eighties and Nocturama

Featuring a new interview with Nocturama director Bertrand Bonello, whose film Zombi Child is also now playing on the Channel

Don’t look for retail therapy in this pair of super-stylized, shopping-mall-set genre-exploders that balance sleek pop pleasures with a subversive anticapitalist critique. First, Chantal Akerman filters the singing, dancing charms of the MGM dream factory through her singular feminist, formalist sensibility in her fascinatingly offbeat, disarmingly affecting New Wave musical Golden Eighties. Then, Bertrand Bonello choreographs a mesmerizing tale of teenage terrorism in his audacious thriller Nocturama, which features some of the most cunning deployments of pop music in recent cinematic memory.

Saturday, September 26

Saturday Matinee: Pygmalion

Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a “proper lady” in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. Directed by both Anthony Asquith and star Howard and edited by future British cinema giant David Lean, Pygmalion was coscripted by Shaw himself, who won an Academy Award for his work and whose screenplay would later be adapted into the classic Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady.

Sunday, September 27

By the Book

You’ve read—or at least meant to read—the book. Now see the movie. Just in time for the start of school, we’ve collected some of the all-time great page-to-screen adaptations, encompassing English 101 classics like Great Expectations and Lord of the Flies, world-literature masterpieces like War and Peace and Pather Panchali, modern best sellers like The Virgin Suicides and The Hours, and more. While faithful transpositions abound, there are plenty of surprising spins on canonical titles, such as Akira Kurosawa’s Japan-set retelling of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, John Huston’s hallucinatory take on Malcolm Lowry’s “unfilmable” Under the Volcano, and Chantal Akerman’s fascinating postcolonialist reimagining of Joseph Conrad’s Almayer’s Folly. Each is a distinguished work of art in its own right, as worthy of appreciation as its celebrated source.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo, Rowland V. Lee, 1934
  • The 39 Steps, Alfred Hitchcock, 1935
  • La bête humaine, Jean Renoir, 1938
  • Of Mice and Men, Lewis Milestone, 1939
  • Great Expectations, David Lean, 1946
  • The Killers, Robert Siodmak, 1946
  • Anna Karenina, Julien Duvivier, 1948
  • Oliver Twist, David Lean, 1948
  • The Heiress, William Wyler, 1949
  • The Passionate Friends, David Lean, 1949
  • The Idiot, Akira Kurosawa, 1951
  • The Life of Oharu, Kenji Mizoguchi, 1952
  • Robinson Crusoe, Luis Buñuel, 1954
  • Senso, Luchino Visconti, 1954
  • Pather Panchali, Satyajit Ray, 1955
  • Aparajito, Satyajit Ray, 1956
  • The Burmese Harp, Kon Ichikawa, 1956
  • Apur Sansar, Satyajit Ray, 1959
  • The Cloud-Capped Star, Ritwik Ghatak, 1960
  • Purple Noon, René Clément, 1960
  • Zazie dans le métro, Louis Malle, 1960
  • Divorce Italian Style, Pietro Germi, 1961
  • Lord of the Flies, Peter Brook, 1963
  • Tom Jones, Tony Richardson, 1963
  • Charulata, Satyajit Ray, 1964
  • Woman in the Dunes, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964
  • Closely Watched Trains, Jirí Menzel, 1966
  • War and Peace, Sergei Bondarchuk, 1966
  • Memories of Underdevelopment, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968
  • The Angel Levine, Ján Kadár, 1970
  • Dodes’ka-den, Akira Kurosawa, 1970
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow, and Dave Monahan, 1970
  • The Little Prince, Stanley Donen, 1974
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir, 1975
  • The American Friend, Wim Wenders, 1977
  • The Ascent, Larisa Shepitko, 1977
  • The Getting Of Wisdom, Bruce Beresford, 1977
  • Empire of Passion, Nagisa Oshima, 1978
  • Watership Down, Martin Rosen, 1978
  • My Brilliant Career, Gillian Armstrong, 1979
  • Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979
  • The Tin Drum, Volker Schlöndorff, 1979
  • Wise Blood, John Huston, 1979
  • You Are Not I, Sara Driver, 1981
  • Under the Volcano, John Huston, 1984
  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Paul Schrader, 1985
  • My Life as a Dog, Lasse Hallström, 1985
  • Betty Blue, Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1986
  • An Angel at My Table, Jane Campion, 1990
  • The Comfort of Strangers, Paul Schrader, 1990
  • Europa Europa, Agnieszka Holland, 1990
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Volker Schlöndorff, 1990
  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Peter Kosminsky, 1992
  • The Castle, Michael Haneke, 1997
  • The Sweet Hereafter, Atom Egoyan, 1997
  • The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola, 1999
  • The Piano Teacher, Michael Haneke, 2001
  • The Hours, Stephen Daldry, 2002
  • Gomorrah, Matteo Garrone, 2008
  • Almayer’s Folly, Chantal Akerman, 2011
  • 45 Years, Andrew Haigh, 2015
  • Certain Women, Kelly Reichardt, 2016
  • Zama, Lucrecia Martel, 2017

Monday, September 28

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

The contemporary American police state shapes almost every aspect of society—whether we’re aware of it or not. Without ever venturing inside a penitentiary, director Brett Story excavates the insidious, often-unseen influence that prisons—and the American system of mass incarceration—has on communities and industries all around us. From a blazing California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires to a Bronx warehouse that specializes in prison-approved care packages to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of new prison jobs to the street where Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, this remarkably clear-eyed documentary sheds new light on how a system built on exploitation and racial injustice became woven into the fabric of everyday American life.

Tuesday, September 29

Short + Feature: All This Jazz

When It Rains and Ornette: Made in America

Two jazz-inflected riffs by legendary American independent filmmakers make sweet music together in this double feature in double time. Charles Burnett’s charming short When It Rains follows a trumpeter on a New Year’s Eve odyssey through Los Angeles as he attempts to save a mother from eviction, his quest punctuated by musical interludes that have the rhythmic, improvisational quality of jazz itself. Shirley Clarke brings a similar freewheeling energy to her appropriately idiosyncratic Ornette: Made in America, which blends documentary footage, dramatic scenes, and some of the first music-video-style segments ever created into a kaleidoscopic portrait of free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.

Wednesday, September 30

The Loveless

The first feature by both acclaimed director Kathryn Bigelow and future David Lynch producer Monty Montgomery, as well as the screen debut of star Willem Dafoe, this edgy, should-be cult classic puts a furiously subversive spin on the rebel biker films of the 1950s. Dafoe is the pomade-slicked, leather-clad Vance, whose outlaw motorcycle gang roars into a small Southern town en route to the Daytona races, igniting simmering tensions with the locals and setting the stage for a violent standoff. The air of all-American menace is heightened by the jukebox soundtrack courtesy of costar and neo-rockabilly legend Robert Gordon.

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • Les 3 boutons, Agnès Varda, 2015
  • 7 p., cuis., s. de b… . (à saisir), Agnès Varda, 1984
  • Actress, Robert Greene, 2014
  • Agnès de ci de là Varda, Agnes Varda, 2011
  • Art and Craft, Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman, and Mark Becker, 2014**
  • The Beaches of Agnès, Agnès Varda, 2008
  • Big City Blues, Mervyn LeRoy, 1932
  • Bisbee ’17, Robert Greene, 2018
  • Blonde Crazy, Roy Del Ruth, 1931
  • Blondie Johnson, Ray Enright, 1933
  • Boyhood, Richard Linklater, 2014
  • Charlotte’s Web, Iwao Takamoto and Charles A. Nichols, 1973**
  • Circle of Deceit, Volker Schlöndorff, 1981
  • A Comedy in Six Unnatural Acts, Jan Oxenberg, 1975*
  • Corpus Christi, Jan Komasa, 2019*
  • Les créatures, Agnès Varda, 1966
  • The Crowd Roars, Howard Hawks, 1932
  • Daguerréotypes, Agnès Varda, 1975
  • Dames, Ray Enright, 1934
  • Death of a Salesman, Volker Schlöndorff, 1985
  • Defending Your Life, Albert Brooks, 1991
  • Diplomacy, Volker Schlöndorff, 2014
  • Les dites cariatides, Agnès Varda, 1984
  • Duck Soup, Leo McCarey, 1933
  • Elsa la rose, Agnès Varda, 1966
  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Peter Kosminsky, 1992
  • A Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone, 1964
  • Footlight Parade, Lloyd Bacon, 1933
  • The Gates, Antonio Ferrera, David Maysles, Matthew Prinzing, and Albert Maysles, 2007
  • The Gleaners and I, Agnès Varda, 2000
  • The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later, Agnès Varda, 2002
  • Gold Diggers of 1933, Mervyn LeRoy, 1933
  • Gregory Go Boom, Janicza Bravo, 2013
  • A Guide to Breathing Underwater, Raven Jackson, 2018
  • He Was Her Man, Lloyd Bacon, 1934
  • The Headless Woman, Lucrecia Martel, 2008
  • The Heiress, William Wyler, 1949
  • Home Movie, Jan Oxenberg, 1972*
  • The Hours, Stephen Daldry, 2002
  • Jacquot de Nantes, Agnès Varda, 1991
  • Jane B. par Agnès V., Agnès Varda, 1988
  • Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, Richard Pryor, 1986
  • Kate Plays Christine, Robert Greene, 2016
  • Kung-Fu Master!, Agnès Varda, 1988
  • Lawyer Man, William Dieterle, 1932
  • Le lion volatil, Agnès Varda, 2003
  • The Legend of Rita, Volker Schlöndorff, 2000
  • Lenny, Bob Fosse, 1974
  • Lost in America, Albert Brooks, 1985
  • The Loveless, Kathryn Bigelow and Monty Montgomery, 1981
  • Man Rots from the Head, Janicza Bravo, 2016
  • Merrily We Go to Hell, Dorothy Arzner, 1932
  • Millie, John Francis Dillon, 1931
  • Modern Romance, Albert Brooks, 1981
  • Mother, Albert Brooks, 1996
  • Nettles, Raven Jackson, 2018
  • Night Nurse, William A. Wellman, 1931
  • Nocturama, Bertrand Bonello, 2016
  • The Ogre, Volker Schlöndorff, 1996
  • Ô saisons, ô châteaux, Agnès Varda, 1958
  • One Hundred and One Nights, Agnès Varda, 1995
  • Pauline Alone, Janicza Bravo, 2014
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow, and Dave Monahan, 1970
  • Plaisir d’amour en Iran, Agnès Varda, 1976
  • The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, Brett Story, 2016
  • Real Life, Albert Brooks, 1979
  • Réponse de femmes, Agnès Varda, 1975
  • Salut les Cubains, Agnès Varda, 1963
  • Sátántangó, Béla Tarr, 1994
  • Streetwise, Martin Bell, 1984
  • T’as de beaux escaliers, tu sais, Agnès Varda, 1986
  • Tabu, Miguel Gomes, 2012
  • Tabu: A Story of the South Seas, F. W. Murnau, 1931
  • Thank You and Good Night, Jan Oxenberg, 1991*
  • Three on a Match, Mervyn LeRoy, 1932
  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, Martin Bell, 2016
  • Town Bloody Hall, Chris Hegedus, D. A. Pennebaker, 1979
  • Ulysse, Agnès Varda, 1982
  • Union Depot, Alfred E. Green, 1932
  • Varda by Agnès, Agnès Varda, 2019
  • The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola, 1999
  • Voyager, Volker Schlöndorff, 1991
  • Walking on Water, Andrey Paounov, 2018
  • Western, Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross, 2015
  • Woman in Deep, Janicza Bravo, 2016
  • Working Girls, Dorothy Arzner, 1931
  • Ydessa, les ours et etc… ., Agnès Varda, 2004
  • Zama, Lucrecia Martel, 2017

*Available September 23
**Available in the U.S. only, September 24

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August 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/august-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Fri, 24 Jul 2020 19:40:52 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=64012

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For August, the Channel will feature films from Bill Gunn, Mia Hansen-Løve, Terry Gilliam, Wim Wenders, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

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Saturday, August 1

Saturday Matinee: The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s internationally beloved philosophical fable receives a touchingly sincere, imaginative musical adaptation courtesy of three giants of the form: director Stanley Donen and legendary songwriting team Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Filmed on location in Tunisia, The Little Prince brings to life Saint-Exupéry’s deceptively simple tale of an encounter between a pilot (Richard Kiley) who has made an emergency landing in the Sahara Desert and a young, blonde-haired prince (Steven Warner), an intergalactic traveler from the Asteroid B–612 whose observations on life on Earth offer poignant insight into the human condition. The illustrious supporting cast includes Bob Fosse as the Snake, Gene Wilder as the Fox, and Donna McKechnie as the Rose.

Saturday, August 1

Sullivan’s Travels: Criterion Collection Edition #118

Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?—a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan hits the road disguised as a hobo. En route to enlightenment, he encounters a lovely but no-nonsense young woman (Veronica Lake)—and more trouble than he ever dreamed of. This comic masterpiece by Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry’s most revered funnymen. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A PBS-produced documentary on Sturges; a video essay by critic David Cairns, featuring filmmaker Bill Forsyth; an archival interview with Sturges by gossip columnist Hedda Hopper; and more.

Sunday, August 2

Australian New Wave

Featuring Voices from the Australian New Wave, a short documentary including interviews with Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, David Gulpilil, Peter Weir, and others

It came from a land down under … From the early seventies through the mideighties, a resurgence of government funding for national film production gave birth to a generation of brave, unconventional new voices who made Australia the home to a brief but bright-burning cinematic renaissance. Among the filmmakers who emerged from this artistic flowering were pivotal figures like Peter Weir, George Miller, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, Fred Schepisi, and Phillip Noyce, many of whom went on to successful international careers. Encompassing subversive visions of Australian history (Picnic at Hanging Rock, My Brilliant Career), dystopian science-fiction cult classics (Mad Max, The Cars That Ate Paris), groundbreaking coming-of-age dramas (The Devil’s Playground, Puberty Blues), and beyond, these formally bold, thematically provocative films delved into the intricacies of Australian society and identity with newfound fearlessness. Among their most urgent concerns was for the country’s relationship to and mistreatment of its Indigenous people, as seen in works like The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Walkabout, Storm Boy, and The Last Wave, the last three of which all star legendary Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, who stands as one of the movement’s most enduring faces.

  • Walkabout, Nicolas Roeg, 1971
  • The Cars That Ate Paris, Peter Weir, 1974
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir, 1975
  • Sunday Too Far Away, Ken Hannam, 1975
  • The Devil’s Playground, Fred Schepisi, 1976
  • Don’s Party, Bruce Beresford, 1976
  • Storm Boy, Henri Safran, 1976
  • The Getting of Wisdom, Bruce Beresford, 1977
  • The Last Wave, Peter Weir, 1977
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Fred Schepisi, 1978
  • Long Weekend, Colin Eggleston, 1978
  • Money Movers, Bruce Beresford, 1978
  • Newsfront, Phillip Noyce, 1978
  • Mad Max, George Miller, 1979
  • My Brilliant Career, Gillian Armstrong, 1979
  • The Plumber, Peter Weir, 1979
  • Breaker Morant, Bruce Beresford, 1980
  • Gallipoli, Peter Weir, 1981
  • Puberty Blues, Bruce Beresford, 1981
  • Starstruck, Gillian Armstrong, 1982
  • The Year of Living Dangerously, Peter Weir, 1982

Monday, August 3

Four Documentaries by Ron Mann

Featuring a new introduction by Mann

Essential records of North America’s pop-culture underground, the documentaries of Ron Mann are deep dives into some of the most vital and often overlooked artistic movements of the twentieth century. Finding offbeat inspiration in the creativity that flourishes outside the mainstream, he has chronicled everything from free jazz (Imagine the Sound) to modern poetry (Poetry in Motion) to comic books (Comic Book Confidential), along the way capturing invaluable interviews with cult luminaries like musicians Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp, writers William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, and cartoonists Jack Kirby and Robert Crumb. Made in the same outsider spirit as the subjects he chronicles, Mann’s films are engagingly idiosyncratic odes to iconoclasts and visionaries bold enough to follow their own muses.

  • Imagine the Sound, 1981
  • Poetry in Motion, 1982
  • Comic Book Confidential, 1988
  • Twist, 1992

Tuesday, August 4

Short + Feature: High-Flying Heroes

Mynarski Death Plummet and Only Angels Have Wings

Composed in a constructivist riot of eyeball-scrambling images, Matthew Rankin’s acclaimed experimental short Mynarski Death Plummet jumbles live action and animation to expressionistically evoke the courageous final moments of Andrew Mynarski, a Canadian World War II airman who plunged to his death after saving the life of a fellow pilot. It’s a white-knuckle warm-up to the daredevil action on display in Howard Hawks’s rollicking adventure classic Only Angel Have Wings, starring Cary Grant as a dashing pilot who risks life and limb to keep the mail deliveries flying in a remote South American outpost.

Wednesday, August 5

Rafiki

Bursting with the colorful street style and music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, Rafiki is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety. Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, Rafiki made history by winning a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Thursday, August 6

World Cinema Project: Lucía

Featuring Humberto & Lucía, a new documentary about the making of the film

A breathtaking vision of Cuban revolutionary history wrought with white-hot intensity by Humberto Solás, this operatic epic tells the story of a changing country through the eyes of three women, each named Lucía. In 1895, she is a tragic noblewoman who inadvertently betrays her country for love during the war of independence. In 1932, she is the daughter of a bourgeois family drawn into the workers’ uprising against the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado. And in the postrevolutionary 1960s, she is a newlywed farm girl fighting against patriarchal oppression. A formally dazzling landmark of postcolonial cinema, Lucía is both a senses-stunning visual experience and a fiercely feminist portrait of a society journeying toward liberation.

Friday, August 7

Double Feature: The Decline of Midwestern Civilization

The Magnificent Ambersons and Kings Row

The year 1942 saw the release of two films, both based on acclaimed novels and set in turn-of-the-century Midwest railroad towns, that follow the trials, tribulations, and downward spirals of their characters, as brought to life by stellar ensemble casts. While Orson Welles’s majestically poignant adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons has, despite the tragedy of its missing footage, taken its place as one of the auteur’s greatest achievements, Warner Bros.’ lurid take on Henry Bellamann’s taboo-busting best seller Kings Row occupies a different place in film history: as one of the most wildly hysterical melodramas ever made, a shockingly perverse portrait of the seamy side of small-town life that features star Ronald Reagan’s immortal utterance, “Where’s the REST of me?!”

Saturday, August 8

Saturday Matinee: Storm Boy

This deeply affecting classic of the Australian New Wave is one of the most moving films ever made about the relationship between children and animals. Cut off from the world by his reclusive father (Peter Cummins), Mike (Greg Rowe), a lonely young boy, experiences an emotional awakening through his growing bonds with an orphaned pelican and Fingerbone Bill (David Gulpilil), an Aboriginal man estranged from his tribe. Lyrically shot amid the scenic splendor of South Australia’s coast, Storm Boy weaves a simple but profound fable about friendship and loss that’s beautifully attuned to the wonders of the natural world.

Sunday, August 9

Starring Alain Delon

The beautiful boy of French cinema whose steely, ice-blue gaze betrayed more than a hint of danger, Alain Delon was a favorite of modernists like Luchino Visconti, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Michelangelo Antonioni, all of whom were seduced by his impossible good looks and air of cool detachment. This selection of many of Delon’s finest moments spotlights his star-making performance as the gorgeous, duplicitous Tom Ripley in René Clément’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation Purple Noon; his career-defining turn as a zen contract killer in Melville’s Le samouraï; his sizzling chemistry with a leather-clad Marianne Faithfull in Jack Cardiff’s X-rated counterculture head-trip The Girl on a Motorcycle; his subtle portrayal of an amoral art dealer mixed up in a case of mistaken identity in Joseph Losey’s unsung classic Mr. Klein; and more.

  • Purple Noon, René Clément, 1960
  • Rocco and His Brothers, Luchino Visconti, 1960
  • L’eclisse, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962
  • Any Number Can Win, Henri Verneuil, 1963
  • Once a Thief, Ralph Nelson, 1965
  • Le samouraï, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967
  • The Girl on a Motorcycle, Jack Cardiff, 1968
  • Spirits of the Dead, Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim, 1968
  • Le cercle rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970
  • The Widow Couderc, Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1971
  • Un flic, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972
  • Mr. Klein, Joseph Losey, 1976

Monday, August 10

Festival: Criterion Collection Edition #892

Before Woodstock and Monterey Pop, there was Festival. From 1963 through 1966, Murray Lerner visited the annual Newport Folk Festival to document a thriving, idealistic musical movement as it reached its peak as a popular phenomenon. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, the Staple Singers, Pete Seeger, Son House, and Peter, Paul and Mary were just a few of the legends who shared the stage at Newport, treating audiences to a range of folk music that encompassed the genre’s roots in blues, country, and gospel as well as its newer flirtations with rock and roll. Shooting in gorgeous black and white, Lerner juxtaposes performances with snapshot interviews with artists and their fans, weaving footage from four years of the festival into an intimate record of a pivotal time in music—and in American culture at large. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A selection of unreleased performances by Johnny Cash, Odetta, John Lee Hooker, and others; Making “Festival,” a program featuring Lerner, associate editor Alan Heim, and assistant editor Gordon Quinn; When We Played Newport, featuring archival interviews with musicians Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, and others; and more.

Tuesday, August 11

Short + Feature: Hands of Fate

Cutaway and L’argent

Radical minimalism is wielded with extraordinary power in the hands of two cinematic ascetics. Told entirely without spoken dialogue and exclusively though close-ups of its main character’s hands, Kazik Radwanski’s Cutaway uses the simplest of means to crate a piercing portrait of a construction worker grappling with a devastating personal crisis. Radwanski was inspired in large part by the work of Robert Bresson, whose famously austere style achieves its purest form in his shattering final film, L’argent, in which a focus on hands is used to convey the story of a circulating counterfeit bill that infects the lives of all who come in contact with it.

Tuesday, August 11

Brazil: Criterion Collection Edition #51

In the dystopian masterpiece Brazil, Jonathan Pryce plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy. This cautionary tale by Terry Gilliam, one of the great films of the 1980s, has come to be esteemed alongside antitotalitarian works by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And in terms of set design, cinematography, music, and effects, Brazil is a nonstop dazzler. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: What Is “Brazil”?, Rob Hedden’s on-set documentary; The Production Notebook, a collection of interviews and video essays, featuring a trove of Brazil-iana from Gilliam’s personal collection; The Battle of “Brazil,” a documentary about the film’s contentious release; and more.

Wednesday, August 12

Three by Mia Hansen-Løve

Featuring a new introduction by Hansen-Løve

Contemporary French cinema’s heir to the delicately naturalistic, profoundly humanist sensibility of Éric Rohmer, Mia Hansen-Løve mines the raw materials of her own life and family story to create gracefully empathetic explorations of people in states of emotional flux. From a filmmaker facing mounting pressures both at home and at work in Father of My Children to a teenage girl experiencing heartbreak in Goodbye First Love to a middle-aged woman attempting to restart her life after her husband leaves her in the Isabelle Huppert–starring Things to Come, Hansen-Løve’s films find rich philosophical insight in the moments that test us the most.

  • Father of My Children, 2009
  • Goodbye First Love, 2011
  • Things to Come, 2016

Thursday, August 13

Three by Bill Gunn

Featuring a 1984 interview with Gunn

One of the most electrifying but unjustly neglected talents to emerge from the creative ferment of 1970s American cinema, actor, writer, and director Bill Gunn blazed a new trail for Black independent filmmakers with his avant-visionary, Afrocentric vampire myth Ganja & Hess and Personal Problems, an epic, intensely intimate “meta-soap opera” (as writer Ishmael Reed called it) that went virtually unseen for decades before reemerging to widespread acclaim. Those twin masterpieces are presented alongside Ján Kadár’s The Angel Levine, an overlooked Bernard Malamud adaptation cowritten by Gunn and starring Zero Mostel and Harry Belafonte. With their bold, iconoclastic style and focus on the lives of intellectual and middle-class Black characters, Gunn’s uncompromising films were decades ahead of their time—only now is the world beginning to catch up.

  • The Angel Levine, Ján Kadár, 1970
  • Ganja & Hess, Bill Gunn, 1973
  • Personal Problems, Bill Gunn, 1980

Friday, August 14

Double Feature: Behind the Screens

Hollywood Shuffle and The Player

Two maverick filmmakers with uneasy relationships to Hollywood offer hilarious and scathing satires of the film industry. Made guerrilla style on maxed-out credit cards, Robert Townsend’s brilliantly inventive Hollywood Shuffle draws on his own experiences struggling to make it as a Black actor in Hollywood to lampoon the typecasting of people of color. Another Robert—Altman, no less—takes aim at the industry’s corporate soullessness in his biting insider comedy The Player, featuring one of the most virtuosic opening shots in film history as well as an astonishing sixty-five (count ’em!) celebrity cameos.

Saturday, August 15

Saturday Matinee: The Secret Garden

Two of golden-age Hollywood’s greatest and most beloved child stars bring the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett to enchanting life. In her final role at MGM, Margaret O’Brien plays Mary, a young orphan sent to live at the dark and foreboding English estate of her embittered uncle (Herbert Marshall) and his temperamental, bedridden son (fellow juvenile virtuoso Dean Stockwell). There, Mary discovers the existence of a walled-off, overgrown garden, a secret little world that, as the children nurture it, brings a glimmer of hope to a broken family. The film’s sense of wonder is enhanced by the expressive cinematography, which blossoms from atmospheric monochrome to radiant color in an unforgettable moment of movie magic.

Sunday, August 16

Directed by Wim Wenders

Turning seventy-five this August, Wim Wenders is cinema’s preeminent poet of the open road, soulfully tracing the journeys of wanderers and drifters searching for themselves. Over the course of his incredible five-decade career, Wenders has traversed the landscapes of his native Germany (Alice in the Cities, Kings of the Road), the highways of the American Southwest (Paris, Texas), and the dream worlds of angels (Wings of Desire), working with master cinematographers like Robby Müller and Henri Alekan to create some of the most indelible images in all of modern cinema. Moving restlessly between exquisite narrative works and innovative documentaries like Tokyo-ga and Pina, Wenders remains a vital and prolific creative force, following his inspiration across the world wherever it may lead.

Features

  • Alice in the Cities, 1974
  • Wrong Move, 1975
  • Kings of the Road, 1976
  • The American Friend, 1977
  • Paris, Texas, 1984
  • Tokyo-ga, 1985
  • Wings of Desire, 1987
  • Until the End of the World, 1991
  • Palermo Shooting, 2008
  • Pina, 2011

Shorts

  • Same Player Shoots Again, 1968

Monday, August 17

Documentaries by Les Blank

From garlic to gap-toothed women, no subject was too esoteric to capture the imagination of Les Blank, an uncompromisingly independent spirit who, for nearly fifty years, disappeared with his camera into subcultures rarely seen on-screen. Seemingly off-the-cuff yet poetically constructed, Blank’s films are humane, sometimes wry, always engaging tributes to music, food, and all sorts of regionally specific delights. Whether documenting the art of a legendary Texas bluesman (The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins), the richness of Cajun culture (Spend It All), or the quixotic exploits of his friend Werner Herzog (Burden of Dreams), Blank had a boundless zest for life and people that shines through every frame of his affectionate, joy-filled work.

Features

  • A Poem is a Naked Person, 1974
  • Burden of Dreams, 1982

Shorts

  • The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, 1968
  • God Respects Us When We Work, but Loves Us When We Dance, 1968
  • Spend It All, 1971
  • A Well Spent Life, 1971
  • Dry Wood, 1973
  • Hot Pepper, 1973
  • Always for Pleasure, 1978
  • Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, 1980
  • Sprout Wings and Fly, 1983
  • In Heaven There Is No Beer?, 1984
  • Gap-Toothed Women, 1987
  • Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking, 1990
  • The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists, 1994
  • Sworn to the Drum: A Tribute to Francisco Aguabella, 1995

Tuesday, August 18

Short + Feature: Landscapes of Loss

Voices of Kidnapping and Nostalgia for the Light

The enduring love of families for victims of political violence reaches across time and space in two haunting topographic meditations on grief and hope. Ryan McKenna’s ghostly short Voices of Kidnapping sets otherworldly images of Colombia’s lush jungle landscapes to broadcasts of Voces del secuestro, a radio program that allows family members of those kidnapped by guerrillas to transmit messages to their missing loved ones. Then, master documentarian Patricio Guzmán journeys from the furthest reaches of outer space to Chile’s parched Atacama Desert—where family members of those “disappeared” by the Pinochet regime scour the sands for their remains—in Nostalgia for the Light, another stunning, impressionistic exploration of the relationship between landscape and political trauma.

Wednesday, August 19

Starstruck

For the follow-up to her acclaimed first feature, My Brilliant Career, Australian New Wave leader Gillian Armstrong turned to a very different type of project: a gloriously over-the-top, shiny pop musical complete with outré costumes, high-energy dance numbers, and eye-popping production design courtesy of Brian Thomson (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Desperate to break into the music business, teenage Jackie (Jo Kennedy) gets her shot at superstardom when her enterprising cousin (Ross O’Donovan) engineers a string of audacious publicity stunts that take the pair from their family’s pub to the stage of the Sydney Opera House. Featuring infectiously catchy tunes by Kiwi legends Split Enz, Starstruck updates the classic “let’s put on a show” formula with a blast of irresistible, neon-bright exuberance.

Thursday, August 20

Bacurau

Exclusive streaming premiere, featuring an interview with directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles

A few years from now … As Bacurau, a small town in the Brazilian sertão, mourns the loss of its ninety-four-year-old matriarch, its inhabitants (among them national cinema icon Sônia Braga) begin to notice a series of strange happenings: their village has literally vanished from online maps, cell phones have stopped working, and a UFO-like drone hovers menacingly overhead. An ominous force is converging on Bacurau, an unknown threat that will force the community to band together and fight for its survival. Luckily, the resourceful residents are more than up for the challenge. A blistering sci-fi thriller streaked with antiracist and anticolonialist rage, the new film from Aquarius director Kleber Mendonça Filho, codirected with Juliano Dornelles, is an audacious, furiously entertaining model of genre art as a vehicle for political resistance.

Thursday, August 20

Three by Robert Siodmak

Along with fellow European émigrés like Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, German-born Robert Siodmak was instrumental in importing the expressionist visual style and hard-bitten existentialist sensibility that would define Hollywood film noir, arguably creating more classics of the genre than any other director. His moody, shadow-etched compositions and flair for the fatalistic are on full display in three of his finest: Phantom Lady, his dreamlike first noir and a fascinating protofeminist example of the genre; The Killers, a landmark known as the “Citizen Kane of noir” for its intricate flashback structure, starring Burt Lancaster in his film debut; and Criss Cross, which reunited the director with Lancaster for one of the twistiest and bleakest crime thrillers ever made.

  • Phantom Lady, 1944
  • The Killers, 1946
  • Criss Cross, 1949

Friday, August 21

Double Feature: Art of Darkness

The American Friend and Mr. Klein

Master directors Wim Wenders and Joseph Losey paint sinister portraits of moral corruption in a pair of spellbinding, coolly stylized tales of unscrupulous art dealers embroiled in dangerous underworlds. Wenders’ gripping Patricia Highsmith adaptation The American Friend casts Dennis Hopper as the author’s recurring antihero Tom Ripley, here a menacing peddler of forged paintings who draws an ailing Bruno Ganz into his murderous web. Then, Alain Delon gives one of his greatest performances in Joseph Losey’s long-neglected masterpiece Mr. Klein, a tensely atmospheric plunge into the world of a collaborationist art dealer in Nazi-occupied Paris who becomes mixed up in a disturbing case of mistaken identity.

Saturday, August 22

Saturday Matinee: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

One of the most outrageous acts of cinematic surrealism ever to emanate from Hollywood’s dream factory, the only film written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) is a riotous Technicolor fantasy in which a young boy (Tommy Rettig) dreams himself into an imaginary world ruled by a diabolical piano teacher (Hans Conried) who forces five hundred children to practice an enormous keyboard for eternity. With its outlandish sets, eccentric musical numbers (with lyrics also penned by Dr. Seuss), and vaguely unsettling tone, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. was met with incomprehension upon its release but has since taken its place as a beloved cult favorite, a one-of-a-kind children’s film that doubles as a triumph of genuine avant-garde imagination.

Sunday, August 23

Bad Vacations

Wishing you could get away this summer? This collection of some of cinema’s most memorably disastrous trips will have you reconsidering the comforts of home. Dreaming of the crystal blue waters of the French Riviera? The existential ennui of Otto Preminger’s Bonjour tristesse and Eric Rohmer’s La collectionneuse should set you straight. Pining for romance under the Italian sun? Just see how it works out for the tourists in Paul Schrader’s The Comfort of Strangers and Joanna Hogg’s Unrelated. And then there’s the terror of a camping excursion gone wrong in the Ozploitation shocker Long Weekend, the dread-inducing psychological torpor of a dysfunctional family getaway in Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga, and the black-comic craziness of a killer road trip in Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers. Finally, whatever you do, take a lesson from House and do not, under any circumstances, visit your witchy aunt’s possessed, people-munching domicile …

  • Bonjour tristesse, Otto Preminger, 1958
  • La collectionneuse, Éric Rohmer, 1967
  • The Deep, Peter Yates, 1977
  • House, Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977
  • Long Weekend, Colin Eggleston, 1978
  • The Green Ray, Eric Rohmer, 1986
  • The Comfort of Strangers, Paul Schrader, 1990
  • The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990
  • Funny Games, Michael Haneke, 1997
  • Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat, 2001
  • La Ciénaga, Lucrecia Martel, 2001
  • Unrelated, Joanna Hogg, 2007
  • Sightseers, Ben Wheatley, 2012

Monday, August 24

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection

Narrated by Mathieu Amalric, this innovative documentary revisits a wealth of 16 mm footage of tennis superstar John McEnroe taken at the height of his career, when he competed to defend his status as the world’s top-ranked player at the 1984 French Open. Close-ups and slow-motion sequences of McEnroe playing, as well as flare-ups of his notorious on-court tantrums, reveal a “man who played on the edge of his senses.” Far from a traditional sports documentary, John Mcenroe: In the Realm of Perfection expressively reshapes its material to explore both McEnroe’s game and the footage itself, creating a mesmerizing,immersive study of a driven athlete, the human body in motion, and cinema itself.

Tuesday, August 25

Short + Feature: Poetry in Motion

The Lonedale Operator and And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead

The words and worlds of two visionary poets flicker to life in these richly cinematic odes to American genius. Named for both a D. W. Griffith short and a poem it inspired by the great John Ashbery, Michael Almereyda’s The Lonedale Operator interweaves the writer’s reflections on cinema with fragments of the films that touched him to create a prismatic portrait of the artist that mirrors the free-flowing, postmodern style of his own work. Poetry and archival footage are also combined to alchemical effect in Billy Woodberry’s And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead, an enlightening look at the life of brilliant Black Beat writer and activist Bob Kaufman, featuring interviews with and readings from luminaries like Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

Wednesday, August 26

Sun Don’t Shine

Featuring a new introduction by Seimetz and her short film When We Lived in Miami

Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, this tantalizingly enigmatic, sun-kissed noir follows Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley) on a tense and mysterious road trip through the desolate yet hauntingly beautiful landscape of central Florida. From the outset, the purpose of their journey is unclear, but as the couple travels up the Gulf Coast past an endless panorama of mangrove fields, trailer parks, and cookie-cutter housing developments, the disturbing details begin to emerge, revealing Crystal’s sinister past and the pair’s troubling future. Filmed on location in the environs of Seimetz’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Sun Don’t Shine is a simmering work of pulp poetry driven by its powerful performances and eerily evocative setting.

Thursday, August 27

Three by Stephen Cone

Featuring a new interview with Cone

A self-taught filmmaker who has quietly garnered a reputation as one of American independent cinema’s most thoughtful and compassionate artists, Stephen Cone is a true actor’s director, working intimately with a cast of regulars to tell naturalistic, deeply human stories about coming of age, coming out, and the intricacies of modern-day religion. First coming to attention with The Wise Kids, a remarkably nuanced portrait of Bible Belt teenagers dealing with issues of faith and sexuality, Cone has continued to explore themes of adolescent discovery and turmoil in sensitively observed works like Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and Princess Cyd. Triumphs of subtle, empathetic storytelling, Cone’s unjustly under-the-radar films exude an easy, understated grace even as they grapple with some of life’s most complex questions.

  • The Wise Kids, 2011
  • Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, 2015
  • Princess Cyd, 2017

Friday, August 28

Double Feature: Private Eyes

Phantom Lady and Variety

The power of the female gaze subverts the genre and gender conventions of classical film noir in a dreamlike thriller and a feminist touchstone it inspired. The first of the baroquely stylized noir masterpieces directed by genre specialist Robert Siodmak, the expressionistically sinister Cornell Woolrich adaptation Phantom Lady casts Ella Raines as a secretary who transforms herself into an amateur sleuth in order to track down a mysterious witness she hopes can clear her boss of a murder charge. The way Raines’s character plays against the traditionally male gumshoe archetype inspired Bette Gordon in the making of her landmark revisionist noir Variety, a provocative study of voyeurism, obsession, and female erotic fantasy set amid the Times Square porn houses of 1980s New York City.

Saturday, August 29

Saturday Matinee: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Prestige producer Alexander Korda applies his seal of quality to this rip-roaring swashbuckler, a rollickingly entertaining adaptation of the classic novel by Baroness Orczy, which introduced the widely imitated trope of a hero with a secret identity. Leslie Howard steps into the foppish finery of the seemingly ineffectual English aristocrat who, as his quick-thinking alter ego the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescues innocents from the guillotine during the French Revolution. Boasting a superb cast that includes Merle Oberon and Raymond Massey, this crackling adventure offers one of cinema’s most unique heroes: a charming, cheeky dandy with the heart of a lion.

Sunday, August 30

Films by Bill Plympton

“King of Indie Animation” Bill Plympton’s wonderfully weird creations are unmistakable: the wriggly, hand-sketched style, warped humor, and endlessly shape-shifting, transmogrifying images are the hallmarks of a singularly bizarre and brilliant imagination. Originally a newspaper cartoonist, Plympton found success as a film animator when his entrancingly twisted musical Your Face received an Oscar nomination for best animated short, leading to dozens more shorts and features, regular play on early 1990s MTV, another Oscar nomination (for the short Guard Dog), and a worldwide cult following. A self-described “blend of Magritte and R. Crumb—that European surrealism, but the weird, goofy sexual craziness of R. Crumb,” Plympton is a one-of-a-kind auteur of the absurd, an underground animation hero whose films hold a funhouse mirror up to the innate strangeness of everyday reality.

Features

  • The Tune, 1992
  • I Married a Strange Person!, 1997
  • Mutant Aliens, 2001
  • Hair High, 2004
  • Idiots and Angels, 2008
  • Cheatin’, 2013
  • Revengeance, 2016

Shorts

  • Your Face, 1987
  • One of Those Days, 1988
  • 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, 1989
  • How to Kiss, 1988
  • Push Comes to Shove, 1991
  • The Wiseman, 1991
  • How to Make Love to a Woman, 1996
  • Sex and Violence, 1997
  • Guard Dog, 2004
  • The Fan and The Flower, 2005
  • Guide Dog, 2006
  • Hot Dog, 2008
  • Santa, the Fascist Years, 2008
  • Horn Dog, 2009
  • The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, 2010

Monday, August 31

Exporting Raymond

Featuring a new introduction by director Phil Rosenthal

Phil Rosenthal created one of the most iconic television families of all time with his hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. He was a bona fide expert in his craft. And then … the Russians called. In this genuine fish-out-of-water comedy that could only have happened in real life, Phil travels to Russia to help adapt his beloved show for Russian television. The Russians don’t share his taste. They don’t share his sense of humor. But what Phil does discover is a true farce, filled with characters and situations as outlandish as any he could script. Whether you’re a fan of the show or have never seen it, Exporting Raymond offers a hilarious, wildly entertaining look at what happens when a quintessentially American comedy gets lost in translation.


Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, Bill Plympton, 1989
  • The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Roy Rowland, 1953
  • The Angel Levine, Ján Kadár, 1970
  • Any Number Can Win, Henri Verneuil, 1963
  • Bacurau, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, 2019
  • Brazil, Terry Gilliam, 1985
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Fred Schepisi, 1978
  • Cheatin’, Bill Plympton, 2013
  • Comic Book Confidential, Ron Mann, 1988
  • The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, Bill Plympton, 2010
  • Criss Cross, Robert Siodmak, 1949
  • Cutaway, Kazik Radwanski, 2014
  • The Deep, Peter Yates, 1977
  • Devil’s Doorway, Anthony Mann, 1950
  • The Devil’s Playground, Fred Schepisi, 1976
  • Don’s Party, Bruce Beresford, 1976
  • Exporting Raymond, Phil Rosenthal, 2010
  • The Fan and the Flower, Bill Plympton, 2005
  • Father of My Children, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2009
  • Un flic, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972
  • Gallipoli, Peter Weir, 1981
  • Ganja & Hess, Bill Gunn, 1973
  • The Getting of Wisdom, Bruce Beresford, 1977
  • The Girl on a Motorcycle, Jack Cardiff, 1968
  • Goodbye First Love, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2011
  • Guard Dog, Bill Plympton, 2004
  • Guide Dog, Bill Plympton, 2006
  • Hair High, Bill Plympton, 2004
  • Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Stephen Cone, 2015
  • Horn Dog, Bill Plympton, 2009
  • Hot Dog, Bill Plympton, 2008
  • How to Kiss, Bill Plympton, 1988
  • How to Make Love to a Woman, Bill Plympton, 1996
  • I Married a Strange Person!, Bill Plympton, 1997
  • Idiots and Angels, Bill Plympton, 2008
  • Imagine the Sound, Ron Mann, 1981
  • John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection, Julien Faraut, 2018
  • The Killers, Robert Siodmak, 1946
  • Kings Row, Sam Wood, 1942
  • Le cercle rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970
  • The Little Prince, Stanley Donen, 1974
  • The Lonedale Operator, Michael Almereyda, 2018
  • Long Weekend, Colin Eggleston, 1978
  • Mad Max, George Miller, 1979
  • The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles, 1942
  • Money Movers, Bruce Beresford, 1978
  • Mr. Klein, Joseph Losey, 1976
  • Mutant Aliens, Bill Plympton, 2001
  • Mynarski Death Plummet, Matthew Rankin, 2014
  • Newsfront, Phillip Noyce, 1978
  • Once a Thief, Ralph Nelson, 1965
  • One of Those Days, Bill Plympton, 1988
  • Only Angels Have Wings, Howard Hawks, 1939
  • Personal Problems, Bill Gunn, 1980
  • Phantom Lady, Robert Siodmak, 1944
  • Poetry in Motion, Ron Mann, 1982
  • Princess Cyd, Stephen Cone, 2017
  • Puberty Blues, Bruce Beresford, 1981
  • Push Comes to Shove, Bill Plympton, 1991
  • Revengeance, Bill Plympton and Jim Lujan, 2016
  • Rocco and His Brothers, Luchino Visconti, 1960
  • Santa, the Fascist Years, Bill Plympton, 2008
  • The Secret Garden, Fred M. Wilcox, 1949
  • Sex and Violence, Bill Plympton, 1997
  • Sightseers, Ben Wheatley, 2012**
  • Starstruck, Gillian Armstrong, 1982
  • Storm Boy, Henri Safran, 1976
  • Sullivan’s Travels, Preston Sturges, 1941
  • Sunday Too Far Away, Ken Hannam, 1975
  • Sun Don’t Shine, Amy Seimetz, 2012
  • Things to Come, Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016
  • The Tune, Bill Plympton, 1992
  • Twist, Ron Mann, 1992
  • Unrelated, Joanna Hogg, 2007
  • Voices of Kidnapping, Ryan McKenna, 2017
  • The Widow Couderc, Pierre Granier-Deferre, 1971
  • The Wise Kids, Stephen Cone, 2011
  • The Wiseman, Bill Plympton, 1991
  • The Year of Living Dangerously, Peter Weir, 1982
  • Your Face, Bill Plympton, 1987

**Available in the U.S. only

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The Summer 2020 Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion Collection Sale Has Begun! https://criterioncast.com/news/the-summer-2020-barnes-noble-50-off-criterion-collection-sale-has-begun Fri, 10 Jul 2020 05:14:21 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63945
For the past several years, Barnes & Noble holds a bi-annual 50% off sale on the Criterion Collection, each July and November. The sale begins today online and goes through August 2nd.

Below you’ll find covers to the most recent Criterion Collection Blu-ray releases, with links taking you to their corresponding pages on Barnes & Noble’s website.

What are you picking up this time around? Head over to our Facebook page, or Subreddit, and share your haul shots!

These are affiliate links, and when you purchase through our links, you are helping our site. I really appreciate it.


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

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Top Five Home Video Releases Of June 2020 https://criterioncast.com/column/top-five-home-video-releases-of-june-2020 Fri, 03 Jul 2020 16:00:45 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63916

It’s a new month, and with that, some retrospection. Each month, hundreds of home video releases hit the streets, and who better to curate the best of the best than us here at The CriterionCast. So with that, here are the five best home video releases of June 2020, as per yours truly:

5. Victor and Victoria (Kino Lorber)

Starting this month’s round up off is one of queer cinema’s founding texts. The 1933 German masterpiece Victor and Victoria has been released by Kino Lorber in a glorious new restoration. Best known as the inspiration for Blake Edwards’ 1982 remake, the film tells the story of a young woman and a lowly actor who come up with a scheme that sees the young woman (played brilliantly by Renate Muller) taking on the role of a man performing in drag, ultimately making her somewhat of a hit. What follows is a story of gender roles being blurred in a groundbreaking and timeless rumination on sexuality and gender politics that feels as lively today as it ever did upon its initial release. The performances are breathtaking and the wit in the screenplay feels decidedly modern despite being just under 90 years old. It’s a modern feeling picture that has been giving a fantastic new coat of paint. The new restoration is absolutely gorgeous, with its lush black and white photography getting a new lease on life thanks to the update.

Notable Supplement: Audio commentary by film historian Gaylyn Studlar. As with most of these commentaries from Kino Lorber, the Studlar commentary is a pinch dry but boy is it informative. It’s a fantastic text or those new to the film, a commentary that’s both referential to the film’s production and also where it stands in a larger cultural context.

4. 2x Kantemir Balagov (Kino Lorber)

Next up on this month’s home video round up is a pair of films from up and coming filmmaker Kantemir Balagov. Released by Kino Lorber, Balagov’s first two films are now on Blu-ray, with his controversial debut Tesnota and his much-lauded follow-up Beanpole coming in lockstep. Beanpole is inarguably the film that broke him over here stateside, with a lenghty festival run being followed up by a rewarding theatrical run garnering him and his film increadibly high praise. However, Tesnota is the real discovery here, a harrowing tale of kidnap and terrorism, following a young woman and her family who must deal with the kidnapping of her younger brother and his partner. In a community so insular that using the police is completely a non-starter, the film follows Ilana as she must navigate her way through her community in order to bring her brother back home alive. Content warning though, the film does contain footage of an actual terrorist assassination, and while that may seem grotesque, it actually has a haunting effect within the film, adding some genuine tactile realism to a film that exudes it at every turn. It’s a genuinely auspicious debut and catapults Balagov to the top of the list of world filmmakers to keep an eye on.

Notable Supplement: The only one, an interview with Balagov on Beanpole. Not a remarkable supplement, it takes the win here as being the sole supplement across the two releases. These aren’t stacked releases, which make the pitch a bit hard, but these are really special films so hopefully the bare bones quality of them won’t hinder support.

3. Tokyo Godfathers (Shout Factory)

The sole animated film on this list (and maybe the first animated film we’ve covered in this still-young column), Tokyo Godfathers has been released on Blu-ray from Shout Factory, and sits squarely in the middle of this list. Arguably animator Satoshi Kon’s most well known film, the film tells the story of three homeless people who come across a baby seemingly abandoned at a landfill. What follows is a profoundly moving and deeply humanist work from one of animation’s greatest visionaries, a film that’s as genuinely funny as it is emotionally devastating, gorgeously brought back to life in a brand new Blu-ray from Shout. A story about fate and redemption, the film feels admittedly a bit smaller than his other masterpieces like Paprika or Perfect Blue, but it’s no less groundbreaking, a moving character study that sees the director go from otherworldly surrealist to an almost Jonathan Demme-like humanist. It’s really quite something.

Notable Supplement: Ohayo. It’s barely a minute long but this Kon-directed short film is a welcome addition here, an almost blink-and-you’ll miss it short that’s short on time but long on style. Again, may not pack as much of a punch as the making of included here (or the one about the making of Ohayo that’s four times longer than the short itself), but anytime you get a second film on a disc it’s hard to argue with that.

2. An Unmarried Woman (The Criterion Collection)

Topping off this month’s list are a pair of Criterion Collection releases. First up, An Unmarried Woman. From director Paul Mazursky comes this story of Erica (Jill Clayburgh) who, after her husband reveals an affair, must head out into the world on her own for the first time in ages. A film as much about this one woman’s life following a life-shattering divorce as it is about a larger conversation about gender politics and sexuality, An Unmarried Woman is a textured and nuanced character study with a top tier performance from Clayburgh that’s one of the best of the ‘70s. Clayburgh’s performance is particularly great in her naturalism, giving a performance that feels lived in and fully formed to an extent that’s genuinely shocking for a film of this ilk. Less a rom com than a slice of life drama, the film’s not without its laughs, but instead of being some sort of arch laugh-fest, the film’s chuckles come in both the performances as well as what is one of the great scripts of this era, a film that’s as amart as it is timeless.

Notable Supplement: New interview with Sam Wasson. While there are interviews with cast members here, the one that stands out is with author Wasson. It’s an interview that’s more focused on the production and reception of the film, and more so the place it holds within the career of Paul Mazursky. An incredibly smart and engaging interview, this is a fascinating discussion about the life and work of one of American cinema’s great underrated masters.

1. Come And See (The Criterion Collection)

Finally, the top slot. What else could it possibly be other than one of the Criterion Collection’s best home video releases of 2020, their updating of the iconic war epic, Come And See. From director Elem Klimov comes this harrowing film, a film about a young man who joins the Soviet forces as Nazi forces close in upon his small village. Inarguably the most visceral and assaultive war film ever made, Klimov’s surreal, nightmarish direction pushed boundaries, with a screenplay that nearly took a decade to get passed by censors, speaking to the expressionistic brutality of this masterpiece. Long rumored to be added to the Collection, the rumors finally made good, with a glorious new restoration that only elevates the almost comically horrific photography and direction. At 143 minutes the film may seem like a plodding classical war epic, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, with an acid-dipped script oozing feverish satire opposite a director who turns the brutality of war into expressionistic sequences that feel ripped right out of the late night fever dreams of those who have been to battle. It’s a film completely unlike anything ever before or since.

Notable Supplement: Probably the interview with Roger Deakins? This is a wildly dense release so really any supplement could stand here, but the one I’ve returned to a few times since the disc dropped was this engaging interview with today’s seminal photographer, Roger Deakins. Talking about the beauty and importance of this film on a filmic level, it’s always fascinating to watch a modern craftsman wax philosophic about a film that profoundly influenced them or something that helped evolve their craft.

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July 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/july-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Fri, 26 Jun 2020 01:49:20 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63842

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For July, the Channel will feature films from Miranda July, the Dardenne Brothers, Kelly Reichardt, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial

Wednesday, July 1

Between the Lines

Featuring a 1983 documentary portrait of director Joan Micklin Silver by filmmaker Katja Raganelli

Inspired by director Joan Micklin Silver’s time working at New York’s storied alt weekly the Village Voice, this unsung gem of 1970s slice-of-life seriocomedy offers an incisive, bittersweet look at a shifting media landscape that feels as fresh and relevant as ever. At the offices of a Boston independent newspaper, the staff members—including music critic Max (Jeff Goldblum, in one of his first leading roles), news reporter Harry (John Heard) and photographer Abbie (Lindsay Crouse)—enjoy a positive and open-minded work environment. However, it seems as though their relatively carefree days are numbered when the owner of a major publishing company buys the paper, leading to more money, but big changes.

Thursday, July 2

Young Ahmed

Exclusive streaming premiere, featuring a new introduction by film historian Godfrey Cheshire

Winner of the best director award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the latest social-realist triumph from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne finds the pair applying their patented brand of heartrendingly empathetic humanism to an explosive subject. Under the sway of his radical imam, Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi, in a revelatory debut performance), a thirteen-year-old Muslim boy growing up in a small Belgian town, becomes increasingly enamored with the tenets of violent religious extremism—a rejection of his family and society that has shocking consequences. Resisting both easy answers and the urge to sensationalize, the Dardenne brothers offer a clear-eyed, grippingly naturalistic portrait of a young life in crisis graced with the expansive compassion that has made them among the most consistently lauded cinematic voices of our time.

Friday, July 3

Certain Women: Criterion Collection Edition #893

The expanses of the American West take center stage in this intimately observed triptych from Kelly Reichardt. Adapted from three short stories by Maile Meloy and unfolding in self-contained but interlocking episodes, Certain Women navigates the subtle shifts in personal desire and social expectation that unsettle the circumscribed lives of its characters: a lawyer (Laura Dern) forced to subdue a troubled client; a wife and mother (Michelle Williams) whose plans to construct her dream home reveal fissures in her marriage; and a night-school teacher (Kristen Stewart) who forms a tenuous bond with a lonely ranch hand (Lily Gladstone), whose longing for connection delivers an unexpected jolt of emotional immediacy. With unassuming craft, Reichardt captures the rhythms of daily life in small-town Montana through these fine-grained portraits of women trapped within the landscape’s wide-open spaces. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Kelly Reichardt, executive producer Todd Haynes, and author Maile Meloy.

Friday, July 3

Double Feature: Auto Focused

Bullitt and Grand Prix

The roar of the engines, the smell of burning rubber on pavement, and the adrenaline-rush exhilaration of pedal-to-the-metal speed: the kinetic thrill of cool cars in motion is front and center in these two action classics guaranteed to get your motor running. Steve McQueen confirmed his status as the King of Cool with his steely turn in the lean, mean thriller Bullitt, featuring the most iconic car chase ever filmed: a full-throttle pursuit up and down the vertiginous streets of San Francisco. Then, director John Frankenheimer puts you in the driver’s seat in Grand Prix, a sleekly stylized, star-studded technical masterpiece set in the daredevil world of Formula One racing, featuring one of Saul Bass’s most virtuosic title sequences.

Saturday, July 4

Saturday Matinee: Mad Hot Ballroom

Fifth graders from across New York City’s public schools journey into the life-changing world of ballroom dancing in this irresistible documentary from Marilyn Agrelo. Told from the always candid, often hilarious perspectives of the kids themselves, Mad Hot Ballroom traces their journeys from reluctant participants to pint-sized Astaires as they set out to win it all in a citywide competition. Along the way there are trials, tears, life lessons, and, above all, joy—especially when the kids hit the dance floor to strut their stuff.

Sunday, July 5

Western Noir

Featuring a new introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith

A new breed of westerns emerged after World War II, stained by film noir’s anxious, disenchanted mood and enriched by its psychological and moral complexity. Romantic myths of the frontier gave way to tougher tales of ruthless outlaws, corrupt cattle barons, gold-crazed prospectors, mercenary gunfighters, and lonely, damaged men obsessively pursuing vengeance for past wrongs. Essential noir actors found a home on the range: Robert Mitchum brings his cool, world-weary pessimism to Blood on the Moon and Man with the Gun, while Robert Ryan’s tortured tension anchors the gripping Day of the Outlaw. Women, long marginalized in westerns, wielded newfound power, but not without getting their hands dirty; the femmes fatales of western noir include Barbara Stanwyck (The Violent Men), Ida Lupino (Lust for Gold), and Marlene Dietrich (Rancho Notorious). From brooding black-and-white dramas like Station West and I Shot Jesse James to the harrowing, elegiac masterpieces of Anthony Mann, the West’s wide-open spaces prove as haunted and dangerous as any dark city.

  • Blood on the Moon, Robert Wise, 1948
  • Station West, Sidney Lanfield, 1948
  • I Shot Jesse James, Samuel Fuller, 1949
  • Lust for Gold, S. Sylvan Simon, 1949
  • The Walking Hills, John Sturges, 1949
  • Devil’s Doorway, Anthony Mann, 1950*
  • Rancho Notorious, Fritz Lang, 1952
  • The Naked Spur, Anthony Mann, 1953
  • Man with the Gun, Richard Wilson, 1955
  • The Violent Men, Rudolph Maté, 1955
  • Man of the West, Anthony Mann, 1958
  • Day of the Outlaw, André De Toth, 1959

*Available August 1

Monday, July 6

California Typewriter

A love letter to the analogue pleasures of an increasingly niche technology, this thought-provoking documentary is a rich, affectionate portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse. Featuring interviews with high-profile enthusiasts like Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard, David McCullough, John Mayer, and others, it also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging contraptions clicking. As the digital age’s emphasis on speed and convenience reshapes our relationship to technology, CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER asks us to consider who’s serving whom: human or machine?

Monday, July 6

Lenny Cooke

Featuring an introduction by Josh and Benny Safdie

In 2001, Lenny Cooke was the most hyped high school basketball player in the country, ranked above future greats LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony. A decade later, he had never played a minute in the NBA. This quintessentially American documentary by Josh and Benny Safdie tracks the unfulfilled destiny of a man for whom superstardom was only just out of reach.

Tuesday, July 7

Short + Feature: Animal Instincts

Shadow Animals and Attenberg

The innate strangeness of human social rituals is brought to the fore in these brilliantly bizarre anthropological social dramas that double as critiques of cultural norms and niceties. Swedish director Jerry Carlsson’s tense, uncanny short Shadow Animals assumes the point of view of a young girl as it surveys the increasingly weird, sinister goings-on at a nightmarish dinner party. Its vision of human nature as inherently animalistic is taken to the extreme in Greek iconoclast Athina Rachel Tsangari’s international breakout Attenberg, an outré blend of coming-of-age melodrama, oddball musical, and surrealist nature documentary.

Tuesday, July 7

Documentaries by the Ross Brothers

The richly impressionistic documentaries of Bill Ross IV Turner Ross are wonders of regional American filmmaking made according to an unwavering philosophy: to be completely present in the moment and alive to the ecstatic humanity that passes before their camera. Transforming everyday life into free-flowing poetry through their rhapsodic editing style, the brothers offer an exhilarating look at a single night in New Orleans in Tchoupitoulas and team up with David Byrne to stage a one-of-a-kind performance built around high school color guards in Contemporary Color.

  • Tchoupitoulas, 2012
  • Contemporary Color, 2016

Wednesday, July 8

Directed by Sara Driver

Featuring an introduction by Driver

Everyday reality slips into surrealist reverie in the uncanny visions of Sara Driver, whose films possess the hallucinatory textures and hypnotic rhythms of a waking dream. A central but often overlooked linchpin of the 1980s downtown New York arts scene, Driver made her directorial debut with You Are Not I, a mesmerizingly eerie adaptation of a Paul Bowles story that was thought lost for decades until it reemerged to take its place as one of the key independent films of the era. In subsequent features Sleepwalk and When Pigs Fly, Driver delved further into the fantastical, crafting modern-day fairy tales whose trancelike spells linger long after the last reel.

  • You Are Not I, 1981
  • Sleepwalk, 1986
  • When Pigs Fly, 1993
  • The Bowery, 1994

Wednesday, July 8

A Dry White Season: Criterion Collection Edition #953

With this bracing drama, made at the climax of the anti-apartheid movement, director Euzhan Palcy issued a devastating indictment of South Africa’s racist government—and made history in the process, becoming the first black woman to direct a Hollywood studio film. White schoolteacher Ben Du Toit (Donald Sutherland) lives in Johannesburg and remains blissfully incurious about the lives of his black countrymen until a wave of brutal treatment comes crashing down on his gardener (Winston Ntshona), bringing Du Toit face-to-face with harsh political realities. Based on a celebrated novel by André Brink and rooted in the first-hand research the Martinican Palcy did in South Africa into the way black people lived under apartheid, A Dry White Season is unflinching in its depiction of violence and its chronicling of injustice, making for a galvanizing tribute to those willing to sacrifice everything to fight oppression. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Euzhan Palcy and Donald Sutherland, excerpts from a conversation between Palcy and Nelson Mandela, and more.

Thursday, July 9

Scores by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Featuring Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, a 2017 documentary by Stephen Nomura Schible

Japanese electronic-music pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been at the cutting edge of both pop and avant-garde music for over four decades. Opening up a brave new world of sound through his work with his influential band Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto went on to a distinguished international career as a film composer beginning with his entrancing synth score for Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, in which he also costarred with David Bowie. Since then, Sakamoto has worked with auteurs ranging from Bernardo Bertolucci to Pedro Almodóvar to Shirin Neshat, bringing a distinctive experimental edge and stirring sense of atmosphere to some of the most haunting and indelible film music of the last half century.

  • Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Nagisa Oshima, 1983
  • The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Volker Schlöndorff, 1990
  • High Heels, Pedro Almodóvar, 1991
  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Peter Kosminsky, 1992*
  • Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, John Maybury, 1998
  • Gohatto, Nagisa Oshima, 1999
  • Tony Takitani, Jun Ichikawa, 2004
  • Women Without Men, Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari, 2009
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Stephen Nomura Schible, 2017

*Available September 1

Friday, July 10

Double Feature: Loving on the Edge

Mala Noche and My Own Private Idaho

Touchstone works in the evolution of the New Queer Cinema movement, these twin tales of aimless youth by Gus Van Sant are swooning expressions of his signature concern: the emotional journeys of young men adrift on the margins of society. While editing his boldly original debut feature Mala Noche, about a romantic deadbeat’s wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant, Van Sant met Mike Parker, a Portland street kid who became the inspiration for the young hustler played by River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho. Further developing the themes of queer identity, transience, and unrequited longing, Van Sant created an intoxicating anthem of outsiderhood that stands as one of the defining independent films of the 1990s.

Saturday, July 11

Saturday Matinee: The White Balloon

Jafar Panahi’s revelatory debut feature is a child’s-eye adventure in which a young girl’s quest to buy a goldfish leads her on a detour-filled journey through the streets of Tehran on the eve of the Iranian New Year celebration. Cowritten by Panahi with his mentor Abbas Kiarostami, this beguiling, prizewinning fable unfolds in documentary-like real time as it wrings unexpected comedy, suspense, and wonder from its seemingly simple premise.

Sunday, July 12

Marriage Stories

Bad marriages make great movies, as evidenced by these gloriously messy, cuttingly perceptive portraits of some of the most dysfunctional relationships ever captured on-screen. With raw emotion, dramatic blowups, and soul-baring self-reflection baked into the premise, these tales of marital breakups and shakeups explore everything from jealousy, infidelity, and betrayal to the procedural complexities of divorce and separation to the myriad, sometimes barely perceptible ways in which couples drift apart. They also happen to be vehicles for some of the most personal and revealing statements from major directors like Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Ida Lupino, Mike Nichols, Noah Baumbach, Lars von Trier, Asghar Farhadi, and others, each of whom brings fresh insight to that most universal of subjects: the mysterious intricacies of human intimacy.

  • Come Back, Little Sheba, Daniel Mann, 1952
  • The Bigamist, Ida Lupino, 1953
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Richard Brooks, 1958
  • La notte, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961
  • Juliet of the Spirits, Federico Fellini, 1965
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Mike Nichols, 1966
  • Faces, John Cassavetes, 1968
  • A Married Couple, Allan King, 1969
  • Scenes from a Marriage, Ingmar Bergman, 1973
  • California Suite, Herbert Ross, 1978
  • Kramer vs. Kramer, Robert Benton, 1979
  • 5×2, François Ozon, 2004
  • The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach, 2005
  • Antichrist, Lars von Trier, 2009
  • Certified Copy, Abbas Kiarostami, 2010
  • Tuesday, After Christmas, Radu Muntean, 2010
  • A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, 2011
  • 45 Years, Andrew Haigh, 2015

Monday, July 13

Nostalgia for the Light

Master documentarian Patricio Guzmán travels ten thousand feet above sea level to the driest place on earth: Chile’s Atacama Desert, where astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars in a sky so translucent that it allows them to see to the boundaries of the universe. The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact, including those of political prisoners “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the 1973 military coup. Just as astronomers search for distant galaxies, surviving relatives of the disappeared search for the remains of their loved ones in a quest to reclaim their families’ histories. Melding the celestial and the earthly, Nostalgia for the Light is a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey into both Chilean history and the furthest reaches of space.

Tuesday, July 14

Short + Feature: Lost Pets

Pickle and Gates of Heaven

Featuring an introduction by Criterion Channel programmer Penelope Bartlett

Do all dogs go to heaven? Two documentary filmmakers explore mortality and mourning through the experiences of pet owners. In Pickle, Amy Nicholson profiles a couple of extreme animal lovers, interviewing them about the menagerie they’ve cared for and buried over the years, including paraplegic possums, emaciated cats, and morbidly obese chickens. Errol Morris’s debut feature, Gates of Heaven, immerses viewers in the community surrounding two pet cemeteries in Napa Valley, California, blending sincerity and satire to spin its quirky subject into a surprisingly expansive study of human nature.

Wednesday, July 15

Directed by Miranda July

Featuring the 2019 documentary Miranda July: Where It Began

The fearless, brilliantly idiosyncratic films of writer-director-actor and all-around polymath Miranda July combine arrestingly oddball whimsy with astute, emotionally penetrating observations on intimacy, sexuality, loneliness, and human connection. Beginning her career as a performance artist immersed in the riot grrrl scene of 1990s Portland, Oregon, July found her way to film with her pioneering Joanie 4 Jackie project, in which she curated and distributed feminist video “chain letters” of underground movies made by women across the country. With her acclaimed features Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future, July established herself as one of American independent cinema’s most distinctive voices, a bold, relentlessly imaginative artist who finds cosmic insight in the everyday.

Features
* Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July, 2005
* The Future, Miranda July, 2011

Shorts
* The Amateurist, Miranda July, 1998
* Nest of Tens, Miranda July, 2000

Shorts from Joanie 4 Jackie
* Transeltown, Myra Paci, 1992
* Dear Mom, Tammy Rae Carland, 1995
* The Slow Escape, Sativa Peterson, 1998
* Hawai, Ximena Cuevas, 1999
* No Place Like Home #1 and #2, Karen Yasinsky, 1999
* Gigi (from 9 to 5), Joanne Nucho, 2001
* Ophelia’s Opera, Abiola Abrams, 2001
* La Llorona, Stephanie Saint Sanchez, 2003
* untitled video, Sujin Lee, 2002
* Joanie 4 Jackie: A Quick Overview, Shauna McGarry, 2008

Thursday, July 16

Three Starring Jane Fonda

Few actors have dominated an era—for their work both on- and offscreen—the way Jane Fonda did in the 1960s and ’70s, when she emerged as one of the most acclaimed performers of her generation as well as a zeitgeist-defining cultural icon for her fierce political activism. All made at the peak of her career, these three films showcase Fonda’s nuance, impeccable comic timing, and versatility: she’s larger than life as an intergalactic bombshell in the cult sci-fi extravaganza Barbarella; riotously funny as a bourgeois housewife who takes up armed robbery in the barbed slapstick satire Fun with Dick and Jane; and at once prickly and disarming as a divorced woman fighting for custody of her daughter in the Neil Simon–penned ensemble farce California Suite.

  • Barbarella, Roger Vadim, 1968
  • Fun with Dick and Jane, Ted Kotcheff, 1977
  • California Suite, Herbert Ross, 1978

Friday, July 17

Double Feature: Girls and the Gang

Mona Lisa and Gloria

Featuring an audio commentary for Mona Lisa by director Neil Jordan and actor Bob Hoskins

Two gritty 1980s crime classics distinguish themselves with ingredients all too rare for the genre: heart, humor, and strong female protagonists. Set in London’s sordid criminal underworld, Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa stars Cathy Tyson, Bob Hoskins, and Michael Caine in a surprisingly affecting, romantic neonoir about the complex relationship that develops between a glamorous call girl and a small-time mobster. Then, the great Gena Rowlands goes from gangster’s girlfriend to gun-toting action hero in John Cassavetes’s offbeat, New York-set thriller Gloria, in which she acts as avenging angel for a young boy on the run from the mob.

Saturday, July 18

Saturday Matinee: Miss Annie Rooney

As Shirley Temple grew up before the eyes of America, this delightful comeback vehicle offered her a chance to shine in a new kind of film: a charming teenage romance, complete with jive-talking, jitterbug-mad bobby soxers. She displays her patented pluck (and receives her first on-screen kiss) as starry-eyed fourteen-year-old Annie Rooney, who pines for nerdy classmate Marty (Dickie Moore) even though his wealthy family looks down on her working-class background. When Annie’s father (William Gargan) invents a new form of synthetic rubber, however, it may just be her ticket to love.

Sunday, July 19

100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012

Originally scheduled to begin this month, the Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed, but you can still celebrate a century of Olympic glory with this monumental collection. Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games, 100 Years of Olympic Films: 1912–2012 is the culmination of a massive, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger”: Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Games’ first women’s marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia and Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad, along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Miloš Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.

  • The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912, Adrian Wood, 2016
  • The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924, Jean de Rovera, 1924
  • The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece, Jean de Rovera, 1924
  • The Olympic Games in Paris 1924, Jean de Rovera, 1924
  • The White Stadium, Arnold Fanck and Othmar Gurtner, 1928
  • The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam, dir. unknown, 1928
  • The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928, Wilhelm Prager, 1928
  • Youth of the World, Carl Junghans, 1936
  • Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations, Leni Riefenstahl, 1938
  • Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty, Leni Riefenstahl, 1938
  • Fight Without Hate, André Michel, 1948
  • XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport, Castleton Knight, 1948
  • The VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo 1952, Tancred Ibsen, 1952
  • Where the World Meets, Hannu Leminen, 1952
  • Gold and Glory, Hannu Leminen, 1953
  • Memories of the Olympic Summer of 1952, dir. unknown, 1954
  • White Vertigo, Giorgio Ferroni, 1956
  • Olympic Games, 1956, Peter Whitchurch, 1956
  • The Melbourne Rendez-vous, René Lucot, 1957
  • Alain Mimoun, Louis Gueguen, 1959
  • The Horse in Focus, dir. unknown, 1956
  • People, Hopes, Medals, Heribert Meisel, 1960
  • The Grand Olympics, Romolo Marcellini, 1961
  • IX Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck 1964, Theo Hörmann, 1964
  • Tokyo Olympiad, Kon Ichikawa, 1965
  • Sensation of the Century, prod. Taguchi Suketaro, 1966
  • 13 Days in France, Claude Lelouch and François Reichenbach, 1968
  • Snows of Grenoble, Jacques Ertaud and Jean-Jacques Languepin, 1968
  • The Olympics in Mexico, Alberto Isaac, 1969
  • Sapporo Winter Olympics, Masahiro Shinoda, 1972
  • Visions of Eight, Miloš Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Yuri Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, and Mai Zetterling, 1973
  • White Rock, Tony Maylam, 1977
  • Games of the XXI Olympiad, Jean-Claude Labrecque, Jean Beaudin, Marcel Carrière, and Georges Dufaux, 1977
  • Olympic Spirit, Drummond Challis and Tony Maylam, 1980
  • O Sport, You Are Peace!, Yuri Ozerov, 1981
  • A Turning Point, Kim Takal, 1984
  • 16 Days of Glory, Bud Greenspan, 1986
  • Calgary ’88: 16 Days of Glory Bud Greenspan, 1989
  • Seoul 1988, Lee Kwang-soo, 1989
  • Hand in Hand, Im Kwon-taek, 1989
  • Beyond All Barriers, Lee Ji-won, 1989
  • One Light, One World, Joe Jay Jalbert and R. Douglas Copsey, 1992
  • Marathon, Carlos Saura, 1993
  • Lillehammer ’94: 16 Days of Glory, Bud Greenspan, 1994
  • Atlanta’s Olympic Glory, Bud Greenspan, 1997
  • Nagano ’98 Olympics: Stories of Honor and Glory, Bud Greenspan, 1998
  • Olympic Glory, Kieth Merrill, 1999
  • Sydney 2000: Stories of Olympic Glory, Bud Greenspan, 2001
  • Salt Lake City 2002: Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Olympic Glory, Bud Greenspan, 2003
  • Bud Greenspan’s Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory, Bud Greenspan, 2005
  • Bud Greenspan’s Torino 2006: Stories of Olympic Glory, Bud Greenspan, 2007
  • The Everlasting Flame, Gu Jun, 2010
  • Bud Greenspan Presents Vancouver 2010: Stories of Olympic Glory, prods. Bud Greenspan and Nancy Beffa, 2010
  • First, Caroline Rowland, 2012

Monday, July 20

12 O’Clock Boys

Meet the 12 O’Clock Boys, an infamous urban dirt-bike pack who whiz through the streets of Baltimore. Popping wheelies and weaving at excessive speeds through traffic, the group impressively evades the hamstrung police. Three years in the making, Lotfy Nathan’s wild, dynamic documentary captures their death-defying antics through the eyes of young adolescent Pug, a bright kid from the Westside obsessed with the riders and willing to do anything to join their ranks. Propelled by breathtakingly kinetic footage that takes viewers along for the ride, 12 O’Clock Boys spins a compelling, intimate story of a young boy and his dangerous, thrilling dream.

Tuesday, July 21

Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project: Soleil Ô

Exclusive streaming premiere, featuring an interview with director Med Hondo

A furious howl of resistance against racist oppression, the debut from Mauritanian director Med Hondo is a bitterly funny, stylistically explosive attack on Western capitalism and the legacy of colonialism. Laced with deadly irony and righteous anger, Soleil Ô follows a starry-eyed immigrant (Robert Liensol) as he leaves West Africa and journeys to Paris in search of a job and cultural enrichment—but soon discovers a hostile society in which his very presence elicits fear and resentment. Drawing on the freewheeling stylistic experimentation of the French New Wave, Hondo deploys a dizzying array of narrative and stylistic techniques—animation, docudrama, dream sequences, musical numbers, folklore, slapstick comedy, agitprop—to create a revolutionary landmark of political cinema and a shattering vision of awakening black consciousness.

Tuesday, July 21

Short + Feature: A Day in the Life

Fit Model and Cléo from 5 to 7

Featuring a new conversation between Fit Model director Myna Joseph and actor Lucy Owen

From 1960s Paris to contemporary New York City, two women juggle careers, relationships, and personal crises over the course of days in which nothing—and everything—happens. Myna Joseph’s elegantly shot, Big Apple–set short Fit Model follows a thirtysomething freelancer who works as everything from a babysitter to a stand-in for fashion models while also dealing with the physical and financial fallout of an accident. Joseph based her character’s city wanderings and fluid, fluctuating identity on Cléo, a singer who whiles away her day while awaiting confirmation of a cancer diagnosis in Agnès Varda’s real-time French New Wave touchstone Cléo from 5 to 7.

Wednesday, July 22

Born in Flames

Featuring a new introduction by director Lizzie Borden

The film that rocked the foundations of the 1980s underground, this postpunk provocation is a DIY science-fiction fantasia of female rebellion set in America ten years after a social-democratic cultural revolution. When Adelaide Norris (Jean Satterfield), the black revolutionary founder of the Woman’s Army, is mysteriously killed, a diverse coalition of women—across all lines of race, class, and sexual orientation—emerges to blow the system apart. Filmed guerrilla-style on the streets of pregentrification New York, Born in Flames is a Molotov cocktail of feminist futurism that’s both an essential document of its time and radically ahead of it.

Thursday, July 23

Tokyo Olympiad: Criterion Collection Edition #155

A spectacle of magnificent proportions and remarkable intimacy, Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad remains one of the greatest films ever made about sports. Supervising a vast team of technicians using scores of cameras, Ichikawa captured the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo in glorious widescreen images, using cutting-edge telephoto lenses and exquisite slow motion to create lyrical, idiosyncratic poetry from the athletic drama surging all around him. Drawn equally to the psychology of losers and winners—including the legendary Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila, who receives the film’s most exalted tribute—Ichikawa captures the triumph, passion, and suffering of competition with a singular humanistic vision, and in doing so effected a transformative influence on the art of documentary filmmaking. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An introduction by film historian Peter Cowie, over eighty minutes of additional material from the Tokyo Games, archival interviews with director Kon Ichikawa, and more.

Friday, July 24

Double Feature: The Hard-Boiled Way

Gun Crazy and The Big Combo

B-movie master Joseph H. Lewis turns the ingredients of dime-store pulp into existentialist poetry in these essential noirs, which stand as two of the most stylish and influential examples of the genre ever made. His innovative camera work and eye for pop iconography made the slam-bang couple-on-the-run thriller Gun Crazy a favorite of the French New Wave upstarts, and its influence is felt in everything from Breathless to Bonnie and Clyde. In The Big Combo, the atmospheric cinematography of shadow painter John Alton, dramatically stylized set pieces, and killer performances from Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, and Jean Wallace come together in a mesmerizingly moody, thematically subversive model of high art wrung from a low budget.

Saturday, July 25

Saturday Matinee: Destroy All Monsters

The original Godzilla team of director Ishiro Honda, special-effects supervisor Eiji Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube reunited for this kaiju extravaganza, which features no fewer than eleven monsters. Set in the remote future of 1999, when the people of Earth have achieved world peace by confining destructive creatures to Monsterland (until an alien race intervenes), Destroy All Monsters mounts a thrilling display of innovative action sequences and memorable images that have made it a favorite for generations of viewers.

Sunday, July 26

Directed by Atom Egoyan

Featuring a new introduction by Egoyan

The formally adventurous and psychologically intricate films of renowned Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan unfold according to complex, time-scrambling structures that heighten their searing emotional impact. Exploring issues of identity (including his own Armenian heritage), loss, alienation, and technology, Egoyan’s films frequently revolve around people struggling to make sense of their own shattered sense of self in the wake of profound personal tragedies. His provocative themes and elliptical style are on display in early critical triumphs like Next of Kin and Calendar and reach new heights of virtuosity in his masterpieces Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter, both of which are widely considered among the greatest Canadian films ever made.

  • Next of Kin, 1984
  • Family Viewing, 1987
  • Speaking Parts, 1989
  • The Adjuster, 1991
  • Calendar, 1993
  • Exotica, 1994
  • The Sweet Hereafter, 1997
  • Adoration, 2008

Monday, July 27

Infinite Football

Romanian New Wave leader Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 East of Bucharest) directs this at once hilarious and poignant look at an ordinary man’s extraordinary ambitions. Ever since a leg fracture ended his aspirations of becoming a soccer player, Laurentiu Ginghina, now a bureaucrat working in a drab government office, has devoted himself, with single-minded zeal, to reinventing the game, proposing it be radically altered (starting with reimagining the shape of the field as an octagon) in order to reduce player injuries. With both humor and humanity, Porumboiu’s marvelously offbeat, continually surprising documentary introduces us to an unforgettable individual, a self-proclaimed superman whose quixotic quest mirrors the hopes and dreams of his own country.

Tuesday, July 28

Short + Feature: Age of Exploration

Pillars and Girlhood

Featuring a new introduction by Pillars director Haley Elizabeth Anderson

Young women navigate the fraught terrain of adolescence in these richly immersive coming-of-age snapshots that touch on issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Haley Elizabeth Anderson’s lyrical, atmospheric short Pillars evokes the world of a girl growing up in the American South as she experiences a series of awakenings—some blissful, others brutal—after she receives her first kiss. Half a world away, on the outskirts of Paris, a teenager undergoes a similarly rocky journey toward finding herself in Céline Sciamma’s compassionate, unflinching Girlhood, which captures the rapturous highs and crushing lows of female friendship.

Wednesday, July 29

My Twentieth Century

Hungarian trailblazer Ildikó Enyedi’s award-winning first feature is a luminous, unconventional fairy tale. Two twins, Lili the anarchist and Dóra, a luxurious woman of loose morals (both played by Dorota Segda), are separated as young girls. Their lives proceed on opposing tracks until their paths reconnect on the Orient Express with Mr. Z (Tarkovsky mainstay Oleg Yankovsky), who loves them jointly. Defiantly in pursuit of happiness and in retreat from the “mass murdering century,” they are all entranced by Thomas Edison’s inventions and drunk on the miracle of existence. Among the greatest of cinematic debuts, My Twentieth Century introduced the world to Enyedi (On Body and Soul), who remains a vital, distinctive artist into the twenty-first century.

Thursday, July 30

The Loft Cinema Presents: Arizona Dream

Serbian visionary Emir Kusturica (Underground) gate-crashed Hollywood with this singular, marvelously loopy surrealist comedy featuring a remarkable cast that includes Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis, Lili Taylor, and Vincent Gallo. When his uncle (Lewis) in Arizona invites him to come work at the family car dealership, Axel Blackmar (Depp), a young man from New York obsessed with Eskimos and fish (and, specifically, their dreams), heads West, where he encounters lusty romance with a wealthy widow (Dunaway) and a series of oddball exploits involving turtles, a DIY flying machine, and a strikingly convincing recreation of an iconic set piece from North by Northwest. Like its title implies, Arizona Dream takes place on its own hallucinatory wavelength, a delirious, anything-goes vision of America as seen through the eyes of one of cinema’s great magic makers.

Friday, July 31

Double Feature: From Art House to Grindhouse

The Virgin Spring and The Last House on the Left

Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, an Oscar-winning tale of savagery in medieval Sweden, served as a direct influence on Wes Craven’s notoriously nasty debut feature, The Last House on the Left. But despite sharing similar premises, these harrowing dramas about rape, murder, and revenge are the results of two vastly different directorial visions: the earlier film is a powerful interrogation of faith and morality, while Craven’s spin is a shocking work of grindhouse depravity that was banned around the world for its graphic violence and helped usher in a new era of exploitation horror cinema.

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 12 O’Clock Boys, Lotfy Nathan, 2013
  • 5×2, François Ozon, 2004
  • The Adjuster, Atom Egoyan, 1991
  • Adoration, Atom Egoyan, 2008**
  • The Amateurist, Miranda July, 1998
  • Arizona Dream, Emir Kusturica, 1993
  • Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010
  • Barbarella, Roger Vadim, 1968
  • Between the Lines, Joan Micklin Silver
  • The Big Combo, Joseph H. Lewis, 1955
  • The Bigamist, Ida Lupino, 1953
  • Blood on the Moon, Robert Wise, 1948
  • Born in Flames, Lizzie Borden, 1983
  • The Bowery, Sara Driver, 1994
  • Bullitt, Peter Yates, 1968
  • Calendar, Atom Egoyan, 1993
  • California Suite, Herbert Ross, 1978
  • California Typewriter, Doug Nichol, 2016
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Richard Brooks, 1958
  • Certain Women, Kelly Reichardt, 2016
  • Come Back, Little Sheba, Daniel Mann, 1952
  • Contemporary Color, Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross, 2016
  • Day of the Outlaw, André De Toth, 1959
  • Dear Mom, Tammy Rae Carland, 1995
  • A Dry White Season, Euzhan Palcy, 1989
  • Exotica, Atom Egoyan, 1994
  • Family Viewing, Atom Egoyan, 1987**
  • Fit Model, Myna Joseph, 2019
  • Fun with Dick and Jane, Ted Kotcheff, 1977
  • The Future, Miranda July, 2011
  • Gigi (from 9 to 5), Joanne Nucho, 2001
  • Gohatto, Nagisa Oshima, 1999
  • Gun Crazy, Joseph H. Lewis, 1950
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Volker Schlöndorff, 1990
  • Hawai, Ximena Cuevas, 1999
  • High Heels, Pedro Almodóvar, 1991
  • Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend, 1987
  • Infinite Football, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2018
  • Joanie 4 Jackie: A Quick Overview, Shauna McGarry, 2008
  • Kramer vs. Kramer, Robert Benton, 1979
  • Last House on the Left, Wes Craven, 1972
  • Lenny Cooke, Josh and Benny Safdie, 2013
  • La Llorona, Stephanie Saint Sanchez, 2003
  • Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, John Maybury, 1998**
  • Lust for Gold, S. Sylvan Simon, 1949
  • Mad Hot Ballroom, Marilyn Agrelo, 2005
  • Man with the Gun, Richard Wilson, 1955
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July, 2005
  • Miss Annie Rooney, Edwin L. Marin, 1942
  • My Twentieth Century, Ildikó Enyedi, 1989
  • The Naked Spur, Anthony Mann, 1953
  • Nest of Tens, Miranda July, 2000
  • Next of Kin, Atom Egoyan, 1984**
  • No Place Like Home #1 and #2, Karen Yasinsky, 1999
  • Nostalgia for the Light, Patricio Guzmán, 2010
  • Ophelia’s Opera, Abiola Abrams, 2001
  • Pillars, Haley Elizabeth Anderson, 2020
  • Rancho Notorious, Fritz Lang, 1952
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Stephen Nomura Schible, 2017
  • A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, 2011
  • Shadow Animals, Jerry Carlsson, 2017
  • The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990
  • Sleepwalk, Sara Driver, 1986
  • The Slow Escape, Sativa Peterson, 1998
  • Soleil Ô, Med Hondo, 1967
  • Speaking Parts, Atom Egoyan, 1989**
  • Station West, Sidney Lanfield, 1948
  • The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach, 2005**
  • The Sweet Hereafter, Atom Egoyan, 1997
  • Tchoupitoulas, Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross, 2012
  • Tony Takitani, Jun Ichikawa, 2004
  • Transeltown, Myra Paci, 1992
  • untitled video, Sujin Lee, 2013 (?)
  • The Violent Men, Rudolph Maté, 1955
  • The Walking Hills, John Sturges, 1949
  • When Pigs Fly, Sara Driver, 1993
  • The White Balloon, Jafar Panahi, 1995
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Mike Nichols, 1966
  • Women Without Men, Shirin Neshat, 2009
  • You Are Not I, Sara Driver, 1981
  • Young Ahmed, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 2019**

**Available in the U.S. only

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Top Five Home Video Releases Of April 2020 https://criterioncast.com/column/top-five-home-video-releases-of-april-2020 Fri, 08 May 2020 16:00:21 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63643

It’s a new month, and with that, some retrospection. Each month, hundreds of home video releases hit the streets, and who better to curate the best of the best than us here at The CriterionCast. So with that, here are the five best home video releases of April 2020, as per yours truly:

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Criterion Collection)

I mean, honestly, where else would this list start? Closing out April with a bang was The Criterion Collection, releasing their latest collaboration with beloved filmmaker Wes Anderson, in the form of a new and glorious DVD and Blu-ray of arguably his most impressive film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Telling the story of a hotel concierge and his right hand man/bellboy as they go on the run following the death of an elderly woman the former may or may not have been sleeping with. Released in 2014, the film stars Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori as M. Gustave and Zero respectively, and is inarguably Anderson’s most stylish film, easily the clearest expression of Anderson’s long-discussed dollhouse-type direction and design work. Chock-a-block with incredible performances and a painterly hand behind the camera, the film’s a strangely moving, often uproarious story of friendship and the hunt for companionship in a world that’s ostensibly little more than chaos played out by people in fancy clothes. A must-own, this film is.

Notable Supplement: The Making of The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the better making of documentaries we’ve seen in some time. Incredibly detailed and insightful, the documentary is a portrait of one of today’s great and most singular craftsmen, and the troupe of players that has more or less become his closest collaborators. Made specifically for this release, there’s a clarity here regarding everyone’s process that turns this supplement into an incredibly important text.

4. 3-D Rarities, Vol. II (Flicker Alley)

Next up is the first and only sequel on this list. The second in Flicker Alley’s entrancing 3-D Rarities series, Vol. II is yet another thrilling journey into the history of 3-D cinema, and features three “segments.” First up is a series of shorts, spearheaded by the prologue for a film entitled Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, a German/Spanish picture that seems almost made in a laboratory specifically to either be studied as a 3D curio or mocked on the best MST3K episode not yet made. Next u is a feature length film from 1953, entitled El Corazon y la Espada. Scanned and restored in 4K, this prestine-looking update of the film is the first time the film’s been seen in its intended form since 1955, and as Mexico’s first 3-D film it stands as a fascinating historical document regarding a major moment in an entire nation’s cinematic history. Finally, and most enticing for cinephiles, is the third segment, which is a collection of photos taken by one Harold Lloyd. Presented by his granddaughter, the stereoscopic photos feature a litany of legendary screen stars. There obviously isn’t much merit to the photographs outside their time capsule status, but if you’re a fan of classic Hollywood this is about as thrilling a watch as you could imagine.

Notable Supplement: Audio commentary on El Corazon y la Espada. Again, this standing as Mexico’s first 3-D film makes it all on its own a fascinating watch, but with author David Wilt and historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss, the commentary beautifully adds texture and depth to not just the film itself, but the important players within its production.

3. Eric Rohmer 100 (Arrow Academy)

This one’s more or less self explanatory. Arrow Academy, on April 20, released their Eric Rohmer 100 – Comedies and Proverbs set, a release that sees them bring to Blu-ray six of the director’s masterpieces including The Aviator’s Wife, Pauline at the Beach, A Good Marriage, The Green Ray, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and Full Moon in Paris. While all six films are absolutely must-watch material, The Green Ray is particularly of note, as it is one of Rohmer’s most impressive directorial efforts, and in many ways a perfect entry point for those looking to jump head first into the director’s filmography. A film very much about isolation and loneliness, the film feels in many ways both perfect and completely unsettling for this moment in time, but it’s a gorgeously shot rumination on issues facing everyone at this point in history.

Notable Supplement: Effraction: Tcheky Karyo. Ostensibly a biography about the star of Full Moon In Paris, this hour-long French TV documentary is a fascinating deep dive into an actor little known outside of well studied cinephile circles. Not itself a groundbreaking work stylistically, it is an incredibly fascinating bit of added context within a box set that’s not short of that.

2. Angel (Kino Lorber)

In the silver spot comes one of the month’s more fascinating rediscoveries. Entitled Angel, this Marlene Dietrich-starring romantic comedy comes from director Ernst Lubitsch, and tells the story of an unfaithful wife who, despite having a dream setup what with a rich diplomat husband and a beautiful home, has a brief but life changing affair with another man played brilliantly by Melvyn Douglas. Co-starring Herbert Marshall, the film sounds exactly like the type of whip-smart and sharp-tongued comedy that the ever verbose Lubitsch would luxuriate in, yet what makes the film so brilliant and endlessly moving is the director’s ability to harness lengthy moments of silence. Like a good jazz song, it’s about the moments between the notes, or words in this case, that makes this film truly sing, with the chemistry between Dietrich, Marshall and Douglas playing perfectly into the director’s strengths. It’s an assured, mature work that isn’t short on humor but elevates itself to great heights by a maturity of tone and direction. A masterpiece, frankly.

Notable Supplement: Audio commentary with Joseph McBride. Literally the only supplement on the release is a big one. McBride’s recent book How Did Lubitsch Do It? is an important text regarding the filmmaker and his knowledge runs deep and broad. This is an engaging and insightful commentary that only develops one’s appreciation for the film and the departure it truly is for the auteur.

1. Me And You And Everyone We Know (The Criterion Collection)

The most exciting addition to shelves in April was one of the more long awaited Criterion releases in some time. Long rumored given its relationship to IFC Films, Criterion has released Me And You And Everyone We Know, the Miranda July-directed masterpiece from 2005. A singular vision from a singular artist, Me And You is a collection of stories, starring John Hawkes and Miranda July among others, ruminating in often surreal and absurdist ways about love and human connection in an increasingly cold and isolating world. Absolutely one of the more polarizing additions to the collection in some time, the film is not so much an acquired taste as simply an esoteric and one of a kind film that, through it’s transgressive absurdism, pushes boundaries both narratively and stylistically that makes recommending this as a blind buy difficult. However, there are few films quite as potent in their exploration of human intimacy, and there’s an underlying humanity and tenderness that makes the otherworldly narrative leaps much more effective and emotionally moving.

Notable Supplement: Four films from July’s Joanie 4 Jackie chain letter, and a documentary about the project. Just one of the most fascinating supplements in some time. The shorts here are absolutely engrossing works all on their own, but in contextualizing one of the more interesting aspects of July’s career, this supplement does incredible work adding depth to an artist’s career that, at least superficially, could be seen as little more than glossy surrealism. She’s a deeply important artist and feminist activist, and these works, in all their bedroom pop-like DIY aesthetic, are essential watches.

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Joshua Reviews Li Cheng’s José [Theatrical Review] https://criterioncast.com/news/joshua-reviews-li-chengs-jose-theatrical-review Fri, 31 Jan 2020 20:00:45 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63253

As the film world awaits the winners of the first major awards from the 2020 film festival circuit as they come out of Park City, Utah, one of 2019’s most undervalued film festival darling is making its debut in limited release beginning on January 31.

Winner of the 2018 (I know, when you’re talking about indie features it may take a year or two to finally come back around) Queer Lion from the Venice International Film Festival, José is the second feature from director Li Cheng, and introduces viewers to a young many by the name of José (Enrique Salanic). Living at home with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota), José tries to help make ends meet by working at a local restaurant near their home in Guatemala City, while his mother does the same slinging sandwiches to those getting on and off buses.

On the brink of adulthood, José (just 19 years old) spends most of his off time trying to make connections outside of his home, making his way through a conservative, religious country as an out, young gay man by hooking up on phone applications and through underground sex hubs. Things change, however, when he encounters Luis (Manolo Herrera), a Carribean migrant whose introduction into José ’s life genuinely upends most of it, leading him to question whether or not there is more out there for him to enjoy and embrace.

A shockingly quiet film, José deals in what would typically be the fodder of studio melodramas, but with the volume turned almost to mute. Li Cheng’s direction is impeccable in its relative silence, with much of the film told by a static camera thrusting viewers into a world that feels almost reminiscent of early neo-realist films, an almost documentary-like eye framing each shot. The few bursts of energy come in the very heights of the narrative, finding the direction open up as José ’s views of his potential outside of this world does equally. It’s an observational film, a verite-style docu-fiction that relies almost entirely on the gestures we make during our day to day goings on to add emotional heft.

It’s this simplicity that breeds some truly profound ideas. With so little genuinely known about its lead, José is an example of specificity of world bringing about universality of themes. Cheng isn’t making a film so much about one man’s experience in a conservitive country, instead using this intimate and beautiful story to more broadly speak to life as a queer person in a country that doesn’t want you to exist. The film genuinely shines when it allows its images to breathe, bursting with emotion in the silence of the performers, three of whom give incredible performances that are relatively muted yet sing when they’re allowed to live in the scene. It’s a film of gestures and subtle glances, and the three leads have incredible chemistry, despite ostensibly being ciphers for entire generations.

Clocking in at 85 minutes, José is a briskly paced, lyrically told rumination on life as a gay youth in a homophobic country, and despite throwing viewers into a world of specific poverty and prejudice, director Li Cheng crafts a muted, thoughtful docu-drama that packs a genuine emotional punch. Driven by beautifully subtle performances, Cheng’s film is a quiet and quietly moving picture that concludes with a genuinely shattering final act.

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Trailer Debuts For Angela Schanelec’s I Was At Home, But… https://criterioncast.com/news/trailer-debuts-for-angela-schanelecs-i-was-at-home-but Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:00:56 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63152

Cinema Guild has dropped a brand new trailer for beloved German filmmaker Angela Schanelec’s latest masterpiece, I Was At Home, But…, one of 2019’s most talked about festival darlings and what is sure to be a major player for the very same “Best Of [Insert Year]” lists that every critic makes at the end of the year.

Here’s the synopsis, from the distributor:

I Was at Home, But… tells the story of Astrid (Maren Eggert), a forty-something mother of two,
struggling to regain her balance in the wake of her husband’s death. Her adolescent son Phillip
(Jakob Lassalle) disappeared for a week and now that he has returned, he faces disciplinary
action at school and his toe requires amputation. As new questions confront Astrid from every
angle, even simple activities like buying a bicycle or engaging with a work of art, are fraught
with unexpected challenges.

In her signature elliptical style and with a gentle sense of humor, Schanelec weaves together
these narrative strands and more—a school production of Hamlet, a pair of teachers deciding
whether to start a family, a donkey and a dog who share a home—to create an indelible picture
of a small community grappling with fundamental questions of existence.

I had the pleasure of seeing the film last fall, and was absolutely floored by it. A master of the craft, Schanelec’s latest (the filmmaker’s eighth feature) is an existentialist masterpiece, a formally frigid rumination on art and motherhood that’s simply impossible to truly compare. Obviously drawing direct influence from Ozu in more than just a titular way (I Was Born, But…), the film is a quiet work that’s oftentimes strangely funny, that finds genuine beauty in the most mundane of things and experiences. I’ll have more to say on the subject as the film debuts in limited release on February 14. Find the new trailer below.

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Wacky New Years Drawing Hints At The Criterion Collection’s 2020 Line-Up https://criterioncast.com/news/wacky-new-years-drawing-hints-at-the-criterion-collections-2020-line-up Wed, 01 Jan 2020 18:00:28 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63076

Our annual New Years present from the Criterion Collection!

As usual, the Criterion Collection New Years Drawing from Jason Polan teases at a number of upcoming releases (announced, rumored, and unknown). I’ll do my best to gather the best guesses in this article, so feel free to comment below.

A huge thanks to the whole Criterion Collection community for all of their help with this post.

Here are links to the various drawings from the past few years

Let’s pick it apart below:


Annotated

 

A. Fallen E = Fellini?

B. One Car = Wong Kar-wai?

C. Box on Yes = Anges Varda?

D. Bruised (Robert E.) Lee = Bruce Lee?

 

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January 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/january-2020-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Fri, 27 Dec 2019 01:17:17 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=63008

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For January, the Channel will feature films from Susan Seidelman, Jafar Panahi, Agnès Jaoui, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial.

Wednesday, January 1

Directed by Susan Seidelman

Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker

In 1980, Susan Seidelman burst onto the scene when her debut feature, Smithereens, became the first American independent film to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. A vividly gritty time capsule of downtown New York’s post-punk underground, the film caught the attention of Hollywood and led to her bigger-budget follow-up, Desperately Seeking Susan, a screwball romp through 1980s bohemian Manhattan starring Madonna. With subsequent works like the black-comic revenge fantasy She-Devil, starring Meryl Streep, and the Nora Ephron–scripted father-daughter mob caper Cookie, Seidelman confirmed her flair for crafting offbeat comedies built around memorably messy, idiosyncratic women.

Features

  • Smithereens, 1982
  • Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985
  • Cookie, 1989
  • She-Devil, 1989

Shorts

  • And You Act Like One Too, 1976
  • Yours Truly, Andrea G. Stern, 1979

Thursday, January 2

From the Archive: Taxi Driver

With a 1986 audio commentary featuring director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader

Scripted by Paul Schrader and directed by Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver is a powerful study of a dangerously fractured psyche, as well as a vividly grimy portrait of New York City in the 1970s. Robert De Niro gives one of his most riveting performances as Travis Bickle, a Vietnam vet turned cabbie whose resentments and messianic delusions drive him to take to up arms in a berserk moral crusade against the corruption he sees all around him. This Criterion edition, only ever released on laserdisc, features an illuminating commentary that Scorsese and Schrader recorded in 1986.

Thursday, January 2

3 Faces

Streaming premiere

Iranian master Jafar Panahi’s fourth feature since he was officially banned from filmmaking is a courageous act of antipatriarchal defiance from an artist who has refused to be silenced. This playful docufiction road movie begins with a smartphone video sent to the director and real-life star actress Behnaz Jafari from a desperate young woman who, distraught at her family’s refusal to let her study drama, seemingly records her own suicide. Traveling to the woman’s rural hometown to investigate, Panahi and Jafari find themselves launched on a slyly comic, quietly revelatory journey that builds in narrative, thematic, and visual intricacy to put forth a grand expression of community and solidarity under the eye of oppression.

Friday, January 3

Double Feature: Preach It!

Elmer Gantry and Wise Blood

Silver-tongued charlatans come bearing hidden motives in these subversive, fire-and-brimstone exposés of religious hypocrisy and chicanery. Richard Brooks’s powerful adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s controversial novel Elmer Gantry stars an Oscar-winning Burt Lancaster, in one of his greatest roles, as an opportunistic evangelist who rises to ignoble heights. Lancaster’s Gantry is the not-too-distant cousin of the heretical preacher played by Brad Dourif in John Huston’s appropriately gonzo take on Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, a startlingly original, tragicomic blend of social commentary and southern-gothic eccentricity.

Saturday, January 4

Saturday Matinee: 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system that is as riveting as it is spare, this iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the dissenting member on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. The result is a saga of epic proportions that plays out over a tense afternoon in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature film debuts. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: The original 1955 teleplay, a production history, archival interviews with Sidney Lumet, and more.

Sunday, January 5

Seventies Sci-Fi

The maverick spirit that defined the New Hollywood of the 1970s resulted in a wave of fascinating, wild, and often way-out-there science-fiction head trips that carried on the radical experimentation of the sixties while paving the way for the blockbuster boom of the eighties. It was during this decade that directors like Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and George Miller pushed the boundaries of the genre with visionary space operas, chilling dystopian freak-outs, and mind-bending speculative thrillers that examined the era’s anxieties about technology, consumerism, overpopulation, and environmental collapse. From genre-defining landmarks like A Clockwork Orange and Mad Max to cult classics like Westworld and Rollerball to unclassifiable oddities like God Told Me To and A Boy and His Dog, this expansive survey offers a deep dive into a uniquely fertile moment when filmmakers gazed towards the future with awe and terror.

  • No Blade of Grass, Cornel Wilde, 1970
  • A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, 1971
  • The Omega Man, Boris Sagal, 1971
  • THX 1138, George Lucas, 1971
  • Z.P.G., Michael Campus, 1972
  • Westworld, Michael Crichton, 1973
  • Soylent Green, Richard Fleischer, 1973
  • Dark Star, John Carpenter, 1974
  • The Terminal Man, Mike Hodges, 1974
  • Rollerball, Norman Jewison, 1975
  • A Boy and His Dog, L. Q. Jones, 1975
  • Death Race 2000, Paul Bartel, 1975
  • Shivers, David Cronenberg, 1975
  • The Ultimate Warrior, Robert Clouse, 1975
  • Logan’s Run, Michael Anderson, 1976
  • God Told Me To, Larry Cohen, 1976
  • Demon Seed, Donald Cammell, 1977
  • Mad Max, George Miller, 1979

Monday, January 6

Sweet Smell of Success: Criterion Collection Edition #555

In the swift, cynical Sweet Smell of Success, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, Burt Lancaster stars as the vicious Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister. Featuring deliciously unsavory dialogue, in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, Sweet Smell of Success is a cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: a 1986 documentary about Alexander Mackendrick, a 1973 documentary about James Wong Howe, a video interview with film critic and historian Neal Gabler, and more.

Tuesday, January 7

Short + Feature: Family Feuds

The Hypnotist and The Little Foxes

“Dysfunctional” doesn’t begin to do justice to the toxic families in these delightfully venomous tales of bitter, backstabbing clans. The Hypnotist, Anna Biller’s witty, sumptuously Sirkian homage to the Technicolor melodramas of the studio era, concerns the machinations of a greedy, grasping brood whose downfall comes with a supernatural twist. Its gallery of ghouls is close kin to the scheming southern family who poison everything they touch in The Little Foxes, William Wyler’s masterful adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s classic play, starring a divinely duplicitous Bette Davis.

Wednesday, January 8

Directed by Agnès Jaoui

In her wry, sharply observed studies of class and social relationships, actor, writer, and director Agnès Jaoui zeroes in on the follies and foibles of the French bourgeoisie and the neuroses, power plays, and quotidian dramas that consume her hopelessly and hilariously self-absorbed characters. Her acclaimed first two features, The Taste of Others and Look at Me—both cowritten with her regular collaborator Jean-Pierre Bacri—are deft, incisive comedies of manners that balance cunning wit with touching empathy.

  • The Taste of Others, 2000
  • Look at Me, 2004

Thursday, January 9

Three by the Dardenne Brothers

Ever since making their mark in the midnineties with La promesse, Belgian masters Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have been a singular force in world cinema, honing their unique style of unembellished, heart-racing humanism in acclaimed slice-of-life dramas like L’enfant and The Kid with a Bike. They excel at the “empathetic action film”: urgent, uncompromisingly realistic tales set on the margins of society that unfold like taut thrillers of the everyday. Each starring their frequent collaborator Jérémie Renier, this trio of masterpieces displays the searing emotional intensity and deeply felt social conscience that have made the pair among the most lauded filmmakers working today.

  • La promesse, 1996
  • L’enfant, 2005
  • The Kid with a Bike, 2011

Friday, January 10

Double Feature: She’s a Femme Fatale

Pandora’s Box and Something Wild

They’re the kind of girls your mother warned you about … The legendary Louise Brooks became the ultimate flapper icon with her magnetic turn in G. W. Pabst’s silent masterpiece Pandora’s Box, in which she plays a man-eating showgirl whose wayward hedonism leaves ruin in its wake. Six decades later, her performance inspired Jonathan Demme’s invigoratingly off-kilter romance Something Wild, with Melanie Griffith as the free-spirited New York scenester sporting a Brooks-esque bob who takes a straitlaced Jeff Daniels on the ride of a lifetime.

Saturday, January 11

Saturday Matinee: Zazie dans le métro

A brash and precocious ten-year-old (Catherine Demongeot) comes to Paris for a whirlwind weekend with her rakish uncle (Philippe Noiret); he and the viewer get more than they bargained for, however, in this anarchic comedy from Louis Malle, which rides roughshod over the City of Light. Based on a popular novel by Raymond Queneau that had been considered unadaptable, Malle’s audacious Zazie dans le métro, made with flair on the cusp of the French New Wave, is a bit of stream-of-consciousness slapstick, wall-to-wall with visual gags, editing tricks, and effects. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Louis Malle, Raymond Queneau, Catherine Demongeot, and more.

Sunday, January 12

Directed by Luis Buñuel

Featuring a 1964 profile of Buñuel from the series Cinéastes de notre temps

One of cinema’s great iconoclasts and mischief makers, Spanish master Luis Buñuel combined surrealist non sequiturs with taboo-shattering attacks on the bourgeoisie, the church, and social hypocrisy to create some of the most incendiary films of the twentieth century. Perpetually on the cutting edge, he began his career as a member of the French surrealists, collaborating with Salvador Dalí on the scandalous avant-garde landmark L’age d’or. After being exiled from Spain, he worked primarily in Mexico for two decades, a period that culminated with the savage satire The Exterminating Angel. It was upon his return to France in the 1960s that Buñuel entered into the extraordinary final phase of his career, producing a string of internationally acclaimed masterpieces—including Belle de jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and That Obscure Object of Desire—in which his outré, straight-from-the-id imagery and scathing commentaries on class, sex, religion, and conventional morality reached new heights of subversive power.

  • L’age d’or, 1930
  • Robinson Crusoe, 1954
  • Death in the Garden, 1956
  • Viridiana, 1961
  • The Exterminating Angel, 1962
  • Diary of a Chambermaid, 1964
  • Simon of the Desert, 1965
  • Belle de jour, 1967
  • The Milky Way, 1969
  • Tristana, 1970
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972
  • The Phantom of Liberty, 1974
  • That Obscure Object of Desire, 1977

Monday, January 13

Observations on Film Art No. 34: Vampyr—The Genre Film as Experimental Film

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s haunting 1932 masterpiece Vampyr has long occupied a singular place in film history, resting somewhere at the intersection of horror, avant-garde cinema, and waking nightmare. In this episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor David Bordwell explores how Dreyer managed to honor the conventions of horror cinema while at the same time breaking the boundaries of the genre wide open through his experimental use of sound, shadows, and camera movement. In doing so, Dreyer created a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind work of dreamlike dread that paved the way for generations of innovative independent horror films to come.

Tuesday, January 14

Short + Feature: Colt Classics

Seide and The Black Stallion

There’s no better friend than a horse in these two moving coming-of-age films. Elnura Osmonalieva’s 2015 short Seide, set amid the snowy mountain terrain of Kyrgyzstan, centers around a young girl who feels most at home astride her horse. But when her parents move to arrange her marriage and vow to kill the animal as part of a wedding tradition, she faces the prospect of losing her closest companion. In Carroll Ballard’s Oscar-nominated 1979 feature The Black Stallion, an emotionally resonant and visually arresting adaptation of a beloved children’s novel, a wild horse and a young boy form a tight bond while shipwrecked on a deserted island.

Wednesday, January 15

Songs My Brothers Taught Me

The stunning feature debut from Chloé Zhao (The Rider) is a sensitive, lyrical depiction of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation featuring a remarkable cast of nonprofessional indigenous actors from the community. With an eye for moments of everyday wonder, Zhao charts the bond between a preteen girl (Jashaun St. John) and her older brother (John Reddy) who, despite the poverty, alcoholism, and resulting apathy that have ravaged their community, find meaning in their tribe’s rituals and vanishing traditions. The director’s documentary-like approach yields a raw, authentic neorealist portrait graced with gorgeous panoramic cinematography of the Great Plains.

Thursday, January 16

Betty Blue: Criterion Collection Edition #1002

When the easygoing would-be novelist Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) meets the tempestuous Betty (Béatrice Dalle, in a magnetic breakout performance) in a sunbaked French beach town, it’s the beginning of a whirlwind love affair that sees the pair turn their backs on conventional society in favor of the hedonistic pursuit of freedom, adventure, and carnal pleasure. But as the increasingly erratic Betty’s grip on reality begins to falter, Zorg finds himself willing to do things he never expected to protect both her fragile sanity and their tenuous existence together. Adapted from the hit novel 37°2 le matin by Philippe Djian, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s art-house smash—presented here in its extended director’s cut—is a sexy, crazy, careening joyride of a romance that burns with the passion and beyond-reason fervor of all-consuming love. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An hour-long documentary on the film from 2013, a short film by Jean-Jacques Beineix, a 1986 television interview with Beineix and Béatrice Dalle, and more.

Thursday, January 16

A Dog’s Life

Dogs have their day in these tail-wagging tributes to our furry companions, featuring faithful four-legged friends, killer canines, telepathic pooches, and more. From classic tales of animal-human bonds like Charlie Chaplin’s A Dog’s Life and Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D. to outré cult oddities like A Boy and His Dog and Baxter to recent art-house gems like Le quattro volte and Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog, this survey of some of cinema’s very best boys and girls is proof positive that dogs do, in fact, rule.

  • A Dog’s Life, Charles Chaplin, 1918
  • Umberto D., Vittorio De Sica, 1952
  • Good-bye, My Lady, William A. Wellman, 1956
  • A Boy and His Dog, L. Q. Jones, 1975
  • Baxter, Jérôme Boivin, 1989
  • Le quattro volte, Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010
  • Heart of a Dog, Laurie Anderson, 2015

Friday, January 17

Double Feature: Poison Pens

The Letter and Le Corbeau

Reader beware the diabolical letters at the center of this double bill of epistolary noirs. Based on a play by W. Somerset Maugham, William Wyler’s ravishing tropical melodrama The Letter is a scintillating showcase for star Bette Davis, who delivers a bravura, Oscar-nominated performance as a femme fatale who will stop at nothing to retrieve a letter that incriminates her in a murder. It’s paired with Henri-Georges Clouzot’s dark, controversial drama Le Corbeau—condemned upon its release for its subversive political implications but later reclaimed as a masterpiece—in which a string of anonymous, accusatory letters sow tension and mistrust throughout a French village.

Saturday, January 18

Starring Danny Kaye

A beloved, one-of-a-kind entertainer who honed his animated, rapid-fire performance style on the Borscht Belt circuit, Brooklyn-born comedian, actor, dancer, and singer Danny Kaye lit up the screen with his exuberant charm and inventive wit. A natural clown with a knack for pantomime, mimicry, and tongue-twisting patter, he wowed audiences in rollicking vehicles like Wonder Man, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and The Court Jester, frequently playing opposite himself in multiple roles. Perfect for the whole family, this selection of classic Kaye is a riotous testament to a true original whose talent continues to dazzle and delight.

  • Up in Arms, Elliott Nugent, 1944
  • Wonder Man, H. Bruce Humberstone, 1945
  • The Kid from Brooklyn, Norman Z. McLeod, 1946
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Norman Z. McLeod, 1947
  • A Song Is Born, Howard Hawks, 1948
  • Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Vidor, 1952
  • The Court Jester, Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, 1956

Saturday, January 18

Saturday Matinee: The Court Jester

Classic Hollywood’s clown prince Danny Kaye received one of his finest showcases with this rollicking adventure comedy, in which he plays a carnival performer in medieval England who goes undercover as a court jester to infiltrate the royal castle and help restore the rightful king to the throne. A frenetic spoof of the Errol Flynn–style swashbuckler, this raucous Technicolor romp features some of Kaye’s most brilliantly inventive routines, including his classic tongue twister “the pellet with the poison.”

Sunday, January 19

Starring Burt Lancaster

Capable of projecting both powerful physicality and gentle sensitivity, Burt Lancaster brought his megawatt star power to a wide array of unforgettable roles, embodying heroes, villains, and morally complex everymen with an innate dignity and gravitas. Beginning his career as a circus acrobat—training that he would put to use in many of his performances—Lancaster didn’t break into films until his thirties, but his undeniable magnetism made him an instant star. Throughout his five-decade career, he established himself as a performer of remarkable versatility, equally convincing as a romantic leading man in the acclaimed World War II drama From Here to Eternity, a ruthless gossip columnist in the acid-tongued noir Sweet Smell of Success, and a charlatan preacher in the subversive Sinclair Lewis adaptation Elmer Gantry, for which he won the Academy Award for best actor. Moving between Hollywood blockbusters and independent passion projects—many made through his own production company—Lancaster left behind an extraordinary body of work that reflects his penchant for risk-taking roles and outspoken commitment to progressive social causes.

  • Brute Force, Jules Dassin, 1947
  • I Walk Alone, Byron Haskin, 1947
  • Sorry, Wrong Number, Anatole Litvak, 1948
  • Come Back, Little Sheba, Daniel Mann, 1952
  • From Here to Eternity, Fred Zinnemann, 1953
  • The Rose Tattoo, Daniel Mann, 1955
  • The Rainmaker, Joseph Anthony, 1956
  • Sweet Smell of Success, Alexander Mackendrick, 1957
  • Separate Tables, Delbert Mann, 1958
  • Elmer Gantry, Richard Brooks, 1960
  • Birdman of Alcatraz, John Frankenheimer, 1962
  • The Train, John Frankenheimer, 1964
  • Seven Days in May, John Frankenheimer, 1964
  • The Professionals, Richard Brooks, 1966
  • The Swimmer, Frank Perry, 1968
  • Conversation Piece, Luchino Visconti, 1974
  • Atlantic City, Louis Malle, 1980
  • Local Hero, Bill Forsyth, 1983

Monday, January 20

Creative Marriages

Celebrating Federico Fellini’s 100th birthday!

Cinema’s great husband-and-wife carnival act, Italian maestro Federico Fellini and actress Giulietta Masina gave birth to a new form of filmic expression that blended earthy realism with extravagant flights of surrealist fancy. This double bill—two of the ten Fellini films that are available to stream on the Criterion Channel—captures the style that would come to be known as “Felliniesque” at its poetic roots in their international breakout La strada and at its colorful, kaleidoscopic extreme in the Freudian riot Juliet of the Spirits. Critic Michael Sragow explores the way that these twin masterworks document the evolving creative and personal relationship between two indispensable artists whose legacies are forever entwined.

  • La strada, Federico Fellini, 1954
  • Juliet of the Spirits, Federico Fellini, 1965

Tuesday, January 21

Short + Feature: Guilty Pleasures

Good Intentions and Death of a Cyclist

Hit-and-run accidents set off shockwaves of guilt, paranoia, and recrimination in this gripping, psychologically charged pairing. Anna Mantzaris’s stingingly ironic stop-motion short Good Intentions bristles with expressionistic unease as it evokes the torment that consumes a woman following a car crash. An adulterous couple also face the repercussions of their misdeeds in Death of a Cyclist, a riveting, coolly stylish noir melodrama from Juan Antonio Bardem that doubles as a button-pushing commentary on class and social hypocrisy in Franco’s Spain.

Wednesday, January 22

Directed by Jane Campion

One of contemporary cinema’s most singular and captivating voices, Jane Campion brings a piercing psychological insight and radiantly expressive visual style to her intense, revelatory explorations of female subjectivity and desire. After winning critical acclaim for her first two theatrical features, the dark comedy Sweetie and the luminous artistic coming-of-age drama An Angel at My Table, Campion was vaulted to the front ranks of international auteurs with The Piano, a haunting period romance for which she became the first woman awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes and only the second to be nominated for an Academy Award for best director. Since then, she has continued to fearlessly probe the most intimate dimensions of women’s experiences in ambitious, uncompromising films like the fascinating Henry James adaptation The Portrait of a Lady and the subversive erotic thriller In the Cut, heady, highly personal works that display Campion’s unique ability to bring complex inner worlds to mesmerizing life.

Features

  • Two Friends, 1986
  • Sweetie, 1989
  • An Angel at My Table, 1990
  • The Piano, 1993
  • The Portrait of a Lady, 1996
  • Holy Smoke, 1999
  • In the Cut, 2003

Shorts

  • An Exercise in Discipline: Peel, 1982
  • Passionless Moments, 1983
  • A Girl’s Own Story, 1983

Thursday, January 23

Four Films by Khalik Allah

Featuring a new interview with the filmmaker

The films of visionary street photographer Khalik Allah are dreamlike drifts through the margins of society, gritty and sublime portraits of the disenfranchised and dispossessed that, in their infinite compassion and philosophical insight, achieve an almost spiritual transcendence. Growing out of his acclaimed work as a photographer documenting the lives of homeless addicts in New York, Allah’s impressionistic early shorts Urban Rashomon and Antonyms of Beauty paved the way for his astonishing first feature, Field Niggas, a stunningly raw symphony of Harlem street life that became a sensation on the festival circuit. With his most recent feature, Black Mother, a mesmerizing exploration of the many dimensions of Jamaican society, Allah confirms himself as one of the most vital and original filmmakers working today, an audiovisual alchemist who transforms unvarnished truth into ecstatic poetry.

  • Urban Rashomon, 2013
  • Antonyms of Beauty, 2013
  • Field Niggas, 2014
  • Black Mother, 2018

Thursday, January 23

Panique: Criterion Collection Edition #955

Proud, eccentric, and antisocial, Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon) has always kept to himself. But after a woman turns up dead in the Paris suburb where he lives, he feels drawn to a pretty young newcomer to town (Viviane Romance), discovers that his neighbors are only too ready to suspect the worst of him, and is framed for the murder. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, Julien Duvivier’s first film after his return to France from Hollywood finds the acclaimed poetic realist applying his consummate craft to darker, moodier ends. Propelled by its two deeply nuanced lead performances, the tensely noirish Panique exposes the dangers of the knives-out mob mentality, delivering as well a pointed allegory for the behavior of Duvivier’s countrymen during the war. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A documentary on the history of subtitling; an interview with Pierre Simenon, son of Georges Simenon; and a conversation between critics Guillemette Odicino and Eric Libiot.

Friday, January 24

Double Feature: Jackpot!

Bay of Angels and Atlantic City

From the glamorous south of France to the dilapidated boardwalks of New Jersey, casinos provide the colorful backdrops to these exquisite tales of love and broken dreams from two legendary French filmmakers, each featuring the mesmerizing music of Michel Legrand. Set amid the seaside splendor of Nice, Jacques Demy’s often overlooked second feature Bay of Angels is a visually ravishing saga of love and gambling addiction starring a bewitching Jeanne Moreau. Then, Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon are the lost souls thrown together by chance amid the faded grandeur of the titular resort town in Louis Malle’s achingly bittersweet Atlantic City, one of the finest films of the 1980s.

Saturday, January 25

Saturday Matinee: Great Expectations

One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life. Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella populate Lean’s magnificent miniature, beautifully photographed by Guy Green and designed by John Bryan.

Sunday, January 26

Meet the Filmmakers: Paul Schrader

A titan of the American cinema who emerged from the ranks of the 1970s movie brats with his era-defining screenplay for Taxi Driver, writer-director Paul Schrader has pursued a defiantly singular vision in his provocative explorations of guilt and salvation in a soul-sick world. In this episode of the Criterion Channel’s ongoing Meet the Filmmakers series, director Alex Ross Perry (Her Smell, Listen Up Philip) visits the ever-iconoclastic auteur on the set of his acclaimed latest film, First Reformed, where Schrader reflects on the highs and lows of his legendary career, the challenges and rewards of slow cinema, and his often controversial social-media presence. Expounding on the influences and experiences that led him to First Reformed, Schrader situates his late-period masterpiece within the context of his extensive body of work, a selection of which appears alongside this revealing profile. Previous installments of Meet the Filmmakers have profiled such directors as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Josh and Benny Safdie, and Athina Rachel Tsangari.

  • Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, 1976
  • Hardcore, Paul Schrader 1979
  • American Gigolo, Paul Schrader, 1980*
  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Paul Schrader, 1985
  • Patty Hearst, Paul Schrader, 1988
  • The Comfort of Strangers, Paul Schrader, 1990*
  • Light Sleeper, Paul Schrader, 1992*
  • Auto Focus, Paul Schrader, 2002
  • Adam Resurrected, Paul Schrader, 2008

*Available February 1

Monday, January 27

The Fugitive Kind: Criterion Collection Edition #515

Four Oscar-winning actors—Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward, and Maureen Stapleton—shine in this enthralling film, which also brings together the legendary talents of director Sidney Lumet and writer Tennessee Williams. A smoldering, snakeskin-jacketed Brando is Val Xavier, a drifter trying to go straight. He finds work and solace in a small-town southern variety store run by the married, sexually frustrated Lady Torrance (Magnani), who proves as much a temptation for Val as does local wild child Carol Cutrere (Woodward). Lumet captures the intense, fearless performances and Williams’s hot-blooded storytelling and social critique with his customary restraint, resulting in a drama of uncommon sophistication and craft. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with Sidney Lumet, a television production of three one-act plays by Tennessee Williams, and a program on Williams’s work in Hollywood.

Tuesday, January 28

Short + Feature: Prime Cuts

Carving Magic and Delicatessen

Calling all carnivores: get a crash course in how to slice all those fancy meats—from ham hocks to pot roasts—in Carving Magic, a fantastically ’50s industrial-educational blood feast from future wizard of gore Herschell Gordon Lewis. It makes for an appropriately fleshy appetizer to Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s brilliantly inventive black comedy Delicatessen, in which a butcher in a postapocalyptic dystopia resorts to, ahem, creative measures to stay in business.

Wednesday, January 29

Fat Girl: Criterion Collection Edition #259

Twelve-year-old Anaïs is fat. Her sister, fifteen-year-old Elena, is a beauty. While the girls are on vacation with their parents, Anaïs tags along as Elena explores the dreary seaside town. Elena meets Fernando, an Italian law student; he seduces her with promises of love, and the ever-watchful Anaïs bears witness to the corruption of her sister’s innocence. Fat Girl is not only a portrayal of female adolescent sexuality and the complicated bond between siblings but also a shocking assertion by the always controversial Catherine Breillat that violent oppression exists at the core of male-female relations. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Catherine Breillat.

Thursday, January 30

Until the End of the World: Criterion Collection Edition #1007

Conceived as the ultimate road movie, this decades-in-the-making science-fiction epic from Wim Wenders follows the restless Claire Tourneur (Solveig Dommartin) across continents as she pursues a mysterious stranger (William Hurt) in possession of a device that can make the blind see and bring dream images to waking life. With an eclectic soundtrack that gathers a host of the director’s favorite musicians, along with gorgeous cinematography by Robby Müller, this breathless adventure in the shadow of Armageddon takes its heroes to the ends of the earth and into the oneiric depths of their own souls. Presented here in its triumphant 287-minute director’s cut, Until the End of the World assumes its rightful place as Wenders’ magnum opus, a cosmic ode to the pleasures and perils of the image and a prescient meditation on cinema’s digital future. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A conversation between Wim Wenders and musician David Byrne, a 1991 short film by Uli M Schueppel on the recording of Nick Cave’s contribution to the soundtrack, deleted scenes, and more.

Friday, January 31

Double Feature: One Play, Two Masterpieces

The Lower Depths (Jean Renoir) and The Lower Depths (Akira Kurosawa)

Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa, two of cinema’s greatest directors, transform Maxim Gorky’s classic proletariat play The Lower Depths in their own ways for their own times. Renoir, working alongside the Popular Front in France while Hitler rose in Germany, took license with the dark nature of Gorky’s source material, softening its bleak outlook. Kurosawa, firmly situated in the postwar world, found little reason for hope. He remained faithful to the original, with its focus on the conflict between illusion and reality—a theme he would return to over and over again. Working with their most celebrated actors (Gabin with Renoir; Mifune with Kurosawa), each filmmaker offers a unique look at cinematic adaptation—where social conditions and filmmaking styles converge to create unique masterpieces.

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 3 Faces, Jafar Panahi, 2018
  • Antonyms of Beauty, Khalik Allah, 2013
  • Atlantic City, Louis Malle, 1980
  • Auto Focus, Paul Schrader, 2002**
  • Baxter, Jérôme Boivin, 1989
  • Birdman of Alcatraz, John Frankenheimer, 1962
  • Black Mother, Khalik Allah, 2018
  • A Boy and His Dog, L. Q. Jones, 1975
  • A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, 1971
  • Come Back, Little Sheba, Daniel Mann, 1952**
  • Conversation Piece, Luchino Visconti, 1974
  • Cookie, Susan Seidelman, 1989
  • The Court Jester, Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, 1956
  • Dark Star, John Carpenter, 1974
  • Death in the Garden, Luis Buñuel, 1956
  • Death Race 2000, Paul Bartel, 1975
  • Demon Seed, Donald Cammell, 1977
  • Desperately Seeking Susan, Susan Seidelman, 1985
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise, Luis Buñuel, 1972
  • Elmer Gantry, Richard Brooks, 1960
  • Field Niggas, Khalik Allah, 2015
  • From Here to Eternity, Fred Zinnemann, 1953
  • God Told Me To, Larry Cohen, 1976
  • Good Intentions, Anna Mantzaris, 2018
  • Good-bye, My Lady, William A. Wellman, 1956
  • Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Vidor, 1952
  • Hardcore, Paul Schrader, 1979
  • Holy Smoke, Jane Campion, 1999
  • I Walk Alone, Byron Haskin, 1947
  • In the Cut, Jane Campion, 2003
  • The Kid from Brooklyn, Norman Z. McLeod, 1946
  • L’age d’or, Luis Buñuel, 1930
  • L’enfant, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, 2005
  • Le Corbeau, Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1943
  • Le quattro volte, Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010
  • Local Hero, Bill Forsyth, 1983
  • Logan’s Run, Michael Anderson, 1976
  • Look at Me, Agnès Jaoui, 2004**
  • Mad Max, George Miller, 1979
  • The Milky Way, Luis Buñuel, 1969
  • No Blade of Grass, Cornel Wilde, 1970
  • The Omega Man, Boris Sagal, 1971
  • Panique, Julien Duvivier, 1946
  • Patty Hearst, Paul Schrader, 1988
  • The Phantom of Liberty, Luis Buñuel, 1974
  • The Piano, Jane Campion, 1993
  • The Portrait of a Lady, Jane Campion, 1996
  • The Professionals, Richard Brooks, 1966
  • The Rainmaker, Joseph Anthony, 1956
  • Resurrecting Adam, Paul Schrader, 2008
  • Rollerball, Norman Jewison, 1975
  • The Rose Tattoo, Daniel Mann, 1955**
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Norman Z. McLeod, 1947
  • Separate Tables, Delbert Mann, 1958
  • Seven Days in May, John Frankenheimer, 1964
  • She-Devil, Susan Seidelman, 1989
  • Shivers, David Cronenberg, 1975
  • A Song Is Born, Howard Hawks, 1948
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Chloé Zhao, 2015
  • Sorry, Wrong Number, Anatole Litvak, 1948
  • Soylent Green, Richard Fleischer, 1973
  • Sweet Smell of Success, Alexander Mackendrick ,1957
  • The Swimmer, Frank Perry, 1968
  • The Taste of Others, Agnès Jaoui, 2000
  • Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, 1976
  • The Terminal Man, Mike Hodges, 1974
  • That Obscure Object of Desire, Luis Buñuel, 1977
  • The Train, John Frankenheimer, 1964
  • THX 1138, George Lucas, 1971
  • Tristana, Luis Buñuel, 1970
  • Two Friends, Jane Campion, 1986
  • The Ultimate Warrior, Robert Clouse, 1975
  • Until the End of the World, Wim Wenders, 1991
  • Up In Arms, Elliott Nugent, 1944
  • Urban Rashomon, Khalik Allah, 2013
  • Westworld, Michael Crichton, 1973
  • Wonder Man, H. Bruce Humberstone, 1945
  • Z.P.G., Michael Campus, 1972**

**Available in the U.S. only

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Criterion Channel Surfing Joins Our Podcast Network! https://criterioncast.com/news/criterion-channel-surfing-joins-our-podcast-network Mon, 16 Dec 2019 07:05:20 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=62897

Last week, Aaron West and our friends at the 25th Frame announced that they were bringing the network to an end this month. The network was a real source of inspiration for many of us in the niche home video podcast universe, and it was always a real joy to see how many episodes they were producing each week. Podcasting is harder than it looks, and organizing a network more so.

There was quite a lot of discussion, behind the scenes, regarding how we at the CriterionCast could help all of the podcasters on their journey to new homes. This past October, Josh Hornbeck premiered his new series at the 25th Frame: Criterion Channel Surfing. The high level of preparation, production, and editing that Josh invests in the show is immediately apparent, and inspirational.

We’ve spent the past ten years talking about the Criterion Collection mostly as a company that produces physical discs, and now that they’ve built this digital platform, it’s time that we have a show dedicated to the Criterion Channel on our site. We’ve obviously talked about streaming in almost every episode of the podcast since day one, but what Josh is doing with Criterion Channel Surfing is unique and we are honored that he has agreed to join our site.

We’ll begin hosting the episodeshosting the episodes that were previously released on the 25th Frame, and they’ll be included in our main feed for those who subscribe to everything.

Follow Josh’s Twitter account for Criterion Channel Surfing, like his page over on Facebook, and you can support him directly on Patreon.

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The November 2019 Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion Collection Sale Has Begun! https://criterioncast.com/news/november-2019-barnes-noble-criterion-collection-sale Fri, 01 Nov 2019 06:29:46 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=62430
For the past several years, Barnes & Noble holds a bi-annual 50% off sale on the Criterion Collection, each July and November. The sale begins today online and will end on December 1st.

Many of you will be heading out to your local stores to closely inspect the packaging, to avoid any dents in those gorgeous digipaks. Everyone else will be ordering online, thus avoiding contact with the insanity that is shopping during the holidays.

Below you’ll find covers to the most recent Criterion Collection Blu-ray releases, with links taking you to their corresponding pages on Barnes & Noble’s website.

What are you picking up this time around? Head over to our Facebook page, or Subreddit, and share your haul shots!

These are affiliate links, and when you purchase through our links, you are helping our site. I really appreciate it.


November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

January – July

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November 2019 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/november-2019-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Sun, 27 Oct 2019 04:30:59 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=62353

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For November, the Channel will feature films from Peter Greenaway, Alice Rohrwacher, Hu Bo, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial.

Friday, November 1

The Mustache Club

Get a load of that ’stache! Whether you’re swearing off shaving for Movember, rock a bushy upper lip year round, or are just an appreciator of fine facial hair, you’re invited to bask in the glory of some of the biggest, glossiest, and most impressive mustaches ever to grace the screen. From the scene-stealing walrus whiskers sported by Roger Livesey in Powell and Pressburger’s Technicolor masterpiece The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to the drawn-on curlicue worn by honorary club member Jeanne Moreau in François Truffaut’s New Wave classic Jules and Jim to the broom-sweeper adorning the face of Bruno Ganz in Wim Wenders’ thriller The American Friend, these hirsute appendages are true follicles de grandeur.

  • The Thief of Bagdad, Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, and Tim Whelan, 1940
  • The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin, 1940
  • 49th Parallel, Michael Powell, 1941
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1943
  • Jules and Jim, François Truffaut, 1962
  • High and Low, Akira Kurosawa, 1963
  • Capricious Summer, Jiří Menzel, 1968
  • The American Friend, Wim Wenders, 1977

Friday, November 1

They Live By Night: Criterion Collection Edition #880

Legendary director Nicholas Ray began his career with this lyrical film noir, the first in a series of existential genre films overflowing with sympathy for America’s outcasts and underdogs. When the wide-eyed fugitive Bowie (Farley Granger), having broken out of prison with some bank robbers, meets the innocent Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell), each recognizes something in the other that no one else ever has. The young lovers envision a new, decent life together, but as they flee the cops and contend with Bowie’s fellow outlaws, who aren’t about to let him go straight, they realize there’s nowhere left to run. Ray brought an outsider’s sensibility honed in the theater to this debut, using revolutionary camera techniques and naturalistic performances to craft a profoundly romantic crime drama that paved the way for decades of lovers-on-the-run thrillers to come. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary featuring Farley Granger and film historian Eddie Muller, an interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith, and more.

Friday, November 1

Double Feature: Love Me Do

A Hard Day’s Night and The Hours and Times

In 1964, the Beatles launched a pop-culture revolution with their exuberantly freewheeling film debut, A Hard Day’s Night, a pure-pleasure explosion of swinging-sixties cool, avant-garde invention, and slapstick irreverence. Three decades later, the legend of the Fab Four continues to loom large in Christopher Munch’s 1991 New Queer Cinema milestone The Hours and Times, which imagines an encounter between John Lennon and the band’s visionary manager Brian Epstein during a lost weekend in Spain.

Saturday, November 2

Saturday Matinee: Kes

Featuring an introduction by Bill Hader

Named one of the ten best British films of the century by the British Film Institute, Ken Loach’s Kes is cinema’s quintessential portrait of working-class Northern England. Billy (an astonishingly naturalistic David Bradley) is a fifteen-year-old miner’s son whose close bond with a wild kestrel provides him with a spiritual escape from his dead-end life. Kes brought to the big screen the sociopolitical engagement Loach had established in his work for the BBC, and pushed the British “angry young man” film of the sixties into a new realm of authenticity, using real locations and nonprofessional actors. Loach’s poignant coming-of-age drama remains the now legendary director’s most beloved and influential film. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A documentary on the making of the film, a 1993 profile of Ken Loach, and Loach’s early television feature Cathy Come Home.

Sunday, November 3

MGM Musicals from the Golden Age

In the heyday of the classic Hollywood musical, one studio reigned supreme: MGM, the dream factory from which emanated gloriously tune-filled enchantments bigger than life, exploding in blazing Technicolor, marvels of craftsmanship and razzle-dazzle entertainment that have never been surpassed in their ingenuity and sheer exuberance. The roster of legendary names say it all, with innovative filmmakers like Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, and Busby Berkeley directing stars like Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Debbie Reynolds, Lena Horne, and Leslie Caron in many of their most iconic performances. From Garland breaking hearts while warbling “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis to Kelly and Sinatra zigzagging across “New York, New York” in On the Town to Astaire tapping up a storm in The Band Wagon, these beloved classics are filled to the brim with some of the most indelible moments of movie magic ever committed to celluloid.

  • Broadway Melody of 1940, Norman Taurog, 1940
  • For Me and My Gal, Busby Berkeley, 1942
  • Cabin in the Sky, Vincente Minnelli, 1943
  • Meet Me in St. Louis, Vincente Minnelli, 1944
  • The Harvey Girls, George Sidney, 1946
  • Easter Parade, Charles Walters, 1948
  • The Pirate, Vincente Minnelli, 1948
  • On the Town, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1949
  • In the Good Old Summertime, Robert Z. Leonard, 1949
  • The Barkleys of Broadway, Charles Walters, 1949
  • Summer Stock, Charles Walters, 1950
  • An American in Paris, Vincente Minnelli, 1951
  • The Band Wagon, Vincente Minnelli, 1953
  • Give a Girl a Break, Stanley Donen, 1953
  • I Love Melvin, Don Weis, 1953
  • Lili, Charles Walters, 1953
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Stanley Donen, 1954
  • Brigadoon, Vincente Minnelli, 1954
  • It’s Always Fair Weather, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1955
  • That’s Entertainment!, Jack Haley Jr., 1974

Sunday, November 3

Starring Judy Garland

Both a powerhouse, once-in-a-generation vocalist and an actor of tremulous emotional sensitivity, Judy Garland set the standard for what it means to be a true all-around entertainer. A born-in-a-trunk show-business lifer, she grew up before the eyes of America in the string of showstopping musicals she made at MGM, the studio she called home for much of her career. Built around her supernova talents, these high-water marks of feel-good entertainment capture Garland at her legendary peak: swooning to the strains of “The Trolley Song” in Meet Me in St. Louis; clowning around with Fred Astaire as “A Couple of Swells” in Easter Parade; and lighting up the screen with her iconic rendition of “Get Happy” in Summer Stock, her final film at the studio. Made all the more poignant by the reality of Garland’s often-tragic personal life, these flights of fantasy are enduring testaments to the brilliance of a performer who never gave less than her dazzling all.

  • For Me and My Gal, Busby Berkeley, 1942
  • Meet Me in St. Louis, Vincente Minnelli, 1944
  • The Harvey Girls, George Sidney, 1946
  • The Pirate, Vincente Minnelli, 1948
  • Easter Parade, Charles Walters, 1948
  • In the Good Old Summertime, Robert Z. Leonard, 1949
  • Summer Stock, Charles Walters, 1950

Monday, November 4

12 Angry Men: Criterion Collection Edition #591

12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system that is as riveting as it is spare, this iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the dissenting member on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. The result is a saga of epic proportions that plays out over a tense afternoon in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature-film debuts. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: The original 1955 teleplay, a production history, archival interviews with Sidney Lumet, and more.

Tuesday, November 5

Short + Feature: Last Call

El doctor by Suzan Pitt and Under the Volcano by John Huston

Images of wonder and terror swirl beneath the Mexican sun in these delirious, alcohol-fueled fever dreams. Suzan Pitt’s wildly surreal animated short El doctor is an alternately morbid and miraculous magical-realist tour through a boozehound Mexican doctor’s last moments on earth, featuring a gargoyle spirit guide, a human flower garden, and an equine seduction. It’s paired with another hallucinatory tale of chronic inebriation south of the border, John Huston’s masterful adaptation of Malcolm Lowry’s novel Under the Volcano, built around a towering performance from Albert Finney as a mezcal-swilling ex-diplomat drinking himself into oblivion on the Day of the Dead.

Wednesday, November 6

The Arbor

One of the most formally inventive, fascinating, and radical films in recent memory, Clio Barnard’s electrifying debut feature combines documentary, performance, and fiction as actors lip sync to recorded interviews to tell the harrowing life story of Andrea Dunbar, the brilliant but deeply troubled British playwright who won acclaim for works like “The Arbor” and “Rita, Sue and Bob Too.” Tracing her dark upbringing in the notorious Buttershaw estate in Bradford, her turbulent relationship with her family, and her tragic death at the age of twenty-nine, The Arbor is both a thrillingly innovative work of creative nonfiction and a deeply affecting account of a brief but remarkable life.

Thursday, November 7

Three Jacks

No actor defined the restless, countercultural spirit of the New Hollywood of the 1970s more completely than Jack Nicholson, whose roguish attitude and explosive yet nuanced performances made him the perfect star for an era when American filmmakers were breaking boundaries in pursuit of uncompromising personal expression. Nicholson began the decade with his iconic turn in Bob Rafelson’s existential road-movie classic Five Easy Pieces, turning a testy, diner-set exchange about toast into an instant pop-culture touchstone and receiving the first of his many Oscar nominations. He went on to dominate the rest of the seventies with a string of virtuoso performances, including his turns as a melancholic radio DJ in the haunting broken-dreams drama The King of Marvin Gardens and as a foul-mouthed sailor in Hal Ashby’s uproariously rude and crude buddy comedy The Last Detail.

  • Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson, 1970
  • The King of Marvin Gardens, Bob Rafelson, 1972
  • The Last Detail, Hal Ashby, 1973

Friday, November 8

Double Feature: Between Us Girls

The Young Girls of Rochefort and Persepolis

The family dynamics between women—loving, supportive, complicated, strained, stifling, and everything in between—are at the core of these wondrously imaginative explorations of intergenerational bonds featuring two grandes dames of French cinema. In Jacques Demy’s pastel dream musical The Young Girls of Rochefort, the legendary Danielle Darrieux plays the mother of real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac, starry-eyed twins who inject a bit of joie de vivre into their sleepy seaside town. Both Deneuve and Darrieux lend their voice talents to Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed animated feature Persepolis—this time as the mother and grandmother, respectively, of a young Iranian woman growing up amid turbulent societal change.

Saturday, November 9

Saturday Matinee: Elephant Boy

Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda shared best director honors at the Venice Film Festival for this charming translation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book story “Toomai of the Elephants.” A harmonious mix of its two filmmakers’ styles—Flaherty’s adeptness at ethnographic documentary meeting Korda’s taste for grand adventure—Elephant Boy also served as the breakthrough showcase for the thirteen-year-old Sabu, whose beaming performance as a young mahout leading the British on an expedition made him a major international star.

Sunday, November 10

Caught on Tape

Trust no one in these anxiety-inducing tales of surveillance, wiretapping, and paranoia run amok. While New Hollywood auteurs like Francis Ford Coppola, Alan J. Pakula, and Brian De Palma channeled Watergate-era unease into nerve-twisting thrillers like The Conversation, Klute, and Blow Out, European filmmakers have used the theme of surveillance to explore complex webs of human connection, as seen in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s acclaimed final film Three Colors: Red, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s ultra-stylish art-house smash Diva, and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Oscar-winning espionage drama The Lives of Others.

  • A Face in the Crowd, Elia Kazan, 1957
  • Klute, Alan J. Pakula, 1971
  • The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola, 1974
  • Blow Out, Brian De Palma, 1981
  • Diva, Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981
  • Three Colors: Red, Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1994
  • Caché, Michael Haneke, 2005
  • The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006

Monday, November 11

The 400 Blows: Criterion Collection Edition #5

With a new documentary by Daniel Raim featuring François Truffaut’s daughter Laura Truffaut, made to celebrate the film’s sixtieth anniversary

François Truffaut’s first feature is also his most personal. Told from the point of view of Truffaut’s cinematic counterpart, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), The 400 Blows sensitively recreates the trials of Truffaut’s own childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, and petty crime. The film marked Truffaut’s passage from leading critic to trailblazing auteur of the French New Wave. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Two audio commentaries, audition footage, archival interviews with François Truffaut, and more.

Tuesday, November 12

Short + Feature: Listen Up

Death of the Sound Man and Blow Out

Let’s hear it for the Foley artists—these underappreciated technicians take center stage in two slyly self-reflexive studies in sound. In his wittily incisive short Death of the Sound Man, Thai filmmaker Sorayos Prapapan offers a wry commentary on both his country’s politics and its film industry via a portrait of two increasingly disillusioned sound technicians. The film contains more than one playful nod to Brian De Palma’s dazzlingly stylized neonoir Blow Out, starring John Travolta as a sound recordist working on a horror film who inadvertently records a political assassination.

Wednesday, November 13

7 Films by Suzan Pitt

Featuring Suzan Pitt: Persistence of Vision, a 2006 documentary by Blue and Laura Kraning

Enter the wild and wondrous world of the late Suzan Pitt, an independent animation visionary whose oneiric psychosexual odysseys are direct channels to her dreams, nightmares, fantasies, and inner desires. Straining a diverse array of influences—from Leonora Carrington to Betty Boop to magical realism—through her subconscious, Pitt became an underground-animation legend with her DIY landmark Asparagus, a kaleidoscopic vegetal fantasia that blew minds when it toured the midnight-movie circuit on a double bill with David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Embedding deeply personal explorations of issues like mental illness (Joy Street) and mortality (El doctor) within whorls of biomorphic, Jungian imagery, Pitt’s films are triumphs of surrealist imagination from an artist who brought her unconscious to florid, flickering life.

  • Crocus, 1971
  • Jefferson Circus Songs, 1973
  • Asparagus, 1979
  • Joy Street, 1995
  • El doctor, 2006
  • Visitation, 2011
  • Pinball, 2013

Thursday, November 14

Directed by Peter Greenaway

Featuring a 2016 documentary portrait of Greenaway produced by FilmStruck

Endlessly fascinated by the baroque, the bizarre, and the esoteric, the uncompromisingly personal films of British iconoclast Peter Greenaway unfold like maddeningly intricate cabinets of curiosities. After fine-tuning his singular sensibility in a string of avant-garde shorts, Greenaway realized his idiosyncratic vision on an epic scale with his feature debut, The Falls, an apocalyptic faux documentary that established his penchant for arcane taxonomies and playful structuralist experimentation. He went on to achieve increasing critical and, at times, mainstream recognition with boldly unconventional works like the scabrous period mystery The Draughtsman’s Contract, the perversely zoological dark comedy A Zed & Two Noughts, and the brilliantly provocative erotic feast The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. Witty, outrageous, sumptuous, shocking, and unapologetically intellectual, Greenaway’s films are richly realized worlds unto themselves, intricately constructed by an auteur unafraid to indulge his most private obsessions.

  • Intervals, 1973
  • Windows, 1974
  • Dear Phone, 1976
  • H Is for House, 1976
  • A Walk Through H, 1978
  • Water Wrackets, 1978
  • Vertical Features Remake, 1978
  • The Falls, 1980
  • The Draughtsman’s Contract, 1982
  • A Zed & Two Noughts, 1985
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, 1989
  • Prospero’s Books, 1991
  • The Pillow Book, 1996

Friday, November 15

Double Feature: Jamdown Style

The Harder They Come and No Place Like Home

In 1972, Perry Henzell put Jamaican cinema on the map with his landmark cult classic The Harder They Come, a Robin Hood–esque crime fable starring legendary musician Jimmy Cliff that went on to become a phenomenon in its home country. Henzell’s long-lost sophomore feature, No Place Like Home, was shelved for three decades before finally emerging in 2005, offering a vital snapshot of rural Jamaica in the 1970s (as well as a glimpse of a pre-superstardom Grace Jones). Both films pulse with vibrant sights, sounds, and energy—as well as the intoxicating rhythms of their killer reggae, ska, and pop soundtracks.

Saturday, November 16

Saturday Matinee: My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog tells the story of Ingemar, a twelve-year-old from a working-class family sent to live with his uncle in a country village when his mother falls ill. There, with the help of the warmhearted eccentrics who populate the town, the boy finds both refuge from his misfortunes and unexpected adventure. Featuring an incredibly mature and unaffected performance by the young Anton Glanzelius, this film is a beloved and bittersweet evocation of the struggles and joys of childhood from Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallström. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An early short feature by Lasse Hallström and an interview with the director.

Sunday, November 17

Queersighted: The Ache of Desire

Featuring a conversation between critics Michael Koresky and Melissa Anderson

Queer cinema has existed nearly as long as the movies themselves. You just have to know where to look for it. This new series brings attention to film history through a distinctly queer lens. Rather than provide a history of films featuring lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual characters and themes, Queersighted draws out the presence of a non-heteronormative, non-gender-binary cinema that has always existed alongside, parallel, or underneath the status quo. For most of cinema’s century-plus of existence, queer viewers have had to find their reflections in the corners and crevices of film history. Presenting films from around the world, from a diverse selection of filmmakers, this series reckons with that reality, allowing viewers to both see well-known movies in a new light and to discover new films that have been obscured by film history. This first installment, The Ache of Desire, presents a range of movies about that longing feeling that is so specific to the queer experience and to queer cinema itself, alongside a conversation between the series’s programmer, Michael Koresky, author of Film Comment’s Queer & Now & Then column, and film critic and editor Melissa Anderson.

  • Persona, Ingmar Bergman, 1966
  • Les rendez-vou d’Anna, Chantal Akerman, 1978
  • Yentl, Barbara Streisand, 1983
  • Desert Hearts, Donna Deitch, 1985
  • Happy Together, Wong Kar-wai, 1997
  • Mulholland Dr., David Lynch, 2001
  • I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, Tsai Ming-Liang, 2006
  • Raging Sun, Raging Sky, Julián Hernández, 2009
  • Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiradie, 2013

Monday, November 18

An Elephant Sitting Still

Exclusive streaming premiere, featuring a new introduction by critic and programmer Aliza Ma and Hu Bo’s 2017 short film Man in the Well

One of the most acclaimed feature debuts of the last decade, the first and, tragically, last film from Hu Bo, who took his own life at the age of twenty-nine, is a tour de force of existential fury and transcendent catharsis. Set under the gray skies of China’s industrial north, AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL traces the intertwining lives of a band of dispossessed souls who come together on a pilgrimage toward a city in Manchuria where a circus elephant is rumored to be sitting still, seemingly oblivious to the pain and tribulations of the world at large. Composed in a series of bravura tracking shots, this profoundly felt epic gathers an overwhelming emotional power as it moves toward its soul-shattering climax.

Tuesday, November 19

Short + Feature: Table Manners

Next Floor and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Best not to eat before digging into these gut-busting banquets of grotesque gastronomy that double as subversive explorations of excess, corruption, gluttony, and greed. Your first course is Denis Villeneuve’s enigmatic short Next Floor, a darkly absurdist blend of culinary horrors and eat-the-rich class commentary. It’s the perfect appetizer before the full-course horror show that is Peter Greenaway’s audacious masterpiece The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, in which sex, food, and violence mingle to simultaneously sumptuous and stomach-churning effect.

Wednesday, November 20

Directed by Alice Rohrwacher

Italian director Alice Rohrwacher established herself as one of contemporary cinema’s most sensitive and perceptive auteurs with her first two features, luminous coming-of-age tales imbued with rich humanist and spiritual dimensions. Her feature debut, Corpo celeste, is a remarkably clear-eyed portrait of a young woman grappling with the contradictions of organized religion, while her follow-up, The Wonders, channels her own experiences growing up in the Italian countryside into a warm, naturalistic pastoral. Blending elements of neorealism and folklore with a contemporary feminist worldview, these tender evocations of adolescent awakening are marvels of quiet, unassuming grace.

  • Corpo celeste, 2011
  • The Wonders, 2014

Thursday, November 21

The Koker Trilogy: Criterion Collection Edition #990/991/992

Abbas Kiarostami first came to international attention for this wondrous, slyly self-referential series of films set in the rural northern-Iranian town of Koker. Poised delicately between fiction and documentary, comedy and tragedy, the lyrical fables in The Koker Trilogy exemplify both the gentle humanism and the playful sleight of hand that define the director’s sensibility. With each successive film, Kiarostami takes us deeper into the behind-the-scenes “reality” of the film that preceded it, heightening our understanding of the complex network of human relationships that sustain both a movie set and a village. The result is a gradual outward zoom that reveals the cosmic majesty and mystery of ordinary life. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Abbas Kiarostami’s feature-length documentary Homework, a 1994 profile of the director, an interview with scholar Hamid Naficy, and more.

Friday, November 22

Double Feature: As Triers Go By

Reprise and Oslo, August 31st

Shape-shifting Norwegian auteur Joachim Trier burst onto the scene with these compassionate, richly psychological character studies, the first two films in his planned “Oslo Trilogy” (the last installment of which is currently in production). Bristling with nervy energy, his feature debut, Reprise, shows off his dazzling stylistic command as it traces the evolving friendship between two aspiring writers whose lives are rocked by romantic, professional, and emotional turmoil. Trier takes a movingly restrained approach in his sophomore feature Oslo, August 31st, a harrowing, intimate immersion in the life of a recovering drug addict teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Saturday, November 23

Saturday Matinee: Meet Me in St. Louis

This glowingly nostalgic slice of turn-of-the-century Americana follows the daughters of the Smith family of St. Louis—including Esther (Judy Garland), Rose (Lucille Bremer), and Tootie (Margaret O’Brien)—over the course of one year as they experience love, celebrate the holidays, deal with the fallout of their father’s decision to move the family to New York, and eagerly anticipate the coming 1904 World’s Fair. Vincente Minnelli’s gorgeous period production design and the indelible musical set pieces—including Garland’s renditions of the rousing “The Trolley Song” and the achingly bittersweet “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”—have made this beloved classic a perennial holiday favorite.

Sunday, November 24

Karyn Kusama’s Adventures in Moviegoing

The slyly subversive films of Karyn Kusama breathe fresh life into well-tread genres ranging from the sports drama (Girlfight) to teen horror (Jennifer’s Body) to the detective thriller (Destroyer) through their daring tonal shifts and complex depictions of strong, fully realized women. In this episode of Adventures in Moviegoing, Kusama sits down with presenter and critic Alicia Malone to discuss the films she loves, including art-house classics by titans like Chantal Akerman, Satyajit Ray, and Akira Kurosawa.

  • Pather Panchali, Satyajit Ray, 1955
  • High and Low, Akira Kurosawa, 1963
  • Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Chantal Akerman, 1975
  • Fanny and Alexander, Ingmar Bergman, 1982
  • Come and See, Elem Klimov, 1985
  • Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow, 1987

Monday, November 25

The Inland Sea: Criterion Collection Edition #988

In 1971, author and film scholar Donald Richie published a poetic travelogue about his explorations of the islands of Japan’s Inland Sea, recording his search for traces of a traditional way of life as well as his own journey of self-discovery. Twenty years later, filmmaker Lucille Carra undertook a parallel trip inspired by Richie’s by-then-classic book, capturing images of hushed beauty and meeting people who still carried on the fading customs that Richie had observed. Interspersed with surprising detours—visits to a Frank Sinatra–loving monk, a leper colony, an ersatz temple of plywood and plaster—and woven together by Richie’s narration as well as a score by celebrated composer Toru Takemitsu, The Inland Sea is an eye-opening voyage and a profound meditation on what it means to be a foreigner. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with Lucille Carra, a conversation between filmmaker Paul Schrader and cultural critic Ian Buruma about Donald Richie, and an interview with Richie.

Tuesday, November 26

Short + Feature: Someone’s Listening

Hacked Circuit and The Conversation

In her disquieting short Hacked Circuit, director Deborah Stratman conjures a sense of all-pervasive surveillance while giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the work of Foley artists as they create the sound effects for the final scene of the seventies paranoia classic The Conversation. Starring Gene Hackman as a sound-surveillance expert who becomes convinced he has uncovered a murder plot, Francis Ford Coppola’s haunting thriller is both a sinister encapsulation of Nixon-era societal unease and a creepily prescient vision of life in our current surveillance age.

Wednesday, November 27

Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.

Featuring a new introduction by director Leslie Harris

Leslie Harris’s indie touchstone made a splash when it won a special jury prize at Sundance in 1993, offering a window into a world still sorely underrepresented in mainstream cinema: that of an ambitious, outspoken, and hilarious young black woman growing up in Brooklyn and navigating the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Boasting a charismatic performance from star Ariyan A. Johnson and a killer hip-hop and R&B soundtrack (with an emphasis on women artists), Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. is both a vivid time capsule of 1990s New York and a bracingly raw and real coming-of-age portrait that’s lost none of its vitality.

Thursday, November 28

Glorious Food!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, feast your eyes on a buffet of some of cinema’s most sumptuous banquets, a smorgasbord of lip-smacking delicacies that delight in the sensual pleasures and social rituals of eating. Start with a bowl of lusciously slurpable ramen in the freewheeling Japanese satire Tampopo, then tuck into couscous so fragrant it practically wafts off the screen in the richly textured Franco-Arab family portrait The Secret of the Grain. Next up: an epic celebration of authentic Italian cooking in Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott’s charming Big Night, a decadent seven-course spread of French haute cuisine as served up in the senses-ravishing Oscar winner Babette’s Feast, and a tender portrait of a family told through their weekly Sunday meals in Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman. And if you’ve still got room for more, there is gastronomic debauchery galore courtesy of Věra Chytilová and Luis Buñuel, offbeat odes to garlic and Cajun cuisine from Les Blank, a most memorable dinner with Andre, and more. Bon appétit!

  • The Exterminating Angel, Luis Buñuel, 1962
  • Tom Jones, Tony Richardson, 1963
  • Daisies, Věra Chytilová, 1966
  • Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, Les Blank, 1980
  • My Dinner with Andre, Louis Malle, 1981
  • Tampopo, Juzo Itami, 1985
  • Babette’s Feast, Gabriel Axel, 1987
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Peter Greenaway, 1989
  • Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking, Les Blank, 1990
  • Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, 1991
  • Eat Drink Man Woman, Ang Lee, 1994
  • Big Night, Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci, 1996
  • The Secret of the Grain, Abdellatif Kechiche, 2007
  • Still Walking, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2008

Friday, November 29

Double Feature: Fraud Alert

The Baron of Arizona and F for Fake

Samuel Fuller and Orson Welles bring a mischievous sleight of hand to these slippery accounts of some of history’s most notorious scammers, cheats, and cons. Based on a stranger-than-fiction true story, Fuller’s offbeat western-noir gem The Baron of Arizona stars Vincent Price at his unctuous best as a nineteenth-century master swindler who hatches a devious scheme to steal the Arizona Territory for himself. Then, Welles pulls off the ultimate cinematic magic trick in his slyly inventive essay film F for Fake, a meta-documentary investigation of art, truth, and illusion that is itself an elaborately constructed puzzle-box of duplicities and deceptions.

Saturday, November 30

Saturday Matinee: A Kid for Two Farthings

Set against a rich evocation of postwar London’s East End Jewish quarter, Carol Reed’s touchingly bittersweet Technicolor fable concerns a young boy (Jonathan Ashmore) who comes into possession of a curiously-horned goat he believes to be a unicorn with the power to grant wishes. And then, miraculously, the dreams of those around him really do seem to come true … Mixing poetic neorealism with child’s-eye fantasy, Reed crafts a delicately moving ode to the power of belief.


Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet, 1957
  • An American in Paris, Vincente Minnelli, 1951
  • And Life Goes On, Abbas Kiarostami, 1992
  • The Arbor, Clio Barnard, 2010**
  • The Band Wagon, Vincente Minnelli, 1953
  • The Barkleys of Broadway, Charles Walters, 1949
  • Big Night, Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci, 1996
  • Blow Out, Brian De Palma, 1981
  • Brigadoon, Vincente Minnelli, 1954**
  • Broadway Melody of 1940, Norman Taurog, 1940
  • Cabin in the Sky, Vincente Minnelli, 1943
  • Caché, Michael Haneke, 2005
  • The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola, 1974
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Peter Greenaway, 1989
  • Corpo celeste, Alice Rohrwacher, 2011
  • Crocus, Suzan Pitt, 1971
  • Dear Phone, Peter Greenaway, 1976
  • Death of the Soundman, Sorayos Prapapan, 2017
  • Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, 1991
  • Diva, Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981
  • El doctor, Suzan Pitt, 2006
  • The Draughtsman’s Contract, Peter Greenaway, 1982
  • Easter Parade, Charles Walters, 1948
  • Eat Drink Man Woman, Ang Lee, 1994
  • An Elephant Sitting Still, Hu Bo, 2018
  • A Face in the Crowd, Elia Kazan, 1957
  • The Falls, Peter Greenaway, 1980
  • Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson, 1970
  • Give a Girl a Break, Stanley Donen, 1953
  • H Is for House, Peter Greenaway, 1976
  • Hacked Circuit, Deborah Stratman, 2014
  • The Harder They Come, Perry Henzell, 1972
  • The Harvey Girls, George Sidney, 1946
  • Homework, Abbas Kiarostami, 1989
  • I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, Tsai Ming-liang, 2006
  • I Love Melvin, Don Weis, 1953
  • In the Good Old Summertime, Robert Z. Leonard, 1949
  • The Inland Sea, Lucille Carra, 1991
  • Intervals, Peter Greenaway, 1969
  • It’s Always Fair Weather, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1955
  • Jefferson Circus Songs, Suzan Pitt, 1973
  • Joy Street, Suzan Pitt, 1995
  • Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., Leslie Harris, 1992
  • Kes, Ken Loach, 1969
  • The King of Marvin Gardens, Bob Rafelson, 1972
  • Klute, Alan J. Pakula, 1971
  • The Last Detail, Hal Ashby, 1973
  • Lili, Charles Walters, 1953
  • The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006**
  • Meet Me in St Louis, Vincente Minnelli, 1944
  • Mulholland Dr., David Lynch, 2001
  • Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow, 1987
  • No Place Like Home, Perry Henzell, 2006
  • On the Town, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1949
  • Oslo, August 31st, Joachim Trier, 2011**
  • The Pillow Book, Peter Greenaway, 1996**
  • Pinball, Suzan Pitt, 2013
  • The Pirate, Vincente Minnelli, 1948
  • Prospero’s Books, Peter Greenaway, 1991
  • Raging Sun, Raging Sky, Julián Hernández, 2009
  • Reprise, Joachim Trier, 2006
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Stanley Donen, 1954
  • Stranger by the Lake, Alain Guiraudie, 2013**
  • Summer Stock, Charles Walters, 1950
  • That’s Entertainment!, Jack Haley Jr., 1974
  • They Live By Night, Nicholas Ray, 1948
  • Through the Olive Trees, Abbas Kiarostami, 1994
  • Vertical Features Remake, Peter Greenaway, 1978
  • Visitation, Suzan Pitt, 2011
  • A Walk Through H, Peter Greenaway, 1978
  • Water Wrackets, Peter Greenaway, 1990
  • Windows, Peter Greenaway, 1975
  • The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher, 2014
  • Yentl, Barbra Streisand, 1983
  • A Zed & Two Noughts, Peter Greenaway, 1985

**Available in the U.S. only

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Exclusive: Sam Smith’s Artwork for KimStim’s Blu-ray Release of Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still https://criterioncast.com/news/elephant-sitting-still-artwork Mon, 21 Oct 2019 11:59:02 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=62318

In February 2018, An Elephant Sitting Still premiered at the Berlinale a little more than four months after its director, Hu Bo committed suicide following the production of the film. The film would later tour here in the US through the folks at KimStim, and they have just unveiled their plans for the home video release.



The Blu-ray and DVD will be distributed by KimStim, releasing in stores on December 10th, 2019. KimStim managed to get one of our favorite cover and poster designers, Sam Smith (Hausu), to put together an amazing image and title treatment for the disc releases. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should definitely check out the tour of Sam’s studio that the Criterion Channel featured recently after working on the cover for Japón.

This past May, Sam reviewed the film for the Nashville Scene:

Bo frames his characters as though we’re perched on their shoulders as they slog through their days, making every movement feel monumental. Through the lens of cinematographer Fan Chao, characters and landscapes blend in palettes of grays and pastels; silhouettes are backlit by soothing, curtain-filtered light; and soft textures like that of a girl’s pale hoodie seem as tactile as the rubble and dirt on the ground. Never wandering, every camera movement feels positively intentional; every bit of mise-en-scène constructs the characters’ external and internal lives.

Sam Smith

Special features for the home video releases include:

  • Man in the Well, a short film by Hu Bo (16min, Mandarin with English Subs)
  • USA theatrical trailer
  • Booklet
    • Essay by Aliza Ma
    • Interview with DP Fan Chao
    • An Elephant Sitting Still, a short story by Hu Bo

This past weekend, KimStim also began a series of screenings featuring the film’s cinematographer, Fan Chao. They’ll continue later this week at the Roxie in San Francisco, and the Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. Details below.

New York: Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Saturday, October 19 at 2PM. Info & Tickets

Chicago: University of Chicago Doc Films (Max Palevsky Cinema), 1212 E 59th St # 3, Chicago, IL 60637

Sunday, October 20 at 1PM. Info & Tickets

San Francisco: Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA

Saturday, October 26 at 4PM. Info & Tickets

Los Angeles: Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts, 8556 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Sunday, October 27 at 4PM. Info & Tickets

We’ll update the post when pre-order links are available at the various online retailers.


Sam Smith’s Blu-ray art for An Elephant Sitting Still
Sam Smith’s DVD art for An Elephant Sitting Still
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Oscilloscope to Release Three New, Limited-Edition Books https://criterioncast.com/news/oscilloscope-to-release-three-new-limited-edition-books Tue, 15 Oct 2019 15:00:12 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=62255

After releasing films in theaters and on DVD and Blu-ray for over 11 years now, the folks at Oscilloscope Laboratories are branching out into the book publishing world with three, limited edition books this November.


HEADING TO BILL’S FOR CIGARETTES

The first monograph from award-winning filmmaker Jason Tippet (ONLY THE YOUNG), HEADING TO BILL’S FOR CIGARETTES is a beautiful collection of 35mm, documentary-style photographs and a chronicle of the mundane absurdities that make Atwater Village in East Los Angeles both totally charming and utterly bizarre.

Those who know, know: Atwater was the L.A. haunt of the Beastie Boys back in the day and the home of G-Son Studios, as well as where they met resident turned long-time collaborator Money Mark, who provided the introduction to this very book.

Strictly limited to 1000 copies of each volume. Printed in Canada. Smyth sewn binding. 80 pages each.


MUSINGS: THE PRINTED COLLECTION

Musings was created in 2015 as a place where film writers could have the freedom to write about overlooked and misunderstood film topics, without any sort of commercial agenda. These are the essays they write because they want to, not because they have to.

The pieces sampled in the Musings anthologies are full of insight and scholarship, ranging from pocket histories to artist profiles to deep dives into particular films. It’s that kind of writing—thoughtful, evocative, and, most of all, full of passion—that brings this collection to life.


Check out the full press release from Oscilloscope:

Oscilloscope Laboratories announced today that it will expand into the publishing realm with the release of three new titles: MUSINGS (Volumes 1 & 2) and Jason Tippet’s HEADING TO BILL’S FOR CIGARETTES. The books will be released by O-Scope ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

MUSINGS features original, independent, quality film writing from esteemed journalists such as Scott Tobias (NPR, The Dissolve, The Onion), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire​, MTV, Pitchfork​), Judy Berman (Time, New York Times, Washington Post), Mike D’Angelo (​The A.V. Club, Nerve)​, Keith Phipps (​Slate, The Atlantic, Vulture)​, and Bilge Ebiri (New York Times, New York Magazine, Village Voice) just to name a few. Writers who contributed to MUSINGS were tasked with delving into neglected corners of cinema they were eager to illuminate, highlighting the films, filmmakers, and movements that don’t always get much attention in mainstream publications. The pieces sampled in the MUSINGS anthologies are full of insight and scholarship, ranging from pocket histories to artist profiles to deep dives into particular films. It’s that kind of writing—thoughtful, evocative, and, most of all, full of passion—that brings this collection to life.

Says MUSINGS editor Scott Tobias, “MUSINGS has given me an opportunity to reach out to some of the best film writers around. This anthology reflects their individual passions and obsessions, and I’m proud to have given them the space to do their best work.”

O-Scope is also pleased to simultaneously release HEADING TO BILL’S FOR CIGARETTES, the first book from the award-winning filmmaker Jason Tippet. O-Scope previously released Tippet’s feature film ONLY THE YOUNG (co-directed with Elizabeth Mims). HEADING TO BILL’S is a beautiful collection of Tippet’s 35mm photographs; an ode to the quirky characters of Atwater Village in East Los Angeles. (Not coincidentally, O-Scope is the company founded by Adam Yauch, MCA of Beastie Boys, who as a group were early adopters of the Atwater neighborhood. It’s there that they first met their long time collaborator Mark “Money Mark” Nishita, who provides the book’s introduction here.) Tippet could accurately be described as a sort of William Eggleston for the Instagram generation: from a fed-up dude hurling a Big Gulp at a Tesla parked on Glendale Boulevard to the unique soul playing the melodica in his driver’s-seat-cum-rehearsal-space, Tippet’s photos document the surreal, everyday happenings that permeate the neighborhood he calls home.

“I always get caught up with unique situations, and I’m attracted to them, I have such a strong love for underdogs,” says Tippet. “I appreciate people that struggle, they’re more interesting to me, and it’s a type of person I’m drawn to photograph. Most of the subjects here are people I see all the time around the neighborhood. They’re like local celebrities to me. I hope when readers flip through the book they have a connection to these people and the neighborhood and get a feeling of what it’s like to spend a day here.”

About the releases, O-Scope president Dan Berger said, “As anyone in the independent film business knows, we’re operating in a time of constant change and uncertainty and it felt like an opportune moment for us to shore up our financials with a tried-and-true cash windfall, so we published a few physical books.”

MUSINGS VOLUMES 1 & 2 and HEADING TO BILL’S FOR CIGARETTES will be available in limited edition starting in November via Oscilloscope’s online store as well as at select bookstores nationwide. The releases will also be supported by events in local markets. For more information please reach out to O-Scope’s books publicist, Liz Lagno (​liz@oscilloscope.net​).

MUSINGS Contributors include:

Volume 1: ​Scott Tobias, Noel Murray, David Roth, Steven Goldman, Chris Evangelista, Judy Berman, Alissa Wilkinson, K. Austin Collins, Matthew Dessem, Mike D’Angelo, Alison Nastasi, Daniel Carlson, Keith Phipps, and Genevieve Valentine

Volume 2: ​Keith Phipps, Bilge Ebiri, Manuela Lazic, Vadim Rizov, Sheila O’Malley, Daniel Carlson, Steven Goldman, Soheil Rezayazdi, Charles Bramesco, Steven Goldman, April Wolfe, John Redding & B. A. Hunt, Joshua Rothkopf, Judy Berman, Alison Nastasi, Scott Tobias, and Angelica Jade Bastién

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October 2019 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/october-2019-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Sun, 22 Sep 2019 19:46:06 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=62089

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For October, the Channel will feature films from Shirley Clarke, Guillermo Del Toro, Herschell Gordon Lewis and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial.


Tuesday, October 1

Short + Feature: American Gothic

Möbius and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Featuring an introduction by Möbius director Sam Kuhn

The kids aren’t all right in these two surreal mysteries set in the misty environs of the Pacific Northwest. In the 2017 gothic neonoir Möbius, an atmospheric spin on the Orpheus-and-Eurydice myth, a teen poet navigates the disorienting days following the disappearance of her boyfriend. The short bears the eerie influence of David Lynch, whose 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me—a cinematic prequel to his television serial—revolves around the enigmatic and thoroughly disquieting events leading up to the murder of troubled homecoming queen Laura Palmer.

Wednesday, October 2

Directed by Shirley Clarke

Featuring Rome Is Burning, a 1970 profile of Clarke with appearances by Yoko Ono and Jacques Rivette

Born one hundred years ago, Shirley Clarke was a true cinematic visionary who synthesized jazz, modern dance, and abstract expressionism into a dynamic vérité style that put her at the forefront of the emergent American independent film scene of the fifties and sixties. Beginning her artistic career as a dancer, she brought a choreographer’s feeling for rhythm and movement to early experimental dance films like Dance in the Sun and Bullfight and to kinetic city symphonies like the avant-garde tour de force Bridges-Go-Round and the Academy Award–nominated documentary Skyscraper. Though she directed only a handful of features—including the controversial Beatnik bombshell The Connection and the nonfiction queer-cinema classic Portrait of Jason—they stand as taboo-busting landmarks of the American underground that pointed the way toward a radical counter-cinema.

Features:

  • The Connection, Shirley Clarke, 1961
  • Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World, Shirley Clarke, 1963
  • Portrait of Jason, Shirley Clarke, 1967
  • Ornette: Made in America, Shirley Clarke, 1985

Shorts:

  • Dance in the Sun, Shirley Clarke, 1953
  • In Paris Parks, Shirley Clarke, 1954
  • Bullfight, Shirley Clarke, 1955
  • A Moment in Love, Shirley Clarke, 1956
  • Brussels Film Loops/Gestures/World Kitchen, Shirley Clarke and D. A. Pennebaker, 1957
  • Bridges-Go-Round 1, Shirley Clarke, 1958
  • Bridges-Go-Round 2, Shirley Clarke, 1958
  • Skyscraper, Shirley Clarke and Willard Van Dyke, 1960
  • A Scary Time, Shirley Clarke and Robert Hughes, 1960
  • Christopher and Me, Richard Leacock, 1960
  • Butterfly, Shirley Clarke, 1967
  • 24 Frames Per Second, Shirley Clarke, 1977
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Initiation, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Trans, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: One-Two-Three, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Mysterium, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Savage/Love, Shirley Clarke, 1981
  • Tongues, Shirley Clarke, 1982

Thursday, October 3

From the Archive: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Featuring a laserdisc commentary by film scholar Maurice Yacowar

One of the most influential and unsettling films of the 1950s, Don Siegel’s sci-fi/horror classic charts the escalating panic that grips a California town as residents find their friends and loved ones being replaced by emotionless alien “pod people.” Interpreted as an allegory for everything from the McCarthyist fear of Communist infiltration to the stifling conformity of the Eisenhower era, Invasion of the Body Snatchers transcends its drive-in B-movie origins to become a still-terrifying vision of a society’s descent into mass hysteria.

Friday, October 4

Double Feature: Bad Kitty!

Cat People and The Living Idol

Two of classic Hollywood’s most sophisticated and singular stylists lend their distinctive sensibilities to these sharp-clawed tales of feline terror. Produced by legendary B-movie maverick Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur, Cat People—about a woman who believes that arousal will turn her into a killer panther—redefined the possibilities of horror cinema with its emphasis on moody shadow play and unsettling psychological ambiguity. Like Lewton, Albert Lewin was an erudite aesthete whose outré films blend the mythic and the surreal to delirious effect, as seen in the fascinating Mexican production The Living Idol, in which a young woman is seemingly terrorized by the vengeful spirit of a demonic Mayan jaguar.

Saturday, October 5

Saturday Matinee: The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Widely believed to be the very first animated feature film, Lotte Reiniger’s astonishing 1926 adaptation of tales from One Thousand and One Nights uses striking silhouette cutouts and gorgeous color tinting to bring to life the story of an Arabian prince who is whisked away on a flying horse to an enchanted land where he tangles with an evil sorcerer, rescues a princess, and joins forces with none other than Aladdin. Painstakingly composed frame by frame by Reiniger over the course of three years, this landmark work is both an enchanting storybook saga and a retina-delighting triumph of visual imagination.

Sunday, October 6

Val Lewton Presents

Featuring Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2007 documentary by Kent Jones

Terror lives in the shadows in the moody masterpieces of maverick producer Val Lewton, who turned our fears of the unseen and the unknown into haunting excursions into existential dread. As head of RKO’s horror unit during the 1940s, Lewton, working with master director Jacques Tourneur, was handed a threadbare budget and a sensationalistic title—Cat People—from which he produced a tour de force of psychosexual anxiety that revolutionized the horror genre by wringing chills not from conventional movie monsters but from brooding atmosphere, suggestion, and anticipation. Its success led to a string of similarly innovative and subversive B movies like the poetically hypnotic I Walked with a Zombie, the darkly terrifying The Leopard Man, and the stunningly nihilistic The Seventh Victim, each a master class in how creative vision can triumph over limited means.

  • Cat People, Jacques Tourneur, 1942
  • I Walked with a Zombie, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
  • The Ghost Ship, Mark Robson, 1943
  • The Seventh Victim, Mark Robson, 1943
  • The Leopard Man, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
  • The Curse of the Cat People, Gunther von Frisch and Robert Wise, 1944
  • Isle of the Dead, Mark Robson, 1945
  • The Body Snatcher, Robert Wise, 1945
  • Bedlam, Mark Robson, 1946

Monday, October 7

Detour: Criterion Collection Edition #966

From Poverty Row came a movie that, perhaps more than any other, epitomizes the dark fatalism at the heart of film noir. As he hitchhikes his way from New York to Los Angeles, a down-on-his-luck nightclub pianist (Tom Neal) finds himself with a dead body on his hands and nowhere to run—a waking nightmare that goes from bad to worse when he picks up the most vicious femme fatale in cinema history, Ann Savage’s snarling, monstrously conniving drifter Vera. Working with no-name stars on a bargain-basement budget, B auteur Edgar G. Ulmer turned threadbare production values and seedy, low-rent atmosphere into indelible pulp poetry. Long unavailable in a format in which its hard-boiled beauty could be fully appreciated, Detour haunts anew in its first major restoration. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Edgar G. Ulmer, The Man Off-Screen, a 2004 documentary on the director; an interview with film scholar Noah Isenberg; and a program about the restoration.

Tuesday, October 8

Short + Feature: Look What the Cat Dragged In

Call of Cuteness and House

Feline frights abound in these two films that turn cats into the stuff of nightmares. Brenda Lien’s short Call of Cuteness takes aim at the way internet culture uses cat imagery, critiquing the consumption and exploitation of animals through its grotesque animation. Then, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s outrageously psychedelic horror film House features a terrifying, blood-spewing ghost cat, one of the predators (also including a hungry piano) that destroy a group of schoolgirls on vacation at a spooky country house.

Wednesday, October 9

Persepolis

Featuring a program on the making of the film

Growing up in 1970s Iran, Marjane, the daughter of Tehran intellectuals, is rebellious, outspoken, and enamored with Bruce Lee, Iron Maiden, and punk rock—everything a young woman is not supposed to be in an increasingly repressive, theocratic society in the throes of the Islamic Revolution. When she’s sent off to study in Europe, Marjane finds herself wrestling with the complexity of her cultural identity. In adapting her acclaimed graphic memoirs for the screen, Marjane Satrapi effectively translated their striking pen-and-ink visual style as well as their intelligence, wit, and powerful emotional impact. Presented here is the French-language version of the film, featuring the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, and Danielle Darrieux.

Thursday, October 10

Three by Byron Haskin

A master termite-art technician, Byron Haskin brought a prodigious visual imagination and keen intelligence to pulp classics of both science fiction and film noir. Before making the leap to director, he was a renowned special-effects artist at Warner Bros., so it’s little wonder that he excelled at stunningly designed sci-fi marvels like The War of the Worlds, which updates the H. G. Wells classic for Cold War–era America, and the eye-popping cult favorite Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Though his work in the fantasy realm has often overshadowed his other achievements, Haskin was also at home in the gritty world of film noir, as seen in the tough-guy classic I Walk Alone, a slam-bang showcase for stars Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.

  • I Walk Alone, 1947
  • The War of the Worlds, 1953
  • Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 1964

Friday, October 11

Double Feature: The Deviant and the Divine

Freaks and Multiple Maniacs

Two of cinema’s patron saints of the depraved, Tod Browning and John Waters, push the boundaries of good taste to their limits in these transgressive cult classics engineered to shock. One of the most outrageous and still startling films of the pre-Code era, Browning’s Freaks casts real-life sideshow performers as societal outcasts who take their revenge on those who have wronged them. Its vision of macabre mayhem inspired the Pope of Trash himself, John Waters, whose black-comic scuzzfest Multiple Maniacs stars the inimitable Divine as the deranged ringmaster of her own “Cavalcade of Perversion.”

Saturday, October 12

Saturday Matinee: Animation Celebration

A dazzling array of animation techniques—gorgeous hand-drawn images, computer-generated environments, playful stop motion, experiments in abstraction—are on display in this eyeball-whirling selection of bite-size wonders. Featuring an existential anthropomorphic musical (The Burden), a jazzy avant-garde classic (Begone Dull Care), a coming-of-age dreamscape (Weekends), a cosmic encounter with the Grim Reaper (Coda), a pas de deux with a misbehaving chair (A Chairy Tale), and a psychedelic intergalactic odyssey (Solar Walk), these miniature marvels may be short in running time but they’re positively epic in visual imagination.

  • Begone Dull Care, Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, 1949
  • A Chairy Tale, Claude Jutra and Norman McLaren, 1957
  • Coda, Alan Holly, 2013
  • The Burden, Niki Lindroth von Bahr, 2017
  • Weekends, Trevor Jimenez, 2017
  • Solar Walk, Réka Bucsi, 2018

Sunday, October 13

Art-House America: The Loft Cinema, Tucson, AZ

The latest installment of our ongoing tour of America’s art houses pays a visit to the Loft Cinema in Tucson, Arizona, a vibrant nonprofit theater that has been serving the local community since 1972. Boasting one of the longest-running continuous Rocky Horror Picture Show screening series on record, as well as an eclectic mix of live events—including costume competitions, sing-a-longs, a free annual children’s film festival, and more—the theater has become a beloved and vital part of the fabric of Tucson. In recent years it’s even started to take its show on the road, hosting solar-powered outdoor screenings across the state in an attempt to bring the Loft experience to people who can’t make it to the movie theater—including some of Arizona’s Native American communities. Dedicated to raising awareness of local issues through both its programming and community-outreach initiatives, the Loft is not only a movie theater but a vital cultural steward for the southern Arizona region.

Monday, October 14

Judex: Criterion Collection Edition #710

This effortlessly cool crime caper, directed by Georges Franju, is a marvel of dexterous plotting and visual invention. Conceived as an homage to Louis Feuillade’s 1916 cult silent serial of the same name, Judex kicks off with the mysterious kidnapping of a corrupt banker by a shadowy crime fighter (American magician Channing Pollock) and spins out into a thrillingly complex web of deceptions. Combining stylish sixties modernism with silent-cinema touches and even a few unexpected sci-fi accents, Judex is a delightful bit of pulp fiction and a testament to the art of illusion. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A fifty-minute program on Georges Franju’s career, two short films by Franju, and interviews with cowriter Jacques Champreux and actor Francine Bergé.

Monday, October 14

Three by Jacques Tourneur

Though best known for his collaborations with producer Val Lewton, director Jacques Tourneur was a master craftsman in his own right, one whose shadowy visual palette served him well in a number of genres, and whose staunch humanism often shone through the B-movie material he worked with. This sampler begins with Cat People, the film that set the template for Lewton’s vividly understated horror classics. One of the most beloved of all forties noirs, the Robert Mitchum–starring Out of the Past distills the genre to its hard-boiled essence. And the unconventional western Stars in My Crown, a rare passion project for Tourneur, is a wistful study of faith, bigotry, and embattled human dignity set in a small southern town.

  • Cat People, 1942
  • Out of the Past, 1947
  • Stars in My Crown, 1950

Tuesday, October 15

Short + Feature: Bizarre Love Triangles

Bad at Dancing and Jules and Jim

With a new introduction by Bad at Dancing director Joanna Arnow

The boundaries between friendship and romance break down in these offbeat looks at the complex dynamics of love triangles. Joanna Arnow’s Bad at Dancing is an alternately hilarious and painfully awkward portrait of a perpetual third wheel looking for love in all the wrong places. It’s paired with perhaps film history’s most iconic ménage à trois: the bohemian triad at the center of François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim, a breath of cinematic fresh air starring a captivating Jeanne Moreau as the free spirit who comes between two best friends.

Wednesday, October 16

La Ciénaga: Criterion Collection Edition #743

The release of Lucrecia Martel’s La Ciénaga heralded the arrival of an astonishingly vital and original voice in Argentine cinema. With a radical and disturbing take on narrative, beautiful cinematography, and a highly sophisticated use of on- and offscreen sound, Martel turns her tale of a dissolute bourgeois extended family, whiling away the hours of one sweaty, sticky summer, into a cinematic marvel. This visceral take on class, nature, sexuality, and the ways that political turmoil and social stagnation can manifest in human relationships is a drama of extraordinary tactility, and one of the great contemporary film debuts. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Lucrecia Martel and filmmaker Andrés Di Tella.

Thursday, October 17

Following: Criterion Collection Edition #638

Before he became a sensation with the twisty revenge story Memento, Christopher Nolan fashioned this low-budget, 16 mm black-and-white neonoir with comparable precision and cunning. Providing irrefutable evidence of Nolan’s directorial bravura, Following is the fragmented tale of an unemployed young writer who trails strangers through London, hoping that they will provide inspiration for his first novel. He gets more than he bargained for when one of his unwitting subjects leads him down a dark criminal path. With gritty aesthetics and a made-on-the-fly vibe (many shots were simply stolen on the streets, unbeknownst to passersby), Following is a mind-bending psychological journey that shows the remarkable beginnings of one of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary by Christopher Nolan, a chronological edit of the film, an interview with Nolan, and more.

Friday, October 18

Double Feature: Bad Habits

Black Narcissus and The Devils

Nunsploitation meets the art house in these delirious tales of repressed sexuality, madness, and mass hysteria from visionary iconoclasts of the British cinema. High up in the Himalayas, the sisters of an Anglican convent get hot under their habits as they try to resist earthly temptations in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s feverish Technicolor hallucination Black Narcissus. Then we’re whisked away to seventeenth-century France, where demonic possession and sexual frenzy run riot in a nunnery in Ken Russell’s The Devils, a massively controversial heathen freak-out banned around the world for its searing sacrilegious imagery.

Saturday, October 19

Saturday Matinee: The Blob

A cult classic of gooey greatness, The Blob follows the havoc wreaked on a small town by an outer-space monster with neither soul nor vertebrae, with Steve McQueen playing the rebel teen who tries to warn the residents about the jellylike invader. Strong performances and ingenious special effects help The Blob transcend the schlock sci-fi and youth-delinquency genres from which it originates. Made outside of Hollywood by a maverick film distributor and a crew whose credits mostly comprised religious and educational shorts, The Blob helped launch the careers of McQueen and composer Burt Bacharach, whose bouncy title song is just one of this film’s many unexpected pleasures.

Sunday, October 20

Directed by Errol Morris

Featuring a selection of archival interviews with Morris

Perhaps no filmmaker has shaped the art of contemporary documentary storytelling more than Errol Morris, a director-detective whose portraits of everyday oddballs and cultural icons alike are investigations into the human condition and the elusive nature of truth. Establishing his offbeat vision immediately with his first two documentaries Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida—wry and loving looks at all-American eccentricity—he went on to redefine the possibilities of nonfiction filmmaking (and free a man from death row) with The Thin Blue Line, a gripping account of miscarried justice told with the verve of a film noir. Since then, Morris has continued to tackle stories both big (the Oscar-winning The Fog of War) and charmingly small (Fast, Cheap & Out of Control), bringing the same idiosyncratic perspective and philosophical insight to whatever subject piques his ever-restless curiosity.

  • Gates of Heaven, 1978
  • Vernon, Florida, 1981
  • The Thin Blue Line, 1988
  • A Brief History of Time, 1991
  • Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, 1997
  • The Fog of War, 2003
  • Tabloid, 2010

Monday, October 21

The 39 Steps: Criterion Collection Edition #56

A heart-racing spy story by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) as he stumbles upon a conspiracy that thrusts him into a hectic chase across the Scottish moors—a chase in which he is both the pursuer and the pursued—as well as into an unexpected romance with the cool Pamela (Madeline Carroll). Adapted from a novel by John Buchan, this classic wrong-man thriller from the Master of Suspense anticipates the director’s most famous works (especially North by Northwest), and remains one of his cleverest and most entertaining films. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A documentary covering Alfred Hitchcock’s prewar career, a 1937 radio adaptation of the film, a video essay by Hitchcock scholar Leonard Leff, and more.

Tuesday, October 22

Short + Feature: Far-Out Fantasies

Les escargots and Fantastic Planet

One of the most sui generis artistic partnerships in cinema history, director René Laloux and writer-animator Roland Topor produced only a handful of works together, but each is a marvel of surrealist invention and psychedelic wonder. First, mutant snails run amok in the gloriously weird Les escargots. Then, get transported to a most Fantastic Planet in their sole feature, a head-trip science-fiction phantasmagoria that has taken its place as a midnight-movie classic thanks to its lysergic visuals and antiauthoritarian message.

Wednesday, October 23

Frida

Featuring a new interview with director Julie Taymor

The bold visions of two singular artists—Frida Kahlo and director Julie Taymor—collide with dazzling results in this vibrant account of the iconic Mexican painter’s turbulent life and awe-inspiring work. Featuring tour-de-force performances from Salma Hayek (who also produced the film) and Alfred Molina (as Kahlo’s lover Diego Rivera) as well as imaginative animated flights of fancy from stop-motion surrealists the Brothers Quay, Frida shatters biopic conventions to knit a tapestry of Kahlo’s world that’s as rich, colorful, and complex as the artist’s own canvases.

Thursday, October 24

Three by Gillo Pontecorvo

Featuring Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a 1992 documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said

The explosive, fiercely leftist cinema of Italian firebrand Gillo Pontecorvo weds revolutionary politics with an equally radical visual style. His 1966 masterpiece The Battle of Algiers hit the world like a bombshell, serving as an inspiration for anticolonialist movements around the globe and forging a new aesthetic language from its electrifying blend of agitprop and on-the-ground realism. Pontecorvo’s hard-hitting style and concern for the oppressed is also on display in two lesser-known but equally impassioned works: Kapò, one of the first films to deal head-on with the horrors of the Holocaust, and Burn!, a subversive Marxist epic starring Marlon Brando as a British imperialist who manipulates a Caribbean slave revolt.

  • Kapò, 1959
  • The Battle of Algiers, 1966
  • Burn!, 1969

Friday, October 25

Double Feature: Critical Massey

The Old Dark House and Arsenic and Old Lace

Possessed of one of the most distinctive faces and richest voices in Hollywood history, Raymond Massey cut a striking figure in scene-stealing character roles. He puts his commanding presence to memorable use in two macabre tales of eccentric families hiding some (literal) skeletons in their closets. First, he plays a caught-in-the-rain traveler who takes refuge in the wrong mansion—presided over by Boris Karloff’s creepy butler—in James Whale’s classic chiller The Old Dark House. Then in Frank Capra’s screwball riot Arsenic and Old Lace, Massey is a homicidal maniac who bears a curious resemblance to Karloff—just don’t mention that to him!

Saturday, October 26

Saturday Matinee: Godzilla

Godzilla (a.k.a. Gojira) is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama, made in Japan at a time when the country was reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing in the Pacific. Its rampaging radioactive beast, the poignant embodiment of an entire population’s fears, became a beloved international icon of destruction, spawning almost thirty sequels. A thrilling, tactile spectacle that continues to be a cult phenomenon, the original, 1954 Japanese version is presented here, along with Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the 1956 “Americanized” version. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries on both versions by film historian David Kalat, interviews with cast and crew members, featurette on the film’s special effects, and more.

Sunday, October 27

Meet the Filmmakers: Herschell Gordon Lewis

“Someone once asked, ‘Are you an artist?’ And my answer was, ‘Am I an artist? Did you see that movie?!’” In 2009, Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine) sat down with the late Godfather of Gore himself, Herschell Gordon Lewis, to discuss his legendary career as an exploitation pioneer and creator of the splatter movie. As entertaining and unpretentious as his own movies, Lewis dishes on everything from his filmmaking philosophy (fast, cheap, and made to sell) to perfecting the perfect onscreen blood to the making of his landmark drive-in classic Blood Feast, nothing less than the urtext of the entire gore genre. This latest entry in the Criterion Channel’s Meet the Filmmakers series will be accompanied by a goretastic selection of Lewis’s films.

  • Carving Magic, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1959
  • Blood Feast, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1963
  • Two Thousand Maniacs!, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1964
  • Color Me Blood Red, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1965
  • The Gruesome Twosome, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1967
  • The Wizard of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1970
  • The Gore Gore Girls, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1972
  • Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore, Frank Henenlotter and Jimmy Maslon, 2010

Monday, October 28

Observations on Film Art #32: Withholding and Revealing in An Angel at My Table

Jane Campion came to international attention with her acclaimed sophomore feature An Angel at My Table, a luminous adaptation of the memoirs of Janet Frame, tracing her journey from her childhood in New Zealand to her time in a mental hospital to her emergence as a renowned writer. In this episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson explores how Campion uses a strategy of concealment and carefully orchestrated reveals to create curiosity, tension, and surprise and to immerse the viewer in Frame’s unique subjectivity.

Tuesday, October 29

Short + Feature: Baseball and Broomsticks

The Beaning and Häxan

With a new introduction by The Beaning director Sean McCoy

Something witchy this way comes in these sinister brews of satanism, black magic, and … baseball? Sean McCoy’s eerie occult exposé The Beaning finds a diabolical conspiracy in the 1920 death-by-fastball of Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman. It casts its unholy spell in part through the use of creepy archival footage, including material from Benjamin Christensen’s legendary silent danse macabre Häxan, another one-of-a-kind pseudodocumentary that presents the history of witchcraft as a hallucinatory gallery of the grotesque.

Wednesday, October 30

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

The first Iranian vampire western, Ana Lily Amirpour’s mesmerizing debut feature blends the influences of spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, the Iranian New Wave, and Jim Jarmusch into a truly original blast of shoegazey, black-and-white cool. In a desolate ghost town somewhere between Tehran and Southern California, a hijab-wearing, skateboard-riding vampire (Sheila Vand) stalks the streets preying on the city’s bad men. But when vampire meets boy, an unusual love story begins to blossom … blood red.

Thursday, October 31

The Devil’s Backbone: Criterion Collection Edition #666

One of the most personal films by Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is also among his most frightening and emotionally layered. Set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the tale of a twelve-year-old boy who, after his freedom-fighting father is killed, is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Del Toro expertly combines gothic ghost story, murder mystery, and historical melodrama in a stylish mélange that, like his later Pan’s Labyrinth, reminds us the scariest monsters are often the human ones. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary by Guillermo del Toro, a making-of documentary from 2004, deleted scenes, and more.

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 24 Frames Per Second, Shirley Clarke, 1977
  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Lotte Reiniger, 1926
  • Arsenic and Old Lace, Frank Capra, 1944
  • Bad at Dancing, Joanna Arnow, 2015
  • The Beaning, Sean McCoy, 2017
  • Bedlam, Mark Robson, 1946
  • Blood Feast, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1963
  • The Body Snatcher, Robert Wise, 1945
  • Bridges-Go-Round 1, Shirley Clarke, 1958
  • Bridges-Go-Round 2, Shirley Clarke, 1958
  • Brussels Film Loops/Gestures/World Kitchen, D. A. Pennebaker and Shirley Clarke, 1957
  • Bullfight, Shirley Clarke, 1955
  • Burn!, Gillo Pontecorvo, 1969
  • Butterfly, Shirley Clarke, 1967
  • Carving Magic, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1959
  • Cat People, Jacques Tourneur, 1942
  • Christopher and Me, Richard Leacock, 1960
  • Color Me Blood Red, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1965
  • The Connection, Shirley Clarke, 1961
  • The Curse of the Cat People, Robert Wise, Gunther von Fritsch, 1944
  • Dance in the Sun, Shirley Clarke, 1953
  • The Devils, Ken Russell, 1971
  • The Devil’s Backbone, Guillermo del Toro, 2001**
  • Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, Errol Morris, 1997
  • The Fog of War, Errol Morris, 2003
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Initiation, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Mysterium, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: One-Two-Three, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Trans, Shirley Clarke, 1978
  • Freaks, Tod Browning, 1932
  • Frida, Julie Taymor, 2002
  • The Ghost Ship, Mark Robson, 1943
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014
  • The Gore Gore Girls, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1972
  • The Gruesome Twosome, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1967
  • Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore, Frank Henenlotter and Jimmy Maslon, 2010
  • I Walk Alone, Byron Haskin, 1947
  • I Walked with a Zombie, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
  • In Paris Parks, Shirley Clarke, 1954
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Don Siegel, 1956
  • Isle of the Dead, Mark Robson, 1945
  • A Japanese Tragedy, Keisuke Kinoshita, 1953
  • The Leopard Man, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
  • The Living Idol, Albert Lewin and René Cardona, 1957
  • A Moment in Love, Shirley Clarke, 1956
  • The Old Dark House, James Whale, 1932
  • Ornette: Made in America, Shirley Clarke, 1985
  • Out of the Past, Jacques Tourneur, 1947
  • Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, 2007
  • Portrait of Jason, Shirley Clarke, 1967
  • Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World, Shirley Clarke, 1963
  • Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Byron Haskin, 1964
  • Savage/Love, Shirley Clarke, 1981
  • A Scary Time, Shirley Clarke and Robert Hughes, 1960
  • The Seventh Victim, Mark Robson, 1943
  • Skyscraper, Shirley Clarke and Willard Van Dyke, 1959
  • Stars in My Crown, Jacques Tourneur, 1950
  • Tabloid, Errol Morris, 2010
  • Tongues, Shirley Clarke, 1982
  • Two Thousand Maniacs!, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1964
  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, Kent Jones, 2007
  • Vernon, Florida, Errol Morris, 1981
  • The War of the Worlds, Byron Haskin, 1953
  • Weekends, Trevor Jimenez, 2017
  • The Wizard of Gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1970

**Available in the US only

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Mondo Announces New Prints for The Thin Red Line https://criterioncast.com/news/mondo-announces-new-prints-for-the-thin-red-line Thu, 05 Sep 2019 04:41:35 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=61954

The folks at Mondo have announced the latest prints in their Terrence Malick series: The Thin Red Line. The prints will go on sale tomorrow (Thursday, September 5th) at a random time, so make sure you’re following their Twitter to know when you can buy. This time, the artwork was created by Peter Diamond.


THE THIN RED LINE by Peter Diamond. 24″ x 18″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 250. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in October 2019. Ships to the US & Select Countries Internationally. $50

THE THIN RED LINE (Variant) by Peter Diamond. 24″ x 18″ Screenprinted Poster. Hand numbered. Edition of 125. Printed by DL Screenprinting. Expected to Ship in October 2019. Ships to the US & Select Countries Internationally. $65


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Past Art

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September 2019 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced https://criterioncast.com/news/september-2019-programming-on-the-criterion-channel-announced Wed, 21 Aug 2019 03:37:24 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=61649

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For September, the Channel will feature films from Claire Denis, Christian Petzold, Lina Wertmüller, and more!

Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.

Don’t subscribe yet? Start a 14-day free trial.

Sunday, September 1

Directed by John Schlesinger

Featuring a new introduction by Schlesinger’s nephew, cultural historian Ian Buruma

A sensitive chronicler of outsiders, outcasts, and dreamers searching for human connection, John Schlesinger flourished first as part of the British New Wave of the sixties and then in the New American Cinema of the seventies. Beginning his film career as an actor and documentarian—experiences that would inform his masterful handling of performers and hone his keen sense of naturalism—Schlesinger emerged as one of the leaders of the “kitchen sink” school of British realism with his narrative debut, A Kind of Loving, and classics like Billy Liar and Darling. He went on to make some of the most daring and exciting films of the era, including the X-rated Academy Award winner Midnight Cowboy, the taboo-shattering bisexual romance Sunday Bloody Sunday (a landmark of queer representation by an openly gay filmmaker), and the intense thriller Marathon Man. Featuring career-high performances from frequent stars like Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, and Peter Finch, these films stand as humane portraits of the changing gender, sexual, and social dynamics of Schlesinger’s time.

  • A Kind of Loving, 1962
  • Billy Liar, 1963
  • Darling, 1965
  • Midnight Cowboy, 1969
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday, 1971
  • Marathon Man, 1976
  • Honky Tonk Freeway, 1981
  • The Falcon and the Snowman, 1985

Monday, September 2

Back to Work

This Labor Day, celebrate—or commiserate—on your hard-earned day off with three brilliant comedies that find humor in the contradictions and complications of the modern industrial workplace. Featuring Alec Guinness as an idealistic inventor going up against the Man, Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot as an old-fashioned gent beset by new fangled consumerism, and Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp as a cog literally stuck in the machinery of modern life, these films celebrate the spirit and decency of the hard working little guy.

  • Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin, 1936
  • The Man in the White Suit, Alexander Mackendrick, 1951
  • Mon oncle, Jacques Tati, 1958

Tuesday, September 3

Short + Feature: Long Roads Home

On the Border and Kaili Blues

Two rising-star Chinese filmmakers explore themes of identity and connection to one’s roots in these dreamy, hypnotic road movies. Winner of a special jury prize at Cannes, Wei Shujun’s On the Border is a moody, poetic immersion into the world of a young man drifting through the margins of a desolate town as he searches for his father. Things get even more hallucinatory in Bi Gan’s mesmerizing debut feature, Kaili Blues, a time- and space-collapsing journey through rural China built around an astonishing forty-one-minute tracking shot.

Wednesday, September 4

A Dry White Season: Criterion Collection Edition #953

With this bracing drama, made at the climax of the anti-apartheid movement, director Euzhan Palcy issued a devastating indictment of South Africa’s racist government—and made history in the process, becoming the first black woman to direct a Hollywood studio film. White schoolteacher Ben Du Toit (Donald Sutherland) lives in Johannesburg and remains blissfully incurious about the lives of his black countrymen until a wave of brutal treatment comes crashing down on his gardener (Winston Ntshona), bringing Du Toit face-to-face with harsh political realities. Based on a celebrated novel by André Brink and rooted in the first-hand research the Martinican Palcy did in South Africa into the way black people lived under apartheid, A Dry White Season is unflinching in its depiction of violence and its chronicling of injustice, making for a galvanizing tribute to those willing to sacrifice everything to fight oppression. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Euzhan Palcy and Donald Sutherland, an excerpt from a 1995 interview Palcy conducted with Nelson Mandela, and more.

Thursday, September 5

Creative Marriages: Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Visionary artist, playwright, poet, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau found the perfect muse around whom to construct his lyrical, surreal dream worlds in the dashing Jean Marais, the golden-boy actor who would become both his lifelong creative collaborator and lover. Two of their immortal classics—the ravishing fairytale Beauty and the Beast and the mythic masterpiece Orpheus—are presented with an introduction by critic Michael Sragow, who discusses how these two very different but complementary artists came together to form one of the most miraculous actor-director partnerships in French cinema.

  • Beauty and the Beast, Jean Cocteau, 1946
  • Orpheus, Jean Cocteau, 1950

Friday, September 6

Double Feature: She’s Leaving Home

Late Spring and 35 Shots of Rum

For her gorgeous, minutely observed exploration of family bonds 35 Shots of Rum, Claire Denis was inspired by one of Yasujiro Ozu’s most masterful domestic dramas—in which the relationship between a widowed father and his devoted daughter is complicated by the arrival of an attractive young man—to create perhaps her warmest and most tenderly human film to date. Each a delicate emotional balancing act imbued with moments of quiet transcendence, these twin masterpieces convey profound truths with infinite subtlety and grace.

Saturday, September 7

Saturday Matinee: A Hard Day’s Night

Meet the Beatles! Just one month after they exploded onto the U.S. scene with their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, John, Paul, George, and Ringo began working on a project that would bring their revolutionary talent to the big screen. A Hard Day’s Night, in which the bandmates play cheeky comic versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Directed with raucous, anything-goes verve by Richard Lester and featuring a slew of iconic pop anthems, including the title track, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “If I Fell,” A Hard Day’s Night, which reconceived the movie musical and exerted an incalculable influence on the music video, is one of the most deliriously entertaining movies of all time. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary featuring members of the cast and crew, documentaries on the film, a short film by Richard Lester, and more.

Sunday, September 8

Jailbreak!

With pulse-pounding tension and life-or-death drama baked into its premise, the prison-break movie is the ne plus ultra of cinematic suspense. From the gut-punching grit of Jules Dassin’s Brute Force to the taut minimalism of Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped and the dystopian spectacle of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, these joint-busting classics find master filmmakers putting their own thrilling spin on the art of the escape.

  • Grand Illusion, Jean Renoir, 1937
  • Brute Force, Jules Dassin, 1947
  • Raw Deal, Anthony Mann, 1948
  • Stalag 17, Billy Wilder, 1953
  • A Man Escaped, Robert Bresson, 1956
  • Le trou, Jacques Becker, 1960
  • Escape from New York, John Carpenter, 1981
  • Down By Law, Jim Jarmusch, 1986

Monday, September 9

David Lynch: The Art Life: Criterion Collection Edition #895

A rare glimpse into the mind of one of cinema’s most enigmatic visionaries, David Lynch: The Art Life offers an absorbing portrait of the artist, as well as an intimate encounter with the man himself. From his secluded home and painting studio in the Hollywood Hills, a candid Lynch conjures people and places from his past, from his boyhood to his experiences at art school to the beginnings of his filmmaking career—in stories that unfold like scenes from his movies. This remarkable documentary by Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm travels back to Lynch’s early years as a painter and director drawn to the phantasmagoric, while also illuminating his enduring commitment to what he calls “the art life”: “You drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes, and you paint, and that’s it.” SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with codirector Jon Nguyen.

Tuesday, September 10

Short + Feature: Reclaimed Images

Mobilize and Touki Bouki

Two boundary-pushing filmmakers bring an experimental edge to these dazzling explorations of colonialism, tradition, and modernity. A featured work in this year’s Whitney Biennial, Algonquin-French artist Caroline Monnet’s short Mobilize is an exhilarating, rhythmically edited collage crafted from found footage of Canada’s indigenous First Nations people. Its whirlwind avant-garde technique makes it a bracing companion to Djibril Diop Mambéty’s landmark Touki Bouki, which bristles with a similarly kinetic energy in its freewheeling portrait of a pair of restless young lovers in 1970s Senegal.

Wednesday, September 11

Harlan County USA: Criterion Collection Edition #334

Barbara Kopple’s Academy Award–winning Harlan County USA unflinchingly documents a grueling coal miners’ strike in a small Kentucky town. With unprecedented access, Kopple and her crew captured the miners’ sometimes violent struggles with strikebreakers, local police, and company thugs. Featuring a haunting soundtrack—with legendary country and bluegrass artists Hazel Dickens, Merle Travis, Sarah Gunning, and Florence Reece—the film is a heartbreaking record of the thirteen-month struggle between a community fighting to survive and a corporation dedicated to the bottom line. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary by Barbara Kopple and editor Nancy Baker, a documentary on the making of the film, an interview with Hazel Dickens, and more.

Friday, September 13

Double Feature: Drama Queen of England

Oh! What a Lovely War and Sparrows Can’t Sing

Dubbed the “mother of modern theater,” iconoclastic director Joan Littlewood revolutionized the British stage with her groundbreaking experimental production of the stinging World War I musical satire Oh! What a Lovely War—which was subsequently turned into an acclaimed film directed by Richard Attenborough with an all-star cast including Maggie Smith, Dirk Bogarde, John Gielgud, and Laurence Olivier. The only film directed by Littlewood, Sparrows Can’t Sing is a vivid, freewheeling portrait of East End London in the 1960s that displays the same improvisational spirit and commitment to working-class authenticity that distinguished her stage work.

Saturday, September 14

Saturday Matinee: Pather Panchali

With the release in 1955 of Satyajit Ray’s debut, Pather Panchali, an eloquent and important new cinematic voice made itself heard all over the world. A depiction of rural Bengali life in a style inspired by Italian neorealism, this naturalistic but poetic evocation of a number of years in the life of a family introduces us to both little Apu and, just as essentially, the women who will help shape him: his independent older sister, Durga; his harried mother, Sarbajaya, who, with her husband away, must hold the family together; and his kindly and mischievous elderly “auntie,” Indir—vivid, multifaceted characters all. With resplendent photography informed by its young protagonist’s perpetual sense of discovery, Pather Panchali, which won an award for Best Human Document at Cannes, is an immersive cinematic experience and a film of elemental power. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with members of the cast and crew, an audio recording of Satyajit Ray reading from his essay “A Long Time on the Little Road,” and a documentary excerpt featuring composer Ravi Shankar.

Sunday, September 15

Starring Laurence Olivier

Featuring a 1973 interview with Olivier

Heralded by many as the greatest actor of his generation, Laurence Olivier wed the gravitas of a classically trained thespian with the dashing charisma of a modern movie star. After conquering the London stage in the 1930s, he found success on-screen with his iconic portrayal of the brooding Heathcliff in William Wyler’s classic adaptation of Wuthering Heights. He went on to cement his reputation as the leading Shakespeare interpreter of the era by directing and starring in some of the finest adaptations of the Bard ever committed to film, including the lavish Technicolor spectacle Henry V and the Academy Award–winning Hamlet, to which he brought fresh psychological insight and a dynamic expressionist style. Continuing to work tirelessly throughout his later career, he was lacerating as a washed-up music hall performer in Tony Richardson’s The Entertainer, memorably terrifying as a sadistic Nazi dentist in John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man, and appropriately poignant in his final film appearance in Derek Jarman’s War Requiem.

  • Perfect Understanding, Cyril Gardner, 1933
  • Fire over England, William K. Howard, 1937
  • The Divorce of Lady X, Tim Whelan, 1938
  • Wuthering Heights, William Wyler, 1939
  • Q Planes, Tim Whelan, Arthur B. Woods, 1939
  • That Hamilton Woman, Alexander Korda, 1941
  • 49th Parallel, Michael Powell, 1941
  • Henry V, Laurence Olivier, 1944
  • Hamlet, Laurence Olivier, 1948
  • Richard III, Laurence Olivier, 1955
  • The Entertainer, Tony Richardson, 1960
  • Oh! What a Lovely War, Richard Attenborough, 1969
  • Marathon Man, John Schlesinger, 1976
  • War Requiem, Derek Jarman, 1989

Monday, September 16

Tanner ’88: Criterion Collection Edition #258

In 1988, renegade filmmaker Robert Altman and Pulitzer Prize–winning Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau created a presidential candidate, ran him alongside the other hopefuls during the primary season, and presented their media campaign as a cross between a soap opera and TV news. The result was the groundbreaking Tanner ’88, a piercing satire of media-age American politics, in which actors Michael Murphy (as contender Jack Tanner) and Cynthia Nixon (as his daughter) rub elbows on the campaign trail with real-life political players Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, Bob Dole, Ralph Nader, Kitty Dukakis, and Gloria Steinem, among many others. The Criterion Channel is proud to present the complete eleven-episode television series—more relevant today than ever. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Episode introductions featuring members of the cast and a conversation between Robert Altman and Gary Trudeau.

Tuesday, September 17

Short + Feature: War-Torn Youth

The Chicken and Come and See

The ravages of war are seen through the eyes of its youngest victims in these shattering tales of children forced to grow up too soon. Una Gunjak’s The Chicken is a wrenchingly intimate look at the 1990s Bosnian War as experienced by a young girl only just awakening to the violence that surrounds her. Then, a teenage boy gets a devastating firsthand introduction to the horrors of World War II when he joins the Belarusian resistance in Elem Klimov’s harrowing masterpiece Come and See, one of the most intense and haunting antiwar films of all time.

Wednesday, September 18

White Material: Criterion Collection Edition #560

In White Material, the great contemporary French filmmaker Claire Denis, known for her restless, intimate dramas, introduces an unforgettably crazed character. Played by a ferocious Isabelle Huppert, Maria is an entitled white woman living in Africa, desperately unwilling to give up her family’s crumbling coffee plantation despite the civil war closing in on her. Created with Denis’s signature full-throttle visual style, which places the viewer at the center of the maelstrom, White Material is a gripping evocation of the death throes of European colonialism and a fascinating look at a woman lost in her own mind. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Interviews with Claire Denis and actors Isabelle Huppert and Isaach de Bankolé, a short documentary by Denis on the film’s premiere in Cameroon, and more.

Thursday, September 19

Shorts for Days: Cityscapes

Featuring a new introduction by Criterion Channel programmer Penelope Bartlett

The sights and sounds, hustle and bustle of the modern metropolis have long inspired filmmakers to develop a corresponding cinematic language to capture its frenetic energy. From the dizzying head-rush of Manhattan as seen through the kaleidoscopic lenses of D. A. Pennebaker and Hollis Frampton to the sly wit of Jean Vigo’s droll portrait of a French resort town to the idiosyncratic musings of Chris Marker’s offbeat Chinese travelogue, these miniature city symphonies pulse with the rhythms and happenstance poetry of the urban landscape.

  • À propos de Nice, Jean Vigo and Boris Kaufman, 1930
  • N.U., Michelangelo Antonioni, 1948
  • Daybreak Express, D. A. Pennebaker, 1953
  • Sunday in Peking, Chris Marker, 1956
  • Surface Tension, Hollis Frampton, 1968
  • The Black Balloon, Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie, 2012

Friday, September 20

Double Feature: Murder Most Funny

Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ruling Class

Murder, insanity, and revenge are the macabre ingredients of these devilish black comedies, wicked send-ups of the British class system carried off with a droll, distinctively English wit. In the Ealing Studios classic Kind Hearts and Coronets, the chameleonic Alec Guinness plays the eight members of an aristocratic family standing between a scheming distant relation and the title of duke. Nothing a little homicide can’t fix! Equally virtuosic is Peter O’Toole’s whirlwind turn as a delusional nobleman who thinks he’s Jack the Ripper in the dark satire The Ruling Class, a gleefully irreverent takedown of the sacred pillars of English society.

Saturday, September 21

Saturday Matinee: No Greater Glory

One of the unsung masterpieces of 1930s cinema, this adaptation of Ferenc Molnár’s novel The Paul Street Boys concerns the conflict that erupts between two rival street gangs—a group of kids versus a band of older boys—as they fight for the right to play in a vacant lot. When the frail young Nemeecsek (George P. Breakston) gets involved in the scuffle, the boys’ war games become all too real. Sensitively directed by Frank Borzage, who invests this searing allegory with depths of profound human feeling, No Greater Glory stands as one of the greatest and most powerful antiwar films ever made.

Sunday, September 22

Rian Johnson’s Adventures in Moviegoing

The director of inventive indie hits like Looper and Brick, Rian Johnson brought his unique sensibility to the multiplex with the 2017 blockbuster Star Wars: The Last Jedi. A passionate cinephile, he sat down with Alicia Malone to present a lineup of favorites that unsurprisingly reflect his fascination with dark science fiction and troubled psychological undercurrents. From a time-traveling short by Chris Marker to a dystopian epic by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Shane Carruth’s sui generis head trip Upstream Color, his selections display the same intelligent, inventive approach to genre that he brings to his own work.

  • La Jetée, Chris Marker, 1963
  • 8½, Federico Fellini, 1963
  • World on a Wire, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973
  • F for Fake, Orson Welles, 1975
  • Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979
  • Upstream Color, Shane Carruth, 2013

Tuesday, September 24

Short + Feature: Hail Mary Full of Grace?

Misterio and Viridiana

Two Spanish films take a decidedly irreverent view of the Catholic faith. The Virgin Mary speaks to a believer through the back of a man’s neck in the 2013 short Misterio, by Spanish filmmaker Chema García Ibarra, an avowed devotee of Luis Buñuel. Then, a devout nun struggles through a fallen world in Buñuel’s 1961 masterpiece Viridiana, which was roundly denounced by the Vatican upon its premiere.

Wednesday, September 25

Directed by Lina Wertmüller

Featuring Behind the White Glasses, a documentary portrait of Wertmüller by Valerio Ruiz, from 2015

Provocative, outrageous, and larger-than-life, the films of Italian iconoclast Lina Wertmüller thrilled and shocked audiences alike in the 1970s with their heady blend of sex, politics, and satire. The first woman nominated for a best director Oscar—for her succès de scandale Seven Beauties—Wertmüller frequently courted controversy with her uncompromisingly idiosyncratic takes on gender and class in audacious seriocomedies like The Seduction of Mimi and Swept Away. As irreverently caustic and wickedly entertaining as ever, her films stand as incendiary and trenchant commentaries on the rifts—between men and women, the North and the South, capitalism and communism, the powerful and the powerless—within Italian society.

  • The Seduction of Mimi, 1972
  • Love and Anarchy, 1973
  • All Screwed Up, 1974
  • Swept Away, 1974
  • Seven Beauties, 1975
  • Summer Night, 1986
  • Ferdinando and Carolina, 1999

Thursday, September 26

Directed by Christian Petzold

Featuring a new introduction by critic Girish Shambu

Past and present seem to coexist in an uneasy state somewhere between dreams and waking reality in the films of contemporary German auteur Christian Petzold. Toying with classic genre conventions—horror, thriller, noir, melodrama—he obsessively reworks them to create quietly riveting, slow-burn spellbinders that speak both to the trauma of Germany’s turbulent twentieth-century history and to the political anxieties of contemporary life. All starring his frequent collaborator, the mesmerizing Nina Hoss, these films—including his international breakout Jerichow and the stunning World War II mystery Phoenix—are at once elegantly restrained and profoundly emotional reflections on lives in limbo.

  • Yella, 2007
  • Jerichow, 2008
  • Barbara, 2012
  • Phoenix, 2014

Friday, September 27

Double Feature: Phantom Worlds

Yella and Carnival of Souls

A loose remake of Herk Harvey’s legendary surrealist nightmare Carnival of Souls, Christian Petzold’s acclaimed metaphysical thriller Yella similarly follows a woman who, after surviving a car accident, finds herself adrift in a haunted world—in this case, the soulless corporate limbo of post-reunification Germany. While the horror may be less overt than in Harvey’s cult classic, the sense of existential dread and spectral mystery is no less chilling.

Saturday, September 28

The Circus: Criterion Collection Edition #996

In the last film he made during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin revels in the art of the circus, paying tribute to the acrobats and pantomimists who inspired his virtuoso pratfalls. After being mistaken for a pickpocket, Chaplin’s Tramp flees into the ring of a traveling circus and soon becomes the star of the show, falling for the troupe’s bareback rider along the way. Despite its famously troubled production, this gag-packed comedy ranks among Chaplin’s finest, thanks to some of the most audacious set pieces of the director-performer’s career, including a close brush with a lion and a climactic tightrope walk with a barrelful of monkeys. The Circus, which was rereleased in 1969 with a new score by Chaplin, is an uproarious high-wire act that showcases silent cinema’s most popular entertainer at the peak of his comic powers. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary featuring Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance, an interview with Chaplin, outtakes, documentaries on the film, and more.

Sunday, September 29

The Complete Jean-Pierre Melville

Featuring a profile of Meville from the series Cinéastes de notre temps

Take a helping of American pulp cinema, add a twist of French cool, and a dash of Japanese samurai lore, and you’ve got the maverick sensibility of Jean-Pierre Melville, a trench-coat-sporting, sunglasses-wearing, chain-smoking renegade auteur who made movies according to his own rules and laid the groundwork for the French New Wave. Maintaining an extraordinary degree of creative independence throughout his career, he forged a distinctive style characterized by a hard-boiled minimalism and existentialist worldview in stylishly spartan crime dramas like Bob le flambeur, Le doulos, Le samouraï, and Le cercle rouge, frequently starring ice-cool icons like Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo as his lone wolf antiheroes. While best known for his noirs, Melville’s work outside the genre was equally fascinating, as seen in the outré psychosexual drama Léon Morin, Priest and the haunting French Resistance epic Army of Shadows, considered by many to be his masterpiece.

  • 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown, 1946
  • Le silence de la mer, 1949
  • Les enfants terribles, 1950
  • When You Read This Letter, 1953
  • Bob le flambeur, 1956
  • Two Men in Manhattan, 1959
  • Leon Morin, Priest, 1961
  • Le doulos, 1962
  • Magnet of Doom, 1963
  • Le deuxième souffle, 1966
  • Le samouraï, 1967
  • Army of Shadows, 1969
  • Le cercle rouge, 1970
  • Un flic, 1972

Monday, September 30

Observations on Film Art #31: Comedy, Suspense, and Three-Point Lighting in To Be or Not To Be

In his audacious political satire To Be or Not to Be, Ernst Lubitsch pulls off the seemingly impossible by using a deadly serious, then-unfolding crisis—the Nazi occupation of Poland—as the backdrop for a hilarious and subversive screwball comedy. In this episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson explores how Lubitsch and cinematographer Rudolph Maté make sophisticated use of lighting to mark the film’s daring shifts in in tone and genre, from farce to espionage thriller to dark drama.

Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:

  • 35 Shots of Rum, Claire Denis, 2008**
  • A Dry White Season, Euzhan Palcy, 1989
  • A Kind of Loving, John Schlesinger, 1962
  • All Screwed Up, Lina Wertmüller, 1974
  • Barbara, Christian Petzold, 2012
  • Behind the White Glasses, Valerio Ruiz, 2015
  • Billy Liar, John Schlesinger, 1963
  • Bob le flambeur, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1956
  • The Chicken, Una Gunjak, 2014
  • Darling, John Schlesinger, 1965
  • David Lynch: The Art Life, Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm, 2016
  • Escape from New York, John Carpenter, 1981
  • The Falcon and the Snowman, John Schlesinger, 1985
  • Ferdinando and Carolina, Lina Wertmüller, 1999
  • Fishing with John, John Lurie, 1992
  • Fire over England, William K. Howard, 1937
  • Grand Illusion, Jean Renoir, 1937
  • Honky Tonk Freeway, John Schlesinger, 1981**
  • Jerichow, Christian Petzold, 2008**
  • Le cercle rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970
  • Le doulos, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1962
  • Le trou, Jacques Becker, 1960
  • Leon Morin, Priest, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961
  • Les misérables, Raymond Bernard, 1934
  • Love and Anarchy, Lina Wertmüller, 1973
  • Marathon Man, John Schlesinger, 1976
  • Midnight Cowboy, John Schlesinger, 1969
  • Mobilize, Caroline Monnet, 2015**
  • Of Mice and Men, Lewis Milestone, 1939
  • Oh! What a Lovely War, Richard Attenborough, 1969
  • On the Border, Wei Shujun, 2018
  • Perfect Understanding, Cyril Gardner, 1933
  • Phantom India, Louis Malle, 1969
  • The Seduction of Mimi, Lina Wertmüller, 1972
  • Seven Beauties, Lina Wertmüller, 1975
  • Sparrows Can’t Sing, Joan Littlewood, 1963
  • Stalag 17, Billy Wilder, 1953
  • Summer Night, Lina Wertmüller, 1986
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday, John Schlesinger, 1971
  • Swept Away, Lina Wertmüller, 1974
  • Two Men in Manhattan, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1959
  • Un flic, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1972
  • Upstream Color, Shane Carruth, 2013
  • War Requiem, Derek Jarman, 1989
  • When You Read This Letter, Jean-Pierre Melville, 1953**
  • Wuthering Heights, William Wyler, 1939
  • Yella, Christian Petzold, 2007**

**Not available in Canada

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Top Five Home Video Releases: July 2019 https://criterioncast.com/news/top-five-home-video-releases-july-2019 Wed, 07 Aug 2019 16:00:54 +0000 https://criterioncast.com/?p=61611

It’s a new month, and with that, some retrospection. Each month, hundreds of home video releases hit the streets, and who better to curate the best of the best than us here at The CriterionCast. So with that, here are the five best home video releases of July 2019, as per yours truly:

5. Luis Bunuel x2 (Kino Lorber)

Starting off this recap of July 2019’s best home video releases are a pair of the latest releases to come out of the much publicized partnership between Kino Lorber and StudioCanal. Via Kino’s mainline home video label (not the Studio Classics line that sees some StudioCanal films also get released as Kino’s apparently focused on flooding the market with these things), the company released two films by Luis Bunuel. The pair of The Milky Way and Death In The Garden were released into the wild during July, and are truly exciting updated releases of some of Bunuel’s great, unsung masterworks. Milky Way is arguably the more well known given its status as a former Criterion Collection DVD, and it’s the prototypical Bunuel film. Transgressive, provocative and of literary origins, Milky Way is a captivating and biting satire about Catholicism and its fanatical nature. Made 13 years earlier, Death In The Garden is widely considered one of Bunuel’s most underseen gems, a Simone Signoret-starring black comedy about faith in the face of a growing revolt in an Amazonian mining town. Both films look absolutely incredible on Blu-ray, with the lush Amazon-setting really popping off the screen in Death In The Garden. Both releases also look quite similar in the supplemental materials with commentaries (critic Samm Deighan on Death and critic Nick Pinkerton on Milky Way), essays (critics Peter Tonguette and Adam Nayman in the same order) and interviews (critic Tony Rayns and writer Jean-Claude Carriere). Despite being 13 years apart, both films feel oddly similar in their relationship to faith, and make for interesting bedfellows thanks to Kino’s placement here on the July release slate.

4. Fragment Of An Empire (Flicker Alley)

Next up is the first of two releases from Flicker Alley this month. Fragment Of An Empire is the final silent film from legendary Russian filmmaker Fridrikh Ermler, and tells the story of Filimonov, a former Great War soldier who, upon returning to life as a civilian, is revealed to be suffering from amnesia. Upon discovering he had a life prior to the moment he’s living at the start of the film, he tries to go back home only to see that the world that gave birth to him has evolved on an almost DNA level. The film stars legendary Russian actor Fiodor Nikitin, a method performer who actually spent time as a doctor’s assistant in order to dive head first into this role as an amnesiac war veteran, and thanks to a new restoration from 2018, Fragment is an incredibly thrilling, wildly radical rumination on Soviet society in the wake of grad societal change. The film’s most radical moments come in the beginning of the film, as viewers bare witness to Filimonov’s mental break, with things like sewing machine’s triggering thoughts of machine gun fire in our lead’s uneasy mind. There’s a particular scene involving a man begging for help from a mysterious, haunting gas mask-wearing figure nailed to a cross, that’s one of the most terrifying, haunting sequences you’ll ever seen in silent cinema. These sequences feel all the more shattering thanks to a new, incredibly rich restoration, based primarily on a top notch 35mm nitrate print from Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. The black and white photography is rich and textured, and despite being the very roots of modern filmmaking, the use of montage filmmaking here feels, in 2019, oddly thrilling and experimental. Supplemental material is in no short order here either, as besides a poster gallery and compelling composed “Souvenir Booklet” (which has a must-read essay from Russian film scholar Peter Bagrov, an essential read for those wanting to know more about the historical context of the film) there’s a restoration demonstration and, most importantly, a commentary track with Bagrov and a member of the restoration team Peter Byrne. This commentary track is a must-listen much in the same way the essay in the booklet is, as the pair of Bagrov and Byrne give much needed context to both the historical moment from whence this film came and also the type of work taken on in order to really bring this film back to life on a filmic level.

3. The BRD Trilogy (The Criterion Collection)

Next up is a wishlist item for many diehard Criterion Collection fans. Long considered one of the great “Out Of Print” releases, Criterion has brought back their incomparable box set of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s brilliant BRD Trilogy. Collecting the films The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss and Lola, this box set is a mammoth, historic deep dive into one of the great runs in the career of a master filmmaker. Billed as Fassbinder’s attempt to dig into the history of postwar Germany, this trio of films are some of the filmmaker’s most enticing works, with films like Maria Braun not only becoming something of a box office hit but fully extending the director’s interest in melodrama and classic Hollywood cinema. Lola is maybe the most radical film here, with the director taking inspiration from Josef von Sternberg’s masterpiece The Blue Angel, only to amplify the color photography, turning the film into something of a surrealist, impressionistic capitalist satire. All three films are true-blue masterpieces, and this box set does them a true service. Criterion brings new 4K restorations of Braun and Lola, and while it appears as though the new “Blu-grade” is a simple port of the DVD, some supplements here are absolutely worth revisiting. The commentaries are important texts (Wim Wenders and Michael Ballhaus on Braun, Tony Rayns on Veronika and scholar Christian Braad Thomsen on Lola) and the inclusion of the feature length biographical documentary I Don’t Just Want You To Love Me is truly exciting. The booklet as well, with production histories from author Michael Toteberg and an essay from Kent Jones, is an important text that helps give further cultural context to the films and contextualizes this trilogy as the foundation on which Fassbinder “would build his house.” A must-own Criterion Collection release.

2. L’Argent (Flicker Alley)

The second the Flicker Alley pairing here, L’Argent is one of the great discoveries I as a film critic have made this year. From director Marcel L’Herbier and based on the Emile Zola novel of the same name, L’Argent draws from the stock market narrative of Zola’s legendary novel and tells the story of two bankers caught in the throes of battle over the control of a large bank and their stock market positioning. Saccard and Gundermann attempt to undermine one another in ways that range from the seemingly innocuous (buying stock of a different bank only to sell them which in turn tanks the stock) to Saccard’s attempt to seduce a pilot’s wife while sending him away to secure support for his bank with holders in Latin America. An opulent, almost baroquely composed silent film, L’Argent is a kinetic, lushly composed film with gorgeous black and white photography that was L’Herbier’s attempt to combat the rise of more bombastic film offerings from France and the US, doing so by crafting a film full of gorgeous costumes, eye-popping set design (there’s a sequence involving a room built by walls mimicking the map of the world that’s one of the more strange moments in all of silent film) and the use of nearly 1500 extras. It’s simply unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And thankfully, the new Blu-ray is also quite special. With a new 4K restoration, the Blu-ray comes with a photo gallery and “Souvenir Booklet,” which includes a superb essay from scholar Mireille Beaulieu. Also included here is a L’Herbier-directed short film about a banker seducing a vampire which is enthralling (entitled Prometheus Banker), a restoration comparison between the 1971 and 2019 versions and a making of documentary directed by L’Herbier’s assistant Jean Dreville, which is a groundbreaking dive into the production of the film that pairs L’Herbier’s comments from 1971 with actual footage of the film being made. It’s an incredible document and really elevates this Blu-ray into a special stratosphere.

1. Klute (The Criterion Collection)

However, there’s only ever one possible release that could top this month’s list. Released in July, Criterion once again leapt into the world of New Hollywood cinema with their incredible release of 1971’s masterful Klute. From director Alan J. Pakula, Klute tells the story of Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda), a call girl who becomes engrossed in a missing persons case being run by detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland), turning what appears to be an attempt at something resembling a neo-realist story of an escort in a 1970s New York that slowly evolves into something much more paranoid, much more stylized. Pairing Pakula with Gordon Willis, the film has an incredibly esoteric style, being moody in a way that feels right not just for New York from this time period but more broadly an America slowly coming undone. Fonda is impossibly brilliant here, giving an incredibly nuanced and human performance as Bree Daniels, a woman whose style would go on to influence a generation, and whose self-assured edginess would spark a new type of screen presence. Sutherland often gets overlooked here due to the shooting star that is Fonda, but he’s also quite great, and pairs perfectly opposite her. As far as supplemental material, there seems to be no end to it on this release. The new 4K restoration is bewilderingly gorgeous, really bringing back to life the brilliance of Willis’ photography, and archival interviews with Pakula and Fonda are quite compelling. There are two new programs that are some of the best supplements of the year from Criterion, with Jane Fonda in conversation with actress Illeana Douglas really being the place to start. The second one is much more broad, including interviews with scholars (Annette Insdorf), filmmakers (Steven Soderbergh) and actors (Charles Cioffi), all talking about Pakula and his influence on cinema. Finally, and this one had myself eager to see it, there’s a short documentary entitled Klute In New York, which looks at the film’s production and particularly the New York it aspired to be a document of. Anyone fascinated by the history of the Big Apple will find this to be an utterly enthralli