Many people talk about the importance of day and date delivery for home media, and the eventual shift towards that model. Over the past few months, we’ve seen several Criterion Collection films available on the day of their DVD/Blu-ray releases, including Paris Texas, Rome Open City, Che, and Summer Hours.
This past Friday, Netflix quietly added three more Criterion Collection films to their Watch Instantly selection, including another film that hasn’t even been released on DVD / Blu-ray yet: Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Secret of the Grain. This is set to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 27th, so get a sneak peak now!
Another recent Criterion / IFC release was also made available last week: Jan Troell‘s Everlasting Moments, which just received a tremendous DVD and Blu-ray debut, with cover and interior art by the graphic designer Sam’s Myth.
Finally, available now to stream is Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, to perhaps cool you down during these ridiculously hot summer days.
Two other non-Criterion titles that were made available for Watch Instantly, tangentially related to the Criterion Collection, are Gus Van Sant‘s (Mala Noche, My Own Private Idaho) Paranoid Park; and Guy Maddin‘s (Brand Upon the Brain) My Winnipeg.
In Arnaud Desplechin’s beguiling A Christmas Tale (Un conte de NoÃ«l), Catherine Deneuve brings her legendary poise to the role of Junon, matriarch of the troubled Vuillard family, who come together at Christmas after she learns she needs a bone marrow transplant from a blood relative. That simple family reunion setup, however, can’t begin to describe the unpredictable, emotionally volatile experience of this film, an inventive, magical drama that’s equal parts merriment and melancholy. Unrequited childhood loves and blinding grudges, brutal outbursts and sudden slapstick, music, movies, and poetry, A Christmas Tale ties it all together in a marvelously messy package.
Swedish master Jan Troell, director of the beloved classics The Emigrants and The New Land, returns triumphantly with Everlasting Moments, the vivid, heartrending story of a woman liberated by art at the beginning of the twentieth century. Though poor and abused by her alcoholic husband, Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen, in a beautifully nuanced portrayal) finds an outlet in photography, which opens up her world for the first time. With a burnished bronze tint that evokes faded photographs, and a broad empathetic palette, Everlasting Moments‘”based on a true story’”is a miraculous tribute to the power of image making.
The winner of four César awards, including best picture and director, Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Secret of the Grain is a stirring drama about the daily joys and struggles of a bustling French-Arab family. It has the texture of a documentary but a classic, almost Shakespearean structure: when patriarch Slimane acts on his wish to open a portside restaurant specializing in his ex-wife’s couscous and fish, the extended clan’s passions and problems explode, leading to an engrossing, suspenseful climax. With sensitivity and grit, The Secret of the Grain celebrates the role food plays in family life and gets to the core of contemporary immigrant experience.