August 2020 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced

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