Category: Criterion Discovery

Criterion Discovery: Sisters of the Gion

Background Sisters of the Gion is a Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. It was originally released in 1936 and released on Criterion DVD on October 21, 2008 as part of the Criterion subset, Eclipse Series 13: Kenji Mizoguchi’s Fallen Women, combining Osaka Elegy, Sisters of the Gion, Women of the Night, and Street of Shame as a box set. The Story Two sisters, living in the Gion district, find themselves on different paths. While both working as geishas, one sister yearns for a more progressive lifestyle while the other is subservient. The Film The film opens in a state...

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Criterion Discovery: An Autumn Afternoon

Background An Autumn Afternoon (Spine #446) is the final film directed by Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu. Theatrically released in 1962, Ozu’s swan song saw its initial Criterion release on DVD on September 29, 2008, before being subsequently remastered and released on Blu-Ray on February 17, 2015. The following Ozu films are also in The Criterion Collection: Good Morning (Spine #84), Tokyo Story (Spine #217), Floating Weeds (Spine #232), Early Summer (Spine #240), Late Spring (Spine #331), The Only Son/There Was a Father (Spine #524), Early Spring (Eclipse Series #3), Tokyo Twilight (Eclipse Series #3), Equinox Flower (Eclipse Series #3), Late...

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Criterion Discovery: Identification of a Woman

Background Identification of a Woman is an Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. It was originally released in 1982, and was released on Criterion Blu-Ray on October 25th, 2011 as spine #585. This marked Antonioni’s sixth film to be selected for the collection, the others being: La Notte (Spine #678), L’elisse (Spine #278), Red Desert (Spine #522), L’Avventura (Spine #98), and for writing, Frederico Fellini’s The White Shiek (Spine #189). Story After his wife leaves him, director Niccolo begins to work on his new film. During this period, he spends time searching for a leading woman for both his film...

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Criterion Discovery: Kicking and Screaming

Background Kicking and Screaming (Spine #349) is the feature film debut from American writer and director Noah Baumbach, and was originally released in 1995. It received its Criterion release on DVD on August 21, 2006. Noah Baumbach has one other film included in The Criterion Collection: Frances Ha (Spine #681), an equally impressive independent film on youth in revolt. In addition, the Wes Anderson features The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Spine #300) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (Spine #700) are both projects to which Baumbach is accredited as a screenwriter. Story Grover (Josh Hamilton) is a recent graduate of...

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Criterion Discovery: Scanners

Background Scanners (Criterion Spine # 712) is a Canadian film that was originally released in 1981. It received its Criterion release on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 15, 2014. David Cronenberg has three other films in the collection: Naked Lunch (Spine #220), Videodrome (Spine #248) and one of my personal favorites, Dead Ringers (Spine #21) which is unfortunately out of print. Criterion also released a restored version of The Brood on iTunes and Hulu, suggesting a future DVD and Blu-Ray release (fingers crossed). Story Cameron Vale (Steven Lack), a telepath known as a Scanner is recruited by weapons company ConSec...

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Criterion Discovery: Walkabout

Background Walkabout (Criterion Spine #10) is an English film shot in Australia and originally released in 1971. Its Criterion Blu-Ray release came on May 18, 2010. Nichols Roeg (<3) has four other films in the collection:  Don’t Look Now (Spine #745), Bad Timing (Spine #303), Insignificance (Spine #566), and one of the oddest films  ever, The Man Who Fell to Earth (Spine #304), which is currently out of print. Story Siblings, played by Jenny Agutter and Luc Roeg, are displaced in the Australian Outback after their father loses his mind. As they wander and adapt to the living conditions, they...

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Criterion Discovery: Short Cuts

Background Short Cuts, directed by the great Robert Altman, was released in 1993. It was released as a Criterion DVD on October 4th, 2008 as spine #265. It has yet to be released on Criterion Blu-Ray. Short Cuts is one of the five films Altman has in the Collection, the others being Nashville (spine #683), 3 Women (spine #230), Secret Honor (spine #257), and Tanner ‘88 (spine #258). Story Based on a series of Raymond Carver short stories, Short Cuts tells the sprawling collection tale of the lives of twenty-two people in Los Angeles intersecting over the period of...

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Criterion Discovery: Breathless

Background Breathless was released in 1960 and was directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It was released by Criterion on DVD on October 23, 2007 and on Blu-Ray on February 25, 2014, as spine #408. Godard is a Criterion favorite, having also directed Alphaville (spine #25), Contempt (spine #171), Band of Outsiders (spine #174), A Woman is a Woman (spine #238), Tout va bien (spine #275), Masculin féminin (spine #308), Pierrot le fou (spine #421), Made in U.S.A. (spine #481), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (spine #482), Vivre sa vie (spine #512), Weekend (spine #635), and Every Man...

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Criterion Discovery: L’avventura

Background Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, L’avventura is an Italian film from 1960. Its original Criterion release (DVD) was on June 5th 2001 and it was later released on Blu-Ray on November 25th 2014 as spine #98. It is one of five films that Antonioni has on the Criterion Collection, which include La Notte (Spine #678), L’eclisse (Spine #278), Red Desert (#522), Identification of a Woman (Spine #585), and his writing credit for Federico Fellini’s The White Shiek (Spine #189). Story When a young woman goes missing on a boat trip, the search brings her lover and best friend together,...

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Criterion Discovery: Gimme Shelter

Background Gimme Shelter was released in 1970 and directed by Albert and David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin. The film was released by Criterion on December 1st, 2009 as spine #99. The Maysles Brothers and Zwerin also directed spine #122, The Salesman, and The Maysles Brothers directed spine #123, Grey Gardens, and spine #361, The Beales of Grey Gardens. Story The documentary follows The Rolling Stones on their 1969 US tour, and its violent conclusion at the Altamont Free Concert in Northern California. Film Often considered one of the greatest documentaries of all time, Gimme Shelter is known for its...

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Criterion Discovery: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

Background The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp was released in 1943 and was directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It was released by Criterion on DVD on October 22, 2002, and on Blu-Ray on March 19, 2013, as spine #173. Powell and Pressburger also directed The Red Shoes (spine #44), Black Narcissus (spine #93), I Know Where I’m Going! (spine #94), The Tales of Hoffmann (spine #317), A Canterbury Tale (spine #341), and The Small Back Room (spine #441). On his own, Powell directed Peeping Tom (spine #58) and 49th Parallel (spine #376); he was also a...

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Criterion Discovery: Close-Up

Background Close-Up was released in 1990 and was directed by Abbas Kiarostami. It was released by Criterion on DVD and Blu-Ray on June 22, 2010 as spine #519. He also directed Taste of Cherry (spine #45), Certified Copy (spine #612), and Like Someone in Love (spine #708). His film The Traveler is also included in the Close-Up release. Story The story of Close-Up is the story of the making of Close-Up. It begins with a troubled young man named Hossein Sabzian, who impersonated the famous Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf for a family of cinéastes. After Sabzian was discovered and...

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Criterion Discovery: Revanche

Background Revanche is an Austrian film directed by Gotz Spielmann. It was originally released in 2008 and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards. It was later released on Blu-Ray, apart of the Criterion Collection, on February 16th, 2010, as spine #502. This is the only Speilmann film on the collection (his short Foreign Land is in the supplements section of this release), and this is the first of his films to be released in the United States. Story Alex (Johannes Krisch) begins working at a brothel after getting out of prison.  He sparks a...

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Criterion Discovery: Children of Paradise

  Background Children of Paradise was originally released in France in 1945 with the title Les enfants du paradis.  The Criterion Collection released the film on Blu-Ray as Spine # 141, after having previously been releases on DVD.  The film was directed by Marcel Carné, who has four total films in the collection:  Port of Shadows (Spine #245), Le jour se lève (Essential Art House DVD, out of print), and Les visiteurs du soir (Spine # 626). Story In 19th Century France, a charming and beautiful woman is romantically pursued by four different suitors:  a mime, a thief, a stage...

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Criterion Discovery: The Night of the Hunter

  Background The Night of the Hunter was released in 1955 and was directed by Charles Laughton. It was released by Criterion on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 16, 2010 as spine #541. It is the only film directed by Laughton in the collection, and in fact the only film he ever directed, but he starred in Spartacus (spine #105), Hobson’s Choice (spine #461), and Island of Lost Souls (spine #586), as well as The Private Life of Henry VIII and Rembrandt, which are included in Eclipse Series 16: Alexander Korda’s Private Lives. Story While in prison for stealing...

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