Sunday, April 20, 2008

Criterion Watch: The Return

Why the hell not, right? Who needs reasons when you've got Criterion? Plenty of good stuff on the way, including the DVDs that were just announced for July.

I'd have to say that Dreyer's Vampyr is the highlight for the new bunch. I realize there's already a DVD floating around, but the quality is kind of crappy and the extras are practically nonexistent. So now thanks to Criterion I'll have a worthy DVD of this to place alongside the other Dreyer classics in my collection.

I love the Tati I've seen, but for some reason I have yet to see his late-period film Trafic. This release means I have no excuse anymore.

Likewise, I haven't seen Jutra's Mon Oncle Antoine. But if it's good enough for Criterion, it's good enough for me.

And I would be remiss to overlook the new pressing of Kurosawa's masterful thriller High and Low. If nothing else, the new cover art...

... pretty much kicks the crap out of the original.

And speaking of cover art, Criterion's graphic designers are pretty much miracle workers. Check out what they've cooked up for the June's release of Paul Schrader's sublime Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters...

... and its companion piece, Mishima's own Patriotism.

Just... wow. Eye-popping stuff, especially the Schrader.

Finally, any thoughts on what the latest Criterion Newsletter hint might be?

They've already boxed Rohmer's Six Moral Tales, so it won't be that. I was stumped for a while, but an IMDb search revealed that Roberto Rossellini has made films about all three of the thinkers the hippo mentions, as well as- wait for it- Augustine of Hippo. So I'm thinking there will be a box set of Rossellini's historical films on the way.

Frankly, this is good news, and not simply for the obvious reasons. I've seen three Rossellini films to date- Open City, Voyage to Italy, and The Flowers of St. Francis. But while I respect his work, I have yet to find a movie of his that I can wholeheartedly embrace. It's an odd thing- the more I look the more acclaim I see for him, but I feel like I'm sort of on the outside looking in in this respect. Perhaps these later films will allow me to finally get with the program.

So what other acclaimed auteurs are in the pipeline for Criterion? I still think Max Ophüls would be an awesome fit, and most of his work is woefully unavailable on Region 1 DVD. A Criterion Letter From An Unknown Woman would be something I could definitely get behind.


Kza said...

I really thought Trafic was better than its reputation when I saw it on cruddy VHS, so this Criterion edition should be great. It is the small-scale Punch-Drunk Love to his hugely ambitious Magnolia, so keep that in mind, but I thought it was very fun and charming.

Steve said...

The Criterion boys should still have at least a MADAME DE... in the pipeline. I remember that being hinted at almost a year ago in one of the newsletters. So at least that's something.

Paul C. said...

Yeah, I figured that was on the way since Janus rereleased it in theatres last summer. But too much of his work isn't available at all, DVD or VHS, and I'm rarin' to see as much as I can.

Steve said...

Hey hey, a brief passage at the end of the latest On Five blog entry not only confirms your Rossellini guess as correct but also spills an upsoming Larissa Shepitko Eclipse set. Well fuck me crooked, I'm happy.