Criterion have released a gorgeous restoration of Ermanno Olmi’s 1978 masterpiece The Tree of Wooden Clogs, supplementing this immersive epic of 19th Century peasant life with several epics which explore the origins of the project and Olmi’s methods of working with his remarkable non-professional cast.
Criterion resurrects an important American independent film with a stunning Blu-ray of Jack Garfein’s Something Wild (1961), a showcase for members of the Actors Studio and the Method.
Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog (2015) is a charming, discursive, ultimately deeply moving exploration of death, loss, grief and life. Criterion’s Blu-ray edition provides an illuminating conversation with the filmmaker about her art, her career, and her experience of life.
Criterion’s Blu-ray release of One-Eyed Jacks is one of the disk highlights of the year, its restored image and sound confirming this great western’s stature. Marlon Brando’s sole directing effort is a key transitional moment between the traditional western and the national myth it represented and the modern deconstruction of that myth by filmmakers like Sam Peckinpah and Arthur Penn.
Robert Altman’s masterpiece, McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), finally gets a worthy disk release. Criterion gives us a wonderful transfer along with almost three hours of informative supplements.
Criterion release a subtle masterpiece of Spanish cinema in Luis Garcia Berlanga’s The Executioner (1963), a dark critique of life under the Franco regime disguised as a domestic comedy.
Criterion releases some high-end trash with an extras-packed edition of Valley of the Dolls, and a collection of journalistic reviews by Graham Greene offers interesting insights into movies in the ’30s.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939) makes available one of the earliest masterpieces by this great Japanese director; although the film shows its age, the director’s remarkable technique of long takes and composition in depth is impressive.
I’ve recently been dipping into the ’60s and ’70s with two Criterion Blu-rays of major works by Orson Welles, a couple of Robert Altman’s signature titles, and a new J.G. Ballard adaptation from Ben Wheatley.
The Immortal Story (1968), Orson Welles’ last completed fiction feature, adapted from an Isak Dinesen story, gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Criterion with a collection of substantial supplements providing background and context for the director’s first colour feature, which is also the most erotic film he made.