Despite continuing rumblings about the demise of movies-on-disk, numerous companies continue to produce excellent editions on disk of a vast range of movies covering the entire history of cinema. Once again in 2018 there were far more releases than even an obsessive viewer could keep up with.
Criterion have continued their efforts to restore the reputation of eclectic French filmmaker Julien Duvivier by following their Eclipse set of features from the 1930s with a stunning Blu-ray edition of his first post-war feature, Panique (1946), adapted from a very dark novel by Georges Simenon.
David Byrne’s True Stories is a utopian vision of America as it would like to see itself, the mythic melting pot in which it’s possible for anyone to achieve fulfillment of their personal dreams. Criterion’s new Blu-ray release delivers a superb visual and audio treatment of this charming movie.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s early television series Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (1972-73) is a real discovery, a warm, funny, richly layered melodrama depicting the lives of a working class family navigating personal relationships in the context of economic and political constraints in post-war capitalist Germany.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray release of Andrei Tarkovsky’s second feature, Andrei Rublev (1966), not only features a superb restoration of the director’s preferred 183-minute cut, but also a (much weaker) transfer of the original 205-minute version and a comprehensive selection of new and archival supplements which cover the production and meaning of this, the greatest of all historical epics.
Criterion’s Blu-ray release of Robert M. Young’s The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) gives new life to a remarkable but too-little known film which takes on greater urgency in the current political climate in the U.S.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) uses a 4K restoration by Sony from the original three-strip Technicolor negative and the film looks absolutely ravishing.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Victor Erice’s second feature, El Sur (1983), presents this exquisite depiction of childhood innocence and loss in a breathtakingly rich hi-def transfer, with excellent, informative supplements.
Two recent Criterion releases, Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills (2012) and Graduation (2016), illustrate the richness of the Romanian New Wave; formally rich, morally complex, and dramatically powerful, they both look superb on Blu-ray and Criterion supplements them with substantial contextual material which reveal Mungiu to be one of the finest artists working in film today.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Dead Man (1995) presents a luminous transfer of Jim Jarmusch’s masterpiece, a western which is also a poetic contemplation of the conflict between a material world and spiritual survival.