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.
Film history is full of lost movies and forgotten filmmakers, but the case of Sadao Yamanaka is one of the saddest; a brilliant director in 1930s Japan, he died young and all but three of his twenty-seven features are lost. The three that remain are all great works of narrative art.
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.
With the recent death of Brazilian filmmaker Nelson Pereira dos Santos, I’ve just re-watched his feature How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (1971), an ethnographic/historical/satirical depiction of the beginnings of European colonization of South America in the 16th Century.
The ambitious and very expensive early sound-era musical King of Jazz, featuring Paul Whiteman and his band, gets a spectacular restoration which makes the most of the original two-strip Technicolor process on Criterion’s extras-packed Blu-ray.
Criterion have followed their fine Eclipse set of Julien Duvivier films with a collection of features by another French director pushed into obscurity by the New Wave: Claude Autant-Lara, represented here by four films made during the German Occupation, all starring a fine but not well-known actress named Odette Joyeux.
A recent biography of Godzilla-director Ishiro Honda reveals far more facets than his image as a creator of giant monster rampages.
Takes From the Winnipeg Film Group, a new documentary by Dave Barbver and Kevin Nikkel tries to rein in the long and unruly history of the legendary film co-op.
Two Italian classics – Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby … Kill! (1966) and Pupi Avati’s Zeder (1983) – and an imaginative new movie – David Lowery’s A Ghost Story (2017) – offer differing thematic takes on survival after death.
Criterion’s exemplary release of Orson Welles’ Othello on Blu-ray presents both versions of one of the filmmaker’s most important films with an impressive collection of supplements which delve into the production and meaning of one of the most original cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare’s work.