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.
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.
In Visages Villages (2017), the 88-year old Agnes Varda, collaborating with photographer JR, continues to explore the lives of “ordinary” people while examining with fascination the process of her own aging.
Arrow Video has released an excellent Blu-ray edition of Georges Franju’s little-known third feature, Plein feux per l’assassin (Spotlight on a Murderer, 1961), which adds surreal touches to a country house mystery centred on the missing body of a dead nobleman and the bickering relatives who gather hoping to inherit.
Sacha Guitry’s La poison (1951) is a deceptively light and witty comedy about murder; beneath the surface it is a bitter dissection of a society devoid of morality.
Criterion’s Blu-ray edition of Marcel Pagnol’s Marseilles Trilogy is a revelation, a vibrant, humanistic display of the dramatic possibilities of sound cinema.
2016 was an impressive year for movies on disk, with a wide variety of new and classic releases, prestige productions and exploitation, and some interesting rediscoveries … too many to pick just a handful of “bests”.
Sometimes sharing a favourite movie doesn’t produce the reaction we expect; it can be puzzling, even a little painful to discover that a friend doesn’t always like the same things we do.
The French comic filmmaker Pierre Etaix, whose work spanned the decade of the ’60s only to vanish for 40 years before being rediscovered and restored in 2010, has died at the age of 87.
Criterion’s release of a key but little-known feature by Jean Renoir, the conceptually and stylistically sophisticated La Chienne, is essential viewing.