The Criterion Collection presents a new 4K restoration of Elia Kazan’s best film, A Face in the Crowd (1957). The excellent image showcases two of the finest performances of the 1950s: Andy Griffith in his screen debut as the countryboy-turned-demagogue Lonesome Rhodes and Patricia Neal as the smalltown radio reporter who discovers him and facilitates his rise to national stardom.
Four typical thrillers centred on grim men expressing themselves through violence are offset by two thrillers in which strong women control events … through violence.
Karl Marx City (2016) is a strange, disturbing documentary exploration of family history in the context of an oppressive police state, East Germany. In uncovering the story of her father, co-director Petra Epperlein reveals how powerful political forces distort and control people’s everyday lives.
20 years after the BBC commissioned and then suppressed The War Game, Peter Watkins’ devastating depiction of a nuclear attack on England, the Corporation produced Mick Jackson’s Threads, an even more powerful film on the theme. Synapse has released Threads on an impressive new Blu-ray.
Criterion have released an excellent Blu-ray of Ken Loach’s Palme d’or-winning I, Daniel Blake (2016), supplemented with a commentary track from Loach and writer Paul Laverty, an illuminating behind-the-scenes documentary, and a feature-length account of the director’s life and career. One of the best disks released so far this year.
Criterion’s release of Felipe Cazals’ Canoa: A Shameful Memory (1976) makes available a key film in Mexican cinema history. A devastating depiction of political violence, the film uses radical techniques to deconstruct a brutal incident which actually occurred in the small town of San Miguel Canoa in 1968.
Viewing the Indonesian genocide of 1965 from the victims’ point of view, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence is more devastating than his previous film, The Act of Killing, which dealt with the self-mythologizing of the murderers.
Criterion have released an impressive Blu-ray edition of Blind Chance, a key transitional film for Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski as he moved from documentary realism towards the more abstract and philosophical films he became best known for.
Recent binging on Twilight Time Blu-rays ranges from politics to comedy to science fiction, absurd studio productions and idiosyncratic independents; from the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions to the overthrowing of a future society of privileged immortals to underhanded contemporary business wars, from dinosaurs deep inside the Earth to the destruction of an alien race on the moon.
Criterion has released two excellent Blu-ray editions of Costa-Gavras’ finest films: The Confession and State of Siege examine dramatically political repression and violence on both the Left and Right.