Criterion Press Release: September 2008 Titles

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    CRITERION COLLECTION SEPTEMBER 2008

    Ophuls and Ozu: two masters whose approaches to film couldn’t have been more different. Whereas German-French director Max Ophuls luxuriated in swooning, rich camera movements and tragic period melodrama, the wildly influential Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu produced one elegantly composed, hushed contemporary character piece after another. Yet both remain equally important in cinema history, and this September we offer some of their greatest films, from three of Ophuls’s robust, most beloved French works to Ozu’s fragile, beautiful final film.

    The Earrings of Madame de . . .
    French master Max Ophuls’s most cherished work, The Earrings of Madame de . . . is an emotionally profound cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de . . . (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Charles Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novella with virtuosic camera work so eloquent and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles.

    Info
    • Directed by Max Ophuls (Letter from an Unknown Woman, La ronde, Le plaisir)
    • Starring Danielle Darrieux (La ronde, Le plaisir, 8 Women, Persepolis)
    • Starring Charles Boyer (Algiers, Gaslight, Love Affair)
    • Cinematography by Christian Matras (Fanfan la tulipe, Le plaisir, The Milky Way)

    SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
    • Audio commentary featuring film scholars Susan White and Gaylyn Studlar
    • Interviews with Ophuls collaborators Alain Jessua, Mar Frédérix, and Annette Wademant
    • A visual analysis of The Earrings of Madame de . . . by film scholar Tag Gallagher
    • Interview with novelist Louise de Vilmorin on Ophuls’s adaptation of her story
    • New and improved English subtitle translation
    • PLUS: A new essay by Molly Haskell, Louise de Vilmorin’s novella Madame de, upon which the film is based, and a reprinted essay by costume designer and longtime Ophuls collaborator Georges Annenkov
    • More!

    Title: The Earrings of Madame de . . .
    CAT: CC1767D
    UPC: 7-15515-03162-2
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-061-7
    SRP: $39.95
    Prebook: 8/12/08
    Street date: 9/16/08

    La ronde
    Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, and Simone Simon lead a roundelay of French stars in Max Ophuls’s delightful, acerbic adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial turn-of-the-century play La ronde. Soldiers, chambermaids, poets, and aristocrats, all are on equal footing in this multicharacter merry-go-round of love and infidelity, directed with a sweeping gaiety as knowingly frivolous as it is enchanting, and shot with Ophuls’s trademark intricate cinematography.

    Info
    • Directed by Max Ophuls (Caught, Le plaisir, The Earrings of Madame de . . . )
    • Starring Simone Signoret (Casque d’or, Room at the Top, Army of Shadows)
    • Starring Anton Walbrook (49th Parallel, The Red Shoes, Lola Montès)
    • Starring Gérard Philipe (Fanfan la tulipe, Beauty and the Devil, The Red and the Black)

    SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
    • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of The Cinema of Max Ophuls
    • An interview with Academy Award–winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls, discussing his father’s work
    • Interview with actor Daniel Gélin (Napoléon, Testament of Orpheus)
    • Interview with film scholar Alan Williams
    • Selected correspondence between Sir Laurence Olivier and Heinrich Schnitzler (the playwright’s son), illustrating the controversy surrounding the source play
    • New and improved subtitle translation
    • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

    Title: La ronde
    CAT: CC1765D
    UPC: 7-15515-03142-4
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-059-4
    SRP: $39.95
    Prebook: 8/12/08
    Street date: 9/16/08

    Le plaisir
    Roving with his dazzlingly mobile camera around the decadent ballrooms, bucolic countryside retreats, urban bordellos, and painter’s studios of late nineteenth-century Parisian society, Max Ophuls brings his astonishing visual dexterity and storytelling bravura to this triptych of tales by Guy de Maupassant about the limits of spiritual and physical pleasure. Featuring a stunning cast of French stars (including Danielle Darrieux, Jean Gabin, and Simone Simon), Le plaisir pinpoints the cruel ironies and happy compromises of life with a charming and sophisticated breeziness.

    Info
    • Directed by Max Ophuls (Caught, La ronde, The Earrings of Madame de . . .)
    • Starring Danielle Darrieux (La ronde, The Earrings of Madame de…, 8 Women)
    • Starring Jean Gabin (Pépé le Moko, La bête humaine, Touchez pas au grisbi)
    • Starring Simone Simon (Cat People, La bête humaine, La ronde)

    SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
    • Introduction by filmmaker Todd Haynes
    • English- and German-language versions of the opening narration
    • From Script to Screen, a video essay featuring film scholar Jean-Pierre Berthomé discussing the evolution of Ophuls’s screenplay for Le plaisir
    • Interviews with actor Daniel Gélin, assistant director Tony Aboyantz, and set decorator Robert Christidès
    • New and improved English subtitle translation
    • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Robin Wood

    Title: Le plaisir
    CAT: CC1766D
    UPC: 7-15515-03152-3
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-060-0
    SRP: $39.95
    Prebook: 8/12/08
    Street date: 9/16/08

    An Autumn Afternoon
    Yasujiro Ozu’s final film is also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man’s dignified resignation to both life’s ever-shifting currents and society’s gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu’s frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master’s films, An Autumn Afternoon (Sanna no aji) is one of cinema’s fondest farewells.

    Info
    • Directed by Yasujiro Ozu (Late Spring, Tokyo Story, Early Summer)
    • Starring Chishu Ryu (Late Spring Twenty-Four Eyes, Tokyo Twilight)
    • Starring Shima Iwashita (Late Autumn, Harakiri, Double Suicide)
    • Starring Kyoko Kishida (Woman in the Dunes, Being Two Isn’t Easy, The Face of Another)

    SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
    • New audio commentary featuring David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
    • Excerpts from “Yasujiro Ozu and the Taste of Sake,” a 1978 French television program looking back on Ozu’s career, featuring film critic Michel Ciment
    • Theatrical trailer
    • New and improved English subtitle translation
    • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Geoff Andrew and Donald Richie

    Title: An Autumn Afternoon
    CAT: CC1768D
    UPC: 7-15515-03172-1
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-062-4
    SRP: $29.95
    Prebook: 8/26/08
    Street date: 9/30/08

    Eclipse from the Criterion Collection – September 2008 release

    In the New York Times, Vincent Canby once declared Aki Kaurismäki to be “the seminal European filmmaker of the 1990s.” Unfortunately, the exquisitely crafted, hilarious films from the Finnish master haven’t been seen as widely as that statement would suggest. This September, Eclipse hopes to begin changing that fact with the release of three of Kaurismäki’s funniest and most popular titles. The influence of his films can be seen in everything from the work of Jim Jarmusch to Wes Anderson; now it’s time everyone got acquainted with the original genius of deadpan.

    ECLIPSE SERIES 12: AKI KAURISMÄKI’S PROLETARIAT TRILOGY
    The poignant, deadpan films of Aki Kaurismäki are pitched somewhere in the wintry nether lands between comedy and tragedy. And rarely in his body of work has the line separating those genres seemed thinner than in what is often identified as his “Proletariat Trilogy,” Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. In these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismäki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement. Featuring commanding, off-key visual compositions and delightfully dour performances, the films in this triptych exemplify the talents of a unique and highly influential film artist.

    THREE-DISC BOX SET INCLUDES:

    Shadows in Paradise (1986)
    Lonely garbageman Nikkander (Matti Pellonpää) finds himself directionless after losing his friend and co-worker to a sudden heart attack; unlikely redemption comes in the form of plain supermarket cashier Ilona (Kati Outinen, in her first of many performances for Kaurismäki), with whom he begins a tentative love affair. Boiling down what is essentially a romantic comedy to a series of spare and beautiful gestures, Kaurismäki conjures an unexpected delight that finds hope blossoming even amid gray surroundings.

    Ariel (1988)
    In Kaurismäki’s drolly existential crime drama, a coal miner named Taisto (Turo Pajala) attempts to leave behind a provincial life of inertia and economic despair, only to get into ever deeper trouble. Yet a minor-key romance with a hilariously dispassionate meter maid (Susanna Haavisto) might provide a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Ariel, which boasts a terrific soundtrack of Finnish tango and Baltic pop music and lovely cinematography by Kaurismäki’s longtime cameraman Timo Salmimen, put its director on the international map.

    The Match Factory Girl (1990)
    Kaurismäki took his penchant for despairing character studies to unspeakably grim depths in the shockingly entertaining The Match Factory Girl. Kati Outinen is memorably impenetrable as Iris, whose grinding days as a cog in a factory wheel, and nights as a neglected daughter living with her parents, ultimately send her over the edge. Yet despite her transgressions, Kaurismäki makes Iris a compelling, even sympathetic figure. Bleak yet suffused with comic irony, The Match Factory Girl closes out the “Proletariat Trilogy” with a bang—and a whimper.

    Title: Eclipse series 12: Aki Kaurismäki’s Proletariat Trilogy
    CAT: ECL052
    UPC: 7-15515-03202-5
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-065-5
    SRP: $44.95
    Prebook: 8/19/08
    Street date: 9/23/08

    Essential Art House** – September 2008 release

    This fall, Janus Films and the Criterion Collection introduce Essential Art House, a new line of indispensable cinema classics. For Volume 1, we’re pleased to select six of the greatest films from around the world, from directors Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Peter Brook, Jean Cocteau, and Jean Renoir. All will be available separately, or in one box set. For the devoted cinephile, these are the must-own fundamentals; for the novice film-lover, this is precisely where to begin.

    GRAND ILLUSION
    Jean Renoir’s pacifist masterpiece stars Jean Gabin as a French World War I POW held by Erich Von Stroheim’s German captain. One of the greatest antiwar films ever made, as well as a rousing prison-escape adventure, Grand Illusion is an exemplar of the 1930s poetic realist movement.

    Info
    • Directed by Jean Renoir (The Rules of the Game, The River, The Golden Coach)
    • Starring Jean Gabin (La bête humaine, Pépé le moko, Touchez pas au grisbi)

    Title: Grand Illusion
    CAT: EAH002
    UPC: 7-15515-03262-9
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-074-7
    SRP: $19.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08

    BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
    Jean Cocteau reinvented the fairy tale for the cinema with this enchanting, exquisitely realized version of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fantasy romance. With all manner of unparalleled visual effects and photographic tricks, Cocteau makes the spellbinding tale of transformative love both ethereal and tangible, and his indelible images still haunt the cinema like no other.

    Info
    • Directed by Jean Cocteau (Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, Testament of Orpheus)

    Title: Beauty and the Beast
    CAT: EAH003
    UPC: 7-15515-03272-8
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-075-4
    SRP: $19.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08

    RASHOMON
    The murder of a man and the rape of his wife in a forest grove—seem from four different perspectives. Toshiro Mifune explodes as the feral bandit who may or may not be guilty of these crimes in Akira Kurosawa’s meditation on the nature of “truth”—a classic, humane allegory that transformed narrative cinema as we know it and turned its director into an international sensation.

    Info
    • Directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, High and Low, Ran)
    • Starring Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo)

    Title: Rashomon
    CAT: EAH004
    UPC: 7-15515-03252-0
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-073-0
    SRP: $19.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08

    WILD STRAWBERRIES
    Weaving a tapestry of memory and dreams, Ingmar Bergman delves into the past of aged professor Isak Borg, en route to receive an award from his alma mater for a life he no longer understands. Following directly on the heels of his international breakthrough The Seventh Seal, the alternately warm and nightmarish Wild Strawberries cemented Bergman as the leading art-house visionary of his era.

    Info
    • Directed by Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander)

    Title: Wild Strawberries
    CAT: EAH005
    UPC: 7-15515-03242-1
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-072-3
    SRP: $19.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08

    A husband, a wife, a stranger, a knife: Roman Polanski sets them all adrift on a weekend filled with simmering resentments and gut-churning suspense in his seminal psychological thriller, still one of the greatest feature debuts in film history. With Knife in the Water, Polanski revealed his delight in exploring sexual and class boundaries with ruthless precision.

    Info
    • Directed by Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, The Pianist)
    Title: Knife in the Water
    CAT: EAH006
    UPC: 7-15515-03232-2
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-071-6
    SRP: $19.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08

    THE LORD OF THE FLIES
    Under the direction of Peter Brook, William Golding’s classic fable, about a swarm of young boys who, without adult supervision, devolve into chaos after crash-landing on a remote island during wartime, becomes an unforgettable work of cinematic horror. Shot with almost verité camera work, Lord of the Flies takes a radical approach to Golding’s metaphor, grounding it in a terrifying reality.

    Info
    • Directed by Peter Brook (The Beggar’s Opera, Marat/Sade)
    Title: Lord of the Flies
    CAT: EAH007
    UPC: 7-15515-03222-3
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-070-9
    SRP: $19.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08

    ** TITLES AVAILABLE SEPARATELY OR AS A BOX SET

    Title: Essential Art House: Volume 1
    CAT: EAH001
    UPC: 7-15515-03192-9
    ISBN: 978-1-60465-064-8
    SRP: $99.95
    Prebook: 8/5/08
    Street date: 9/9/08


    ATTN CANADA: ALL TITLES ARE AVAILABLE IN ALL CANDA, EXCEPT FOR AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON, WHICH IS AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH SPEAKING CANADA ONLY.
     
  2. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Nice, but any news on Ophuls' Letter From an Unkown Woman?
     
  3. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Kind of surprised by Kaurismaki only getting the Eclipse series, as a couple of those films are better known than some of the full Criterion films. But looks to be a great set (and as an Eclipse, cheaper).
     
  4. Jeff Newcomb

    Jeff Newcomb Second Unit

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    If anyone will be releasing Letter From an Unkown Woman, it wil be Lionsgate. They acquired the rights from Paramount along with the vast majority of the Republic library. Paramount already completed a new transfer that Lionsgate can use several years ago, so its just a matter of putting it on the schedule.
     
  5. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Cover art.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Awesome to see Kaurismaki getting some overdue R1 exposure (as only two of his films have been so far released here on DVD). While I have the R2 discs and won't be picking up the Eclipse set, I highly recommend them for the uninitiated. Hopefully Criterion will pony up some more Kaurismaki releases - his other films are terrific!
     
  7. Martin Teller

    Martin Teller Cinematographer

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    I was hoping Kaurismaki would get the "full Criterion treatment" rather than being shuffled off to the Eclipse line. Especially Match Factory Girl, which is my favorite. Still, it's much, much better than nothing.
     
  8. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Yeah, if these releases had special features I definitely would have double-dipped! My Kaurismaki fav is Juha, with Drifting Clouds running a close second.
     
  9. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    LionsGate owns LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN and CAUGHT via their Republic holdings. Is there a respectable R1 LOLA MONTES out there? I recall that Criterion issued a CAV laserdisc of it about 20 years ago.
     
  10. leomichel

    leomichel Auditioning

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    Is there any way to know what the running time of La Ronde will be?

    The print that's been circulating in revival theaters in Paris since the early 90s, as well as an abysmally bad out-of-print French DVD, have a running time of about 95 minutes. However, a French VHS, published by Les Editions Montparnasse in 1991, restored an additionnal 10 minutes of footage to the JL Barrault-Isa Miranda sequence, and the movie seemed much more balanced, as the last sequences have a lesser impact in the cut version.

    I hope Criterion will have a DVD of the complete film.
     
  11. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    So what's the deal with art house set? Is this just a repackaging of those titles? If so, what's the point?
     
  12. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    The Art House releases are like Crit's budget line of previously released transfers on single barebones discs in more efficient packaging. No extras or extensive sets, commentaries, etc and no fancy bells and whistle packaging. Priced more affordably for the economic spender. Personally, I'd rather pay the extra $10-15 for the full blown editions so this really interests me very little. But I can see how some film enthusiasts would appreciate it.
     
  13. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Thanks. I can just ignore them then.
     
  14. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Criterion.com lists it at 97 minutes.
     
  15. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    An Autumn Afternoon's cover art is up and it looks great!
     

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