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Criterion's The Battle of Algiers & John Cassavetes: Five Films announced!

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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   PaulP



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Posted June 25 2004 - 12:40 PM

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New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Marcello Gratti, with restored image and sound, and enhanced for widescreen televisions

Return to Algiers (1992, 55 minutes): three decades following its emergence as a nation, director Gillo Pontecorvo and his son return to Algeria to talk with its people about independence

Theatrical and re-release trailers

Poster gallery

New and improved English subtitle translation

Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition


The Making of The Battle of Algiers: an exclusive new documentary created for this release guided by Pontecorvo biographer Irene Bignardi and featuring interviews with the director himself, cinematographer Marcello Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, editor Mario Morra, actors Jean Martin and Saadi Yacef, and film critic Tullio Kezich

The Dictatorship of Truth: a 37-minute documentary narrated by Edward Said about the relationship between Pontecorvo’s politics and filmmaking style

Directors on The Battle of Algiers: a discussion about the film’s influence, style, and importance featuring, Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone


The Battle of Algiers and History: a new documentary featuring interviews with historians Alistair Horne, Hugh Roberts and Benjamin Stora, former FLN members Zohra Drif-Bitat, Mohammed Harbi and Saadi Yacef, and writer and torture victim, Henri Alleg (The Question)

“Etats d’Armies”—a 30-minute excerpt from Patrick Rotman’s 3-part documentary, L’Ennemi Intime, which focuses on the horror of the French-Algerian War. It features interviews with various members of the French military during the French-Algerian War, including General Jacques Massu, General Roger Trinquier, General Paul Aussaresses, and others

How to Win the Battle But Lose the War of Ideas: a conversation about the contemporary relevance of The Battle of Algiers between former National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism and author of Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror, Richard A. Clarke, former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Michael A. Sheehan, and Chief of Investigative Projects for ABC News, Christopher E. Isham

Plus: a booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, a reprinted interview with writer Franco Solinas, brief biographies on the key figures in the French-Algerian War, and more

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Includes: Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night, A Constant Forge.


New high-definition digital transfers of all films, with restored image and sound and (where applicable) enhanced for 16x9 televisions

New video interviews with Cassavetes collaborators Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk, Seymour Cassel, Lelia Goldoni, Lynn Carlin, and Al Ruban

Two versions of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie: Cassavetes’ original 135-minute cut as well as his subsequent 108-minute re-edit

Faces alternate opening: 17 minutes of footage revealing the most significant differences of the two version’s opening sequences

Cinéastes de notre temps: an episode from the French television series, dedicated to Cassavetes

Audio commentary on A Woman Under the Influence by sound recordist and composer Bo Harwood and camera operator Mike Ferris

Stills galleries with hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, publicity shots, and posters

Booklet featuring new essays on Cassavetes and the films by writers/critics Jonathan Lethem, Gary Giddins, Stuart Klawans, Kent Jones, Philip Lopate, Dennis Lim, and director Charles Kiselyak, as well as reprinted writings by and interviews with Cassavetes, a tribute to Cassavetes by director Martin Scorsese, and more

English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired

Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition


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#2 of 33 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted June 25 2004 - 12:53 PM

Well The Battle of Algiers will be a definite purchase.

Not sure about the Cassavettes set though, don't think I want all 5 films.

#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted June 25 2004 - 01:24 PM

Same here. I'll definitely get Battle of Algiers, but I need to hear a bit more about the Cassavetes set before I buy it.

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   CraigF



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Posted June 25 2004 - 02:01 PM

The Battle of Algiers *should* be a definite go for me, but what is this 135 minute cut of it? The Criterion one will be the 125 min. cut.

#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Paul_D



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Posted June 25 2004 - 06:52 PM

Both definite purchases. Awesome Criterion line-up in the coming months.
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#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Lino Reno

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Posted June 25 2004 - 08:28 PM

The Cassavetes Boxset is a serious candidate for best produced DVD Box since the advent of the format! Its sheer historical importance and magnitude of the filmworks on display there will make it a reference Set for centuries to come! The scope on the production values only serve to confirm what I've written above! I have NO doubt that Cassavetes films will have a new (and much due) significance after this wondrous way of documenting one artist's body of work gets released on DVD come September! Start saving those dollars!

#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Sebastian_A


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Posted June 25 2004 - 09:25 PM

Both are must-haves - though those releases probably won't set a reference for "centuries to come", they sure will be worth every single penny - until Criterion pulls out the next budget-wrecking multiple-disc set... . Posted Image


#8 of 33 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted June 26 2004 - 02:04 AM

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#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Jon Sheedy

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Posted June 26 2004 - 06:16 AM

Man, I can't WAIT to get the Cassavetes set! An extraordinary filmaker who has been woefully under-represented on DVD. I only wish Mikey and Nicky was included in the set.
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#10 of 33 OFFLINE   Anthony Thorne

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Posted June 26 2004 - 02:45 PM

Just saw ALGIERS for the first time a week or more ago - an amazing movie. The 3-disc set (and is it just me or are Criterion really firing on all cylinders this year?) looks like a must have.

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Seth--L



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Posted June 26 2004 - 05:06 PM

Thankfully The Battle of Algiers set isn't going to be prohibitively expensive. As nice as the extra features look, all I want is the film.
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#12 of 33 OFFLINE   Neil_Duffy


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Posted June 26 2004 - 10:21 PM

When are these sets out??? I'm all over Algiers.

#13 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark_vdH



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Posted June 26 2004 - 10:48 PM

These sets are announced for September, Neil.

You can watch a Battle of Algiers re-release trailer here BTW.
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#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Brook K

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Posted June 27 2004 - 08:01 AM

Both will be mine. The Pioneer DVD's of these Cassavetes films are some of the worst ever produced. I can't wait to own watchable copies.
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#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Anthony Neilson

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Posted June 29 2004 - 05:31 AM

Here's an article that's worth reading for anyone interested in the Cassavetes Box Set :


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#16 of 33 OFFLINE   Zen Butler

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Posted June 29 2004 - 06:51 AM

Count me in for the much anticipated The Battle of Algiers. Anthony exactly! Criterion is on fire.


#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted June 29 2004 - 07:07 AM

I read that story of prof. Carney and the discovery of the first version of "Shadows" a while ago. If true, it could seem that Criterion won't be able able to "tell the whole story" this time. That's the main reason why I have a wait-and-see attitude about the Cassavetes set.

#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted June 29 2004 - 07:54 AM

I think the chance that Ray Carney and Gena Rowlands will be able to reach an amicable agreement about the first cut of Shadows is just about zero. Criterion was very eager to release it as part of this set. Not only did Rowlands nix that idea, but she also forced Carney out of the project completely (he had recorded several commentaries, and also was opposed to the inclusion of the documentary A Constant Forge). I don't mean to take sides in this dispute (and I can see both perspectives). But, as Rowlands--Cassavetes widow, and the person he chose to protect his legacy and control his estate--appears to have the law on her side, I can't imagine holding off on the Criterion set in the hopes that something better will come along.

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#19 of 33 OFFLINE   Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted June 29 2004 - 09:09 AM

Brian, I certainly don't disagree with you. By "wait and see" I meant that I'd wait and learn more about the whole thing after it's released and then I'll see if I'll buy at all. There is something about this process that I find somewhat sickening...

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Ravi K

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Posted June 29 2004 - 11:31 AM

Okay, Criterion, you win. You can take my money. What is the aspect ratio of Algiers? It looked about 1.37:1 at the re-release, though it could have been 1.66:1, hence the 16:9 enhancement.

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