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Criterion Press Release: August 2009 Titles (DVD/Blu-ray)

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#1 of 9 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 16 2009 - 10:00 PM

THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO The Last Days of Disco is a clever, comic return to the nighttime party scene in early eighties Manhattan from director Whit Stillman (Metropolitan). At the center of the film’s roundelay of revelers are the icy Charlotte (Kate Beckinsale) and the demure Alice (Chloë Sevigny), by day toiling as publishing house assistants and by night looking for romance and entertainment at a premier, Studio 54–like club. The Last Days of Disco is an affectionate yet unsentimental look at the end of an era, brimming with Stillman’s trademark dry humor. 1998 • 114 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.78:1 aspect ratio FILM INFO - Directed by Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona) - Starring Chloë Sevigny (Kids, Boys Don’t Cry, Zodiac, The Brown Bunny) - Starring Kate Beckinsale (Cold Comfort Farm, Pearl Harbor, Underworld) - Starring Chris Eigeman (Kicking and Screaming, Mr. Jealousy, Barcelona) DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES - New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Whit Stillman - Audio commentary featuring Stillman and actors Chloë Sevigny and Chris Eigeman - Four deleted scenes with commentary by Stillman, Eigeman, and Sevigny - Stills gallery with production notes by Stillman - Stillman reading a chapter from The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards, his novelization of the movie - Behind-the-scenes featurette - Original theatrical trailer - PLUS: An essay by novelist David Schickler Title: The Last Days of Disco CAT: CC1829D UPC: 7-15515-04821-7 ISBN: 978-1-60465-179-9 SRP: $39.95 Prebook: 7/28/09 Street date: 8/25/09 KAGEMUSHA – Blu-ray Edition When a warlord dies, a peasant thief is called upon to impersonate him, and then finds himself haunted by his spirit as well as his own ambitions. With his late color masterpiece Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a historical epic that is also a meditation on the nature of power. 1980 • 180 minutes • Color • Stereo • In Japanese with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio FILM INFO - Directed by Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, High and Low, Ran) - Starring Tatsuya Nakadai (Yojimbo, The Human Condition, Ran) BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES - Restored high-definition digital transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack - Audio commentary featuring Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince (The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa) - Lucas, Coppola, and Kurosawa (19 minutes, 2005), in which directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola discuss Kurosawa and their roles as executive producers of Kagemusha - A 41-minute documentary on the making of Kagemusha, part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create - Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity, a new video piece that reconstructs Kagemusha through Kurosawa’s paintings and sketches - A series of Suntory Whiskey commercials made on the set of Kagemusha - A gallery of storyboards painted by Kurosawa and images of their realization on- screen - Theatrical trailers and teasers - Optional English subtitle translation - PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Peter Grilli and an interview with Kurosawa by renowned critic Tony Rayns Title: Kagemusha (Blu-ray edition) CAT: CC1827BD UPC: 7-15515-04841-5 ISBN: 978-1-60465-181-2 SRP: $39.95 Prebook: 7/21/09 Street date: 8/18/09 PLAYTIME – Blu-ray Edition Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the endearingly clumsy, resolutely old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingly modernist Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion. 1967 • 124 minutes • Color • Stereo • In French with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio FILM INFO -Written and directed by Jacques Tati (M. Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle) BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES - Restored high-definition digital transfer with uncompressed stereo soundtrack - Video introduction by writer, director, and performer Terry Jones - Selected scene audio commentary by film historian Philip Kemp - Au-delà de “Playtime,” a short documentary featuring archival behind-the-scenes footage from the set - Tati Story, a short biographical film about Tati - “Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s World,” a 1976 BBC Omnibus program featuring Tati - Rare audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of Playtime at the 1972 San Francisco International Film Festival - Video interview with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot - Cours du soir, a 1967 short film written by and starring Tati - Alternate international soundtrack - Optional English subtitle translation - PLUS: An essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum Title: Playtime (Blu-ray edition) CAT: CC1830BD UPC: 7-15515-04761-6 ISBN: 978-1-60465-105-8 SRP: $39.95 Prebook: 7/21/09 Street date: 8/18/09 JEANNE DIELMAN A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles brilliantly evokes, with meticulous detail and a sense of impending doom, the daily domestic routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her grown son, and turning the occasional trick—just as it begins to break down. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character portrait or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades, and is finally making its long-awaited DVD debut. 1975 • 201 minutes • Color • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio FILM INFO - Directed by Chantal Akerman (News from Home, A Couch in New York, The Captive) - Starring Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad, Mr. Freedom, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES - Restored digital transfer, approved by director Chantal Akerman - Autour de “Jeanne Dielman,” a 70-minute documentary, shot by actor Sami Frey and edited by Agnes Ravez, made during the filming of Jeanne Dielman - New interviews with Akerman and cinematographer Babette Mangolte - Excerpt from “Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman,” a 1997 episode of the French television program Cinéma de notre temps - An interview with Akerman’s mother, Natalia - Archival television interview excerpt featuring Akerman and star Delphine Seyrig - Saute ma ville (1968), Akerman’s first film, with an introduction by the director - New and improved English subtitle translation - PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film scholars Ivone Margulies and Janet Bergstrom Title: Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles CAT: CC1825D UPC: 7-15515-04801-9 ISBN: 978-1-60465-177-5 SRP: $39.95 Prebook: 7/28/09 Street date: 8/25/09 ECLIPSE SERIES 17: NIKKATSU NOIR From the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, wild, idiosyncratic crime movies were the brutal and boisterous business of Nikkatsu, the oldest film studio in Japan. In an effort to attract youthful audiences growing increasingly accustomed to American and French big-screen imports, Nikkatsu began producing action potboilers (mukokuseki akushun, or “borderless action”) modeled on the western, comedy, gangster, and teen-rebel genres. This bruised and bloody collection represents a standout cross section of the nimble nasties Nikkatsu had to offer, from such prominent, stylistically daring directors as Seijun Suzuki, Toshio Masuda, and Takashi Nomura. FIVE-DISC BOX SET INCLUDES: I Am Waiting (1957) In Koreyoshi Kurahara’s directorial debut, rebel matinee idol Yujiro Ishihara (fresh off the sensational Crazed Fruit) stars as a restaurant manager and former boxer who saves a beautiful, suicidal club hostess (Mie Kitahara) trying to escape the clutches of her gangster employer. Featuring expressionist lighting and bold camera work, this was one of Nikkatsu’s early successes. 91 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio Rusty Knife (1958) Rusty Knife was the first smash for director Toshio Masuda, who would go on to become one of Japanese cinema’s major hit makers. In the film, Yujiro Ishihara and fellow top Nikkatsu star Akira Kobayashi play former hoodlums trying to leave behind a life of crime, but their past comes back to haunt them when the authorities seek them out as murder witnesses. 90 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio Take Aim at the Police Van (1960) At the beginning of Seijun Suzuki’s taut and twisty whodunit, a prison truck is attacked and a convict inside is murdered. The penitentiary warden on duty, Daijiro (Michitaro Mizushima), is accused of negligence and suspended, only to take it upon himself to track down the killers. 79 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.45:1 aspect ratio Cruel Gun Story (1964) Fresh out of the slammer, Togawa (Branded to Kill’s Joe Shishido) has no chance to go straight because he is immediately coerced by a wealthy mob boss into organizing the heist of an armored car carrying racetrack receipts. After gathering together a ragtag bunch to carry out the robbery, Togawa learns that all is not what it seems in Takumi Furukawa’s thriller. Cue the double (and triple) crosses! 91 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.45:1 aspect ratio A Colt Is My Passport (1967) One of Japanese cinema’s supreme emulations of American noir, Takashi Nomura’s A Colt Is My Passport is a down-and-dirty but gorgeously photographed yakuza film starring Joe Shishido as a hard-boiled hit man caught between rival gangs. Featuring an incredible, spaghetti-western-style soundtrack and brimming with formal experimentation, this is Nikkatsu at its finest. 84 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.45:1 aspect ratio Title: Eclipse Series 17: Nikkatsu Noir CAT: ECL075 UPC: 7-15515-04971-9 ISBN: 978-1-60465-194-2 SRP: $69.95 Prebook: 7/28/09 Street date: 8/25/09 ATTN CANADA: JEANNE DIELMAN, ECLIPSE SERIES 17: NIKKATSU NOIR & PLAYTIME BD ARE AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH SPEAKING CANADA ONLY


Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

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Posted May 17 2009 - 12:42 AM

Wow, that Nikkatsu set sounds great! I'll put that on the old wishlist.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted May 17 2009 - 05:31 AM

I love LAST DAYS OF DISCO. I managed to get a copy of the original DVD right when it went out of print and it has become one of my most watched DVDs. Looks like a great set, but no Blu-Ray?

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Mike*HTF


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Posted May 17 2009 - 08:59 AM

This Nikkatsu set is - along with the rumored von Sternberg silents - my most anticipated Eclipse set of the year.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   ColbyCo82


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Posted May 17 2009 - 11:10 AM

I guess Japanese cinema never interested me outside of the old Godzilla movies. Bring on Von Sternberg!!!
Most Wanted on DVD: The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929), Strangers May Kiss (1931),  Letty Lynton (1932), Her Wedding Night (1931), 24 Hours (1931), The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (1930), Unfaithful (1931),  While the City Sleeps (1928), The Greene Murder Case (1929)

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Albert_M


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Posted May 18 2009 - 03:29 AM

Finally the Last Days of Disco

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted May 18 2009 - 07:25 AM

Words uttered by millions c.1981. Posted Image

Seriously though, I've always wanted to see this film.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Albert_M


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Posted May 18 2009 - 12:03 PM

Ha, true. Seriously though, it's a very enjoyable film and was fortunate to catch during its brief theater run. I remember seeing the original dvd release a long time ago and then it was gone.

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Derek Miner

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Posted May 18 2009 - 04:08 PM

Alright, a Criterion disc of "Last Days of Disco!" I may have to schedule a Whit Stillman marathon.
= Derek Miner =
Co-founder, Sunscreen Film Festival

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