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Upcoming Criterion Blu-ray Releases for January 2021

(physical media spotlight)


January is upon us and with it comes four new entries into The Criterion Collection. There’s some interesting releases this month including a documentary about Bob Dylan directed by Martin Scorsese.

Scroll below to view descriptions and specifications for each new release along with Amazon links to purchase/pre-order the movies.

Three Films by Luis Buñel / Available January 5th, 2021

* Set includes three films by Luis Buñel.

FILMS IN THIS SET

  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 1972In Luis Buñuel’s deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to a dinner that is continually delayed, their attempts to eat thwarted by vaudevillian events both actual and imagined, including terrorist attacks, military maneuvers, and ghostly apparitions. Stringing together a discontinuous, digressive series of absurdist set pieces, Buñuel and his screenwriting partner Jean-Claude Carrière send a cast of European-film greats—including Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig, and Jean-Pierre Cassel—through a maze of desire deferred, frustrated, and interrupted. The Oscar-winning pinnacle of Buñuel’s late-career ascent as a feted maestro of the international art house, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is also one of his most gleefully radical assaults on the values of the ruling class.
  • The Phantom of Liberty 1974Luis Buñuel’s vision of the inherent absurdity of human social rituals reaches its taboo-annihilating extreme in what may be his most morally subversive and formally audacious work. Zigzagging across time and space, from the Napoleonic era to the present day, The Phantom of Liberty unfolds as a picaresque, its main character traveling between tableaux in a series of Dadaist non sequiturs. Unbound by the laws of narrative logic, Buñuel lets his surrealist’s id run riot in an exuberant revolt against bourgeois rationality that seems telegraphed directly from his unconscious to the screen.
  • That Obscure Object of Desire 1977Luis Buñuel’s final film brings full circle the director’s lifelong preoccupation with the darker side of desire. Buñuel regular Fernando Rey plays Mathieu, an urbane widower, tortured by his lust for the elusive Conchita. With subversive flair, Buñuel uses two different actors in the latter role—Carole Bouquet, a sophisticated French beauty, and Ángela Molina, a Spanish coquette. Drawn from the surrealist favorite Pierre Louÿs’s classic erotic novel La femme et le pantin (The Woman and the Puppet, 1898), That Obscure Object of Desire is a dizzying game of sexual politics punctuated by a terror that harks back to Buñuel’s avant-garde beginnings.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • The Castaway of Providence Street, a 1971 homage to Luis Buñuel made by his longtime friends and fellow filmmakers Arturo Ripstein and Rafael Castanedo
  • Speaking of Buñuel, a documentary from 2000 on Buñuel’s life and work
  • Once Upon a Time: “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” a 2011 television program about the making of the film
  • Interviews from 2000 with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière on The Phantom of Liberty and That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Archival interviews on all three films featuring Carrière; actors Stéphane Audran, Muni, Michel Piccoli, and Fernando Rey; and other key collaborators
  • Documentary from 1985 about producer Serge Silberman, who worked with Buñuel on five of his final seven films
  • Analysis of The Phantom of Liberty from 2017 by film scholar Peter William Evans
  • Lady Doubles, a 2017 documentary featuring actors Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina, who share the role of Conchita in That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Portrait of an Impatient Filmmaker, Luis Buñuel, a 2012 short documentary featuring director of photography Edmond Richard and assistant director Pierre Lary
  • Excerpts from Jacques de Baroncelli’s 1929 silent film La femme et le pantin, an adaptation of Pierre Louÿs’s 1898 novel of the same name, on which That Obscure Object of Desire is also based
  • Alternate English-dubbed soundtrack for That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Adrian Martin and novelist and critic Gary Indiana, along with interviews with Buñuel by critics José de la Colina and Tomás Pérez Turrent

New design by Eric Skillman, based on the original poster art by René Ferracci

Purchase the Three Films by Luis Buñel Criterion Collection Blu-ray (Amazon Affiliate Link – Using this link doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website. Thank you.)


Minding the Gap / Available January 12th, 2021

2018 / 93 minutes / Color / 1.78:1 / English / Spine #1061

“This extraordinary debut from documentarian Bing Liu weaves a story of skateboarding, friendship, and fathers and sons into a coming-of-age journey of courageous vulnerability. Over the course of several years and with his camera always at the ready, Liu records the rocky paths into adulthood of Keire and Zack, two friends from his own skateboarding community in Rockford, Illinois. As he does so, deeper parallels gradually emerge that ultimately draw the filmmaker into a heartrending confrontation with his own past. With an eye for images of exhilarating poetry and a keen emotional sensitivity, Minding the Gap is a powerfully cathartic portrait of fledgling lives forged in trauma and fighting to break free.”

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital master, approved by director Bing Liu, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary featuring Liu and documentary subjects Keire Johnson and Zack Mulligan
  • New follow-up conversation between Liu and documentary subject Nina Bowgren
  • New programs featuring interviews with professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and with Liu, Minding the Gap executive producer Gordon Quinn, and producer Diane Quon
  • Four outtake scenes with introductions by Liu
  • Nước (2010), a short film by Liu about two Vietnamese immigrants growing up American
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Jay Caspian Kang

New cover by Katherine Lam

Purchase the Minding the Gap Criterion Collection Blu-ray (Amazon Affiliate Link – Using this link doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website. Thank you.)


Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese / Available January 19th, 2021

2019 / 142 minutes / Black and White/Color / 1.85:1 / English / Spine #1062

“In 1975, in an America defined by both the self-mythologizing pomp of the upcoming bicentennial and ongoing sociopolitical turmoil, Bob Dylan and a band of troubadours—including luminaries such as Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, and Joni Mitchell—embarked on a now-legendary tour known as the Rolling Thunder Revue, a freewheeling variety show that was part traveling counterculture carnival, part spiritual pilgrimage. Director Martin Scorsese blends behind-the-scenes archival footage, interviews, and narrative mischief, with a magician’s sleight of hand, into a zeitgeist-defining cultural record that is as much a concert “documentary” as it is a slippery, chimerical investigation into memory, time, truth, and illusion. At the center of it all is the magnetic Dylan, a sphinxlike philosopher-poet singing, with electrifying conviction, to the soul of an anxious nation.”

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New 4K digital transfer, approved by director Martin Scorsese, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with Scorsese, editor David Tedeschi, and writer Larry “Ratso” Sloman
  • Restored footage of never-before-seen Rolling Thunder Revue performances of “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” and “Romance in Durango,” and of a never-before-seen cut of “Tangled Up in Blue”
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by novelist Dana Spiotta and writing from the Rolling Thunder Revue tour by author Sam Shepard and poets Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase the Rolling Thunder Revue Criterion Collection Blu-ray (Amazon Affiliate Link – Using this link doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website. Thank you.)


The Ascent / January 26th, 2021

1977 / 109 minutes / Black & White / 1.37:1 / Russian / Spine #1063

“The crowning triumph of a career cut tragically short, Larisa Shepitko’s final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and went on to be hailed as one of the finest works of late Soviet cinema. In the darkest days of World War II, two partisans set out for supplies to sustain their beleaguered outfit, braving the blizzard-swept landscape of Nazi-occupied Belarus. When they fall into the hands of German forces and come face-to-face with death, each must choose between martyrdom and betrayal, in a spiritual ordeal that lifts the film’s earthy drama to the plane of religious allegory. With stark, visceral cinematography that pits blinding white snow against pitch-black despair, The Ascent finds poetry and transcendence in the harrowing trials of war.”

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New selected-scene commentary featuring film scholar Daniel Bird
  • New video introduction by Anton Klimov, son of director Larisa Shepitko and filmmaker Elem Klimov
  • New interview with actor Lyudmila Polyakova
  • The Homeland of Electricity, a 1967 short film by Shepitko
  • Larisa, a 1980 short film tribute to his late wife by Klimov
  • Two documentaries from 2012 about Shepitko’s life, work, and relationship with Klimov
  • Program from 1999 featuring an interview with Shepitko
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by poet Fanny Howe
  • New cover by Century.Studio

Purchase the Ascent Criterion Collection Blu-ray (Amazon Affiliate Link – Using this link doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website. Thank you.)


Halloween

(spoiler-free movie review) The original Halloween is a classic of horror cinema for good reason. Director John Carpenter crafted a suspenseful(and genuinely scary) slasher with a shoestring budget and an inexperienced crew. With the 1978 release of Halloween he managed to create the genesis of a franchise, that endures to this day, and a supernatural … Continue Reading Halloween

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