The Criterion Collection has this week announced it’s Blu-ray release line-up for November, which includes Michael Haneke’s Code Unknown, Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood, Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy, and D. A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back. Details on all the releases, including cover-art and special features are listed below.
One of the world’s most influential and provocative filmmakers, the Academy Award–winning Austrian director Michael Haneke diagnoses the social maladies of contemporary Europe with devastating precision and staggering artistry. His 2000 drama Code Unknown, the first of his many films made in France, may be his most inspired work. Composed almost entirely of brilliantly shot, single-take vignettes focusing on characters connected to one seemingly minor incident on a Paris street, Haneke’s film—with an outstanding international cast headlined by Juliette Binoche—is a revelatory take on racial inequality and the failure of communication in today’s increasingly diverse European landscape.
–New, restored 2K digital transfer, approved by director Michael Haneke, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
–New interview with Haneke
–Introduction by Haneke from 2001
–Filming Haneke, a 2000 making-of documentary featuring interviews with Haneke, actor Juliette Binoche, and producer Marin Karmitz, as well as on-set footage of cast and crew
–Interview from 2001 in which Haneke discusses the filming of the boulevard sequences
–New interview with film scholar Roy Grundmann
–New English subtitle translation
–PLUS: An essay by critic Nick James
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 10.
In Cold Blood
Truman Capote’s best seller, a breakthrough narrative account of real-life crime and punishment, became an equally chilling film in the hands of writer-director Richard Brooks. Cast for their unsettling resemblances to the killers they play, Robert Blake and Scott Wilson give authentic, unshowy performances as Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, who in 1959 murdered a family of four in Kansas during a botched robbery. Brooks brings a detached, documentary-like starkness to this uncompromising view of an American tragedy and its aftermath; at the same time, stylistically In Cold Blood is a filmmaking master class, with clinically precise editing, chiaroscuro black-and-white cinematography by the great Conrad L. Hall, and a menacing jazz score by Quincy Jones.
–New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
–New interview with cinematographer John Bailey on the film’s cinematography
–New interview with film historian Bobbie O’Steen on the film’s editing
–New interview with film critic and jazz historian Gary Giddins on the film’s music by Quincy Jones
–New interview with writer Douglass Daniel on director Richard Brooks
–Interview with Brooks from 1988 from the French television series Cinéma cinemas
–Interview with actor Robert Blake from 1968 from the British television series Good Evening with Jonathan King
–With Love from Truman, a short 1966 documentary featuring novelist Truman Capote, directed by Albert and David Maysles
–Two archival NBC interviews with Capote: one following the author on a 1966 visit to Holcomb, Kansas, and the other conducted by Barbara Walters in 1967
–PLUS: An essay by critic Chris Fujiwara
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 17.
The Apu Trilogy
Two decades after its original negatives were burned in a fire, Satyajit Ray’s breathtaking milestone of world cinema rises from the ashes in a meticulously reconstructed new restoration. The Apu Trilogy brought India into the golden age of international art-house film, following one indelible character, a free-spirited child in rural Bengal who matures into an adolescent urban student and finally a sensitive man of the world. These delicate masterworks—Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)—based on two books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee, were shot over the course of five years, and each stands on its own as a tender, visually radiant journey. They are among the most achingly beautiful, richly humane movies ever made—essential works for any film lover.
Pather Panchali (1955)
The release in 1955 of Satyajit Ray’s debut, Pather Panchali, introduced to the world an eloquent and important new cinematic voice. A depiction of rural Bengali life in a style inspired by Italian neorealism, this naturalistic but poetic evocation of a number of years in the life of a family introduces us to both little Apu and, just as essentially, the women who will help shape him: his independent older sister, Durga; his harried mother, Sarbajaya, who, with her husband away, must hold the family together; and his kindly and mischievous elderly “auntie,” Indir—vivid, multifaceted characters all. With resplendent photography informed by its young protagonist’s perpetual sense of discovery, the Cannes-awarded Pather Panchali is an immersive cinematic experience and a film of elemental power.
Satyajit Ray had not planned to make a sequel to Pather Panchali, but after the film’s international success, he decided to continue Apu’s narrative. Aparajito picks up where the first film leaves off, with Apu and his family having moved away from the country to live in the bustling holy city of Varanasi (then known as Benares). As Apu progresses from wide-eyed child to intellectually curious teenager, eventually studying in Kolkata, we witness his academic and moral education, as well as the growing complexity of his relationship with his mother. This tenderly expressive, often heart-wrenching film, which won three top prizes at the Venice Film Festival, including the Golden Lion, not only extends but also spiritually deepens the tale of Apu.
Apur Sansar (1959)
By the time Apur Sansar was released, Satyajit Ray had directed not only the first two Apu films but also the masterpiece The Music Room, and was well on his way to becoming a legend. This extraordinary final chapter brings our protagonist’s journey full circle. Apu is now in his early twenties, out of college, and hoping to live as a writer. Alongside his professional ambitions, the film charts his romantic awakening, which occurs as the result of a most unlikely turn of events, and his eventual, fraught fatherhood. Featuring soon to be Ray regulars Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore in star-making performances, and demonstrating Ray’s ever more impressive skills as a crafter of pure cinematic imagery, Apur Sansar is a moving conclusion to this monumental trilogy.
–New 4K digital restorations of all three films, undertaken in collaboration with the Academy Film Archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and L’Immagine Ritrovata, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
–Audio recordings from 1958 of director Satyajit Ray reading his essay “A Long Time on the Little Road” and in conversation with film historian Gideon Bachmann
–New interviews with actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Shampa Srivastava, and Sharmila Tagore; camera assistant Soumendu Roy; and film writer Ujjal Chakraborty
–New video essay by Ray biographer Andrew Robinson on the trilogy’s evolution and production
–“The Apu Trilogy”: A Closer Look, a new program featuring filmmaker, producer, and teacher Mamoun Hassan
–Excerpts from the 2003 documentary The Song of the Little Road, featuring composer Ravi Shankar
–The Creative Person: Satyajit Ray, a 1967 half-hour documentary by James Beveridge, featuring interviews with Ray, several of his actors, members of his creative team, and film critic Chidananda Das Gupta
–Footage of Ray receiving an honorary Oscar in 1992
–New program on the restorations by filmmaker :: kogonada
–New English subtitle translations
–PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Terrence Rafferty and Girish Shambu
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 17.
One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru presents the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an exploration of death. Takashi Shimura (Rashomon) beautifully portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer who is impelled to find meaning in his final days. Presented in a radically conceived two-part structure and shot with a perceptive, humanistic clarity of vision, Ikiru is a multifaceted look at what it means to be alive.
–New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
–Audio commentary from 2004 by Stephen Prince, author of The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa
–A Message from Akira Kurosawa (2000), a ninety-minute documentary produced by Kurosawa Productions and featuring interviews with Kurosawa
–Documentary on Ikiru from 2003, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, and featuring interviews with Kurosawa, script supervisor Teruyo Nogami, writer Hideo Oguni, actor Takashi Shimura, and others
–PLUS: Essays by critic and travel writer Pico Iyer and critic Donald Richie
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 24.
Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back
Bob Dylan is captured on-screen as he never would be again in this groundbreaking film from D. A. Pennebaker. The legendary documentarian finds Dylan in London during his 1965 tour, which would be his last as an acoustic artist and marked a turning point in his career. In this wildly entertaining vision of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists thrust into the spotlight, Dylan is surrounded by teen fans; gets into heated philosophical jousts with journalists; and kicks back with fellow musicians Joan Baez, Donovan, and Alan Price. Featuring some of Dylan’s most famous songs, including “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” Dont Look Back is a radically conceived and shot portrait of an American icon that has influenced decades of vérité behind-the-scenes documentaries.
–New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by director D. A. Pennebaker, with newly restored monaural sound from the original quarter-inch magnetic masters, presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
–Audio commentary from 1999 featuring Pennebaker and tour manager Bob Neuwirth
–65 Revisited, a 2006 documentary directed by Pennebaker and edited by Walker Lamond
–Audio excerpt from an interview with Bob Dylan in the 2005 documentary No Direction Home, cut to previously unseen outtakes from Dont Look Back
–New documentary about the evolution of Pennebaker’s filming style, from his 1950s avant-garde work to his ’60s musical documentaries, including an excerpt from the filmmaker’s footage of Dylan performing “Ballad of a Thin Man” during his 1966 electric tour
–Daybreak Express (1953), Baby (1954), and Lambert & Co. (1964), three short films by Pennebaker
–New conversation between Pennebaker and Neuwirth about their work together, from Dont Look Back through Monterey Pop (1967) and beyond
–Snapshots from the Tour, a new piece featuring outtakes from Dont Look Back
–New interview with musician Patti Smith about Dylan and the influence of Dont Look Back in her life
–Conversation between music critic Greil Marcus and Pennebaker from 2010
–Alternate version of the film’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” cue card sequence
–Five uncut audio tracks of Dylan songs from the film
–PLUS: An essay by critic and poet Robert Polito
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 24.
Eclipse Series 44: Julien Duvivier in the Thirties – DVD ONLY
Remembered primarily for directing the classic crime drama Pépé le moko, Julien Duvivier was one of the finest filmmakers working in France in the 1930s. He made the transition from silents to talkies with ease, thanks to a formidable innate understanding of the cinematic medium, and he married his expressive camera work to a strikingly inventive use of sound with a singular dexterity. His deeply shadowed, fatalistic early sound films David Golder and La tête d’un homme anticipate the poetic realist style that would come to define the decade in French cinema, while the small-town family drama Poil de Carotte and the swooning tale of love and illusion Un carnet de bal showcase his stunning versatility. These four films—all featuring the great stage turned screen actor Harry Baur—are collected here, each evidence of an immense and often overlooked cinematic talent.
The set includes:
David Golder (1930)
The first sound film by Julien Duvivier also marked his first collaboration with the marvelous actor Harry Baur. Together, they brought to life the vivid protagonist of Irène Némirovsky’s best-selling first novel, an avaricious, self-interested banker whose family life is as tempestuous as his business dealings. Directed with visual panache, this grim yet arresting tale showcases Duvivier’s preternatural cinematic maturity during a transitional phase for the French film industry.
Poil de carotte (1932)
Julien Duvivier remade his own silent adaptation of a popular turn-of-the-twentieth-century novella for the sound era, resulting in one of his most beloved films. In a tremendously moving performance, Robert Lynen plays the neglected young François, mockingly called Poil de Carotte (“Carrottop”) by his family for his mop of red hair. Duvivier sensitively charts the rural daily life of a boy desperate to connect with others, especially his distracted father, played by the chameleonic Harry Baur.
La tête d’un homme (1933)
This meticulously crafted adaptation stars Harry Baur as novelist Georges Simenon’s indelible creation Inspector Maigret, investigating the odd circumstances surrounding the killing of a wealthy American woman in Paris. Every bit Baur’s equal is the Russian émigré actor Valéry Inkijinoff, cast as a nihilistic, reptilian medical student. Julien Duvivier gives the viewer one evocative image after another, constructing a work of sinister beauty.
Un carnet de ba (1937)
A rich widow, nostalgic for the lavish parties of her youth, sets off across Europe to reconnect with the many suitors who once courted her. In doing so, she embarks on a journey of discovery, both of herself and of how greatly the world has changed in two decades. Julien Duvivier’s smash hit is a wry, visually inventive tale of romantic pragmatism that deftly combines comedy and drama.
STREET DATE: NOVEMBER 3.