Criterion Announces August 2015 Releases

So many good titles it may kill your wallet.
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In August, Criterion adds Karel Reisz's The French Lieutenant’s WomanFrançois Truffaut's Day for Night, Brain De Palma's Dressed to Kill and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Two Days, One Night to the collection. They also present a new digitial restoration of Jules Dassin's Night and the City and the 43rd release in the Eclipse Series: Agnes Varda in California. Read on to learn more about the films and the releases. 

Night and the City (#274) out Aug 4 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) longs for a life of ease and plenty. Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he tries to hatch a lucrative plan with a famous wrestler. But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh—and Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition. Luminously shot in the streets of London while Hollywood blacklisters back home were closing in on director Jules Dassin, Night and the City, also starring Gene Tierney, is film noir of the first order, and one of Dassin’s crowning achievements. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate presentation of the 101-minute British version of the film
  • Audio commentary from 2005 with film scholar Glenn Erickson
  • Interview with director Jules Dassin from 2005
  • Excerpts from a 1972 televison interview with Dassin
  • Comparison of the scores for the British and American versions of the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Paul Arthur

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (#768) out Aug 11 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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An astounding array of talent came together for the big-screen adaptation of John Fowles’s novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a postmodern masterpiece that had been considered unfilmable. With an ingenious script by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, British New Wave trailblazer Karel Reisz transforms Fowles’s tale of scandalous romance into an arresting, hugely entertaining movie about cinema. In Pinter’s reimagining, Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep star in parallel narratives, as a Victorian-era gentleman and the social outcast he risks everything to love, and as the contemporary actors cast in those roles and immersed in their own forbidden affair. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, shot by the consummate cinematographer Freddie Francis and scored by the venerated composer and conductor Carl Davis, is a beguiling, intellectually nimble feat of filmmaking, starring a pair of legendary actors in early leading roles. The special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New introduction by film scholar Ian Christie
  • New interviews with actors Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep, editor John Bloom, and composer Carl Davis
  • Episode of The South Bank Show from 1981 featuring director Karel Reisz, novelist John Fowles, and screenwriter Harold Pinter
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Lucy Bolton

Eclipse Series 43: Agnes Varda in California out Aug 11 in DVD  

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The legendary French filmmaker Agnès Varda, whose remarkable career began in the 1950s and has continued into the twenty-first century, produced some of her most provocative works while living on the West Coast of the United States. After temporarily relocating from France to California in the late sixties with her husband, Jacques Demy, so that he could make his first Hollywood film, Varda became entranced by the politics, youth culture, and sunshine of the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, and created documentary explorations and fictional narratives—sometimes within the same film. She returned a decade later, and made more fascinating portraits of outsiderness. Her five revealing, entertaining California films, encompassing shorts and features, are collected in this set, which demonstrates that Varda was as deft an artist in unfamiliar terrain as she was on her own turf. The films included are:

  • Uncle Yanco (1967)
  • Black Panthers (1968)
  • Lions Love (...And Lies) (1969)
  • Mur Murs (1980)
  • Documenteur (1981)

Day for Night (#769) out Aug 18 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions

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This loving farce from François Truffaut about the joys and turbulence of moviemaking is one of his most beloved films. Truffaut himself appears as the harried director of a frivolous melodrama, the shooting of which is plagued by the whims of a neurotic actor (Jean-Pierre Léaud); an aging but still forceful Italian diva (Valentina Cortese); and a British ingenue haunted by personal scandal (Jacqueline Bisset). An irreverant paean to the prosaic craft of cinema as well as a delightful human comedy about the pitfalls of love and sex, Day for Night is buoyed by robust performances and a sparkling score by the legendary Georges Delerue. The special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New visual essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
  • New interview with cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn
  • New interview with film scholar Dudley Andrew
  • Documentary on the film from 2003, featuring film scholar Annette Insdorf
  • Archival interviews with director François Truffaut; editor Yann Dedet; and actors Jean-Pierre Aumont, Nathalie Baye, Jacqueline Bisset, Dani, and Bernard Menez
  • Television footage of Truffaut on the film’s set in 1972
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic David Cairns

Dressed to Kill (#770) out Aug 18 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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Brian De Palma ascended to the highest ranks of American suspense filmmaking with this virtuoso, explicit erotic thriller. At once tongue-in-cheek and scary as hell, Dressed to Kill revolves around the grisly murder of a woman in Manhattan, and what happens when her psychiatrist, her brainiac teenage son, and the prostitute who witnessed the crime try to piece together what happened while the killer remains at large. With its masterfully executed scenes of horror, voluptuous camera work, and passionate score, Dressed to Kill is a veritable symphony of terror, enhanced by vivid performances by Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, and Nancy Allen. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer of director Brian De Palma’s preferred unrated version, approved by the director, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with actor Nancy Allen, producer George Litto, composer Pino Donaggio, shower-scene body double Victoria Lynn Johnson, and poster photographic art director Stephen Sayadian
  • New profile of cinematographer Ralf Bode, featuring filmmaker Michael Apted
  • The Making of “Dressed to Kill,” a 2001 documentary featuring De Palma
  • Interview with actor-director Keith Gordon from 2001
  • Video pieces from 2001 about the different versions of the film and the cuts made to avoid an X rating
  • Gallery of storyboards by De Palma
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Koresky

Two Days, One Night (#771) out Aug 25 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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Oscar winner Marion Cotillard received another nomination for her searing, deeply felt performance as a working-class woman desperate to hold on to her factory job, in this gripping film from master Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Cotillard is Sandra, a wife and mother who suffers from depression and discovers that, while she was home on sick leave, a majority of her coworkers voted in favor of her being fired rather than give up their annual bonuses. She then spends a Saturday and Sunday visiting them each in turn, to try to convince them to change their minds. From this simple premise, the Dardennes render a powerful, humanist drama about the importance of community in an increasingly impersonal world. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital transfer, approved by directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with the Dardennes and actors Marion Cotillard and Fabrizio Rongione
  • When Léon M.’s Boat Went Down the Meuse for the First Time (1979), a forty-five minute documentary by the Dardennes, featuring a new introduction by the directors
  • New tour of the film’s key locations with the directors
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Girish Shambu

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