Criterion Announces August 2019 Releases

Something old, something new in the seven titles.
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Close out the summer with these August titles from Criterion.  New to the collection are Lucille Carra's The Inland Sea, Abbas Kiarostami's The Koker Trilogy, and Yasujiro Ozu's The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice.  Getting Blu-ray upgrades are Jane Campion's An Angel at My Table and Douglas Sirk's Magnificent Obsession. Read on to learn more about them.

An Angel at My Table (#301) out Aug 6

With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jane Campion brought to the screen the harrowing autobiography of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. Three actors in turn take on the lead role (including Kerry Fox in a marvelous performance as the adult Frame), as the film describes a journey from an impoverished childhood marked by tragedy to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia resulting in electroshock therapy and a narrowly escaped lobotomy to, finally, international literary fame. Unobtrusively capturing the beauty and power of the New Zealand landscape while maintaining the film’s focus on the figure at its center, Campion broke new ground for female filmmakers everywhere and earned a sweep of her country’s film awards, along with the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. The director-approved special features are:

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Stuart Dryburgh and approved by director Jane Campion with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Campion, Dryburgh, and actor Kerry Fox
  • Short documentary from 2002 about the making of the film
  • Six deleted scenes
  • Audio interview with author Janet Frame from 1983
  • Trailer
  • Stills gallery
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Amy Taubin and excerpts from Frame’s autobiography, on which Campion based her film

The Inland Sea (#988) out Aug 13

cc The Inland Sea.jpgIn 1971, author and film scholar Donald Richie published a poetic travelogue about his explorations of the islands of Japan’s Inland Sea, recording his search for traces of a traditional way of life as well as his own journey of self-discovery. Twenty years later, filmmaker Lucille Carra undertook a parallel trip inspired by Richie’s by-then-classic book, capturing images of hushed beauty and meeting people who still carried on the fading customs that Richie had observed. Interspersed with surprising detours—a visit to a Frank Sinatra-loving monk, a leper colony, an ersatz temple of plywood and plaster—and woven together by Richie’s narration as well as a score by celebrated composer Toru Takemitsu, The Inland Sea is an eye-opening voyage and a profound meditation on what it means to be a foreigner. The director-approved special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Hiro Narita, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with director Lucille Carra
  • New conversation between filmmaker Paul Schrader and cultural critic Ian Buruma on author Donald Richie
  • Interview with Richie from 1991
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by scholar Arturo Silva

Magnificent Obsession (#457) out Aug 20

cc Magnificent Obsession.jpgReckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his breakthrough role) crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention from the town’s only resuscitator—at the very moment that a beloved local doctor has a heart attack and dies waiting for the lifesaving device. Thus begins one of Douglas Sirk’s most flamboyant master classes in melodrama, a delirious Technicolor mix of the sudsy and the spiritual in which Bob and the doctor’s widow, Helen (Jane Wyman), find themselves inextricably linked amid a series of increasingly wild twists, turns, trials, and tribulations. The special features are:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2008 featuring film scholar Thomas Doherty
  • Magnificent Obsession, John M. Stahl’s 1935 adaptation of the same novel, newly restored
  • From UFA to Hollywood: Douglas Sirk Remembers (1991), a documentary by German filmmaker Eckhart Schmidt
  • Interviews from 2008 with filmmakers Allison Anders and Kathryn Bigelow, in which they pay tribute to Sirk
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

The Koker Trilogy (#991) out Aug 27

cc The Koker Trilogy.jpgAbbas Kiarostami first came to international attention for this wondrous, slyly self-referential series of films set in the rural northern-Iranian town of Koker. Poised delicately between fiction and documentary, comedy and tragedy, the lyrical fables in The Koker Trilogy exemplify both the gentle humanism and playful sleight of hand that define the director’s sensibility. With each successive film, Kiarostami takes us deeper into the behind-the-scenes “reality” of the film that preceded it, heightening our understanding of the complex network of human relationships that sustain both a movie set and a village. The result is a gradual outward zoom that reveals the cosmic majesty and mystery of ordinary life. The special features are:

  • New 2K digital restorations of all three films (Where Is the Friend's House?, And Life Goes On, Through the Olive Trees), with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
  • New audio commentary on And Life Goes On featuring Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum, coauthors of Abbas Kiarostami
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Truths and Dreams, a 1994 documentary
  • New interview with Abbas Kiarostami’s son Ahmad Kiarostami
  • New conversation between Iranian-film scholar Jamsheed Akrami and film critic Godfrey Cheshire
  • Conversation from 2015 between Kiarostami and film-festival programmer Peter Scarlet
  • New English subtitle translations
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Godfrey Cheshire

The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice (#989) out Aug 27

cc The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice.jpgOne of the ineffably lovely domestic sagas made by Yasujiro Ozu at the height of his mastery, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice is a subtly piercing portrait of a marriage coming quietly undone. Secrets and deceptions strain the already tenuous relationship of a childless, middle-aged couple, as the wife’s city-bred sophistication bumps up against the husband’s small-town simplicity, and a generational sea change—in the form of their headstrong, modern niece—sweeps over their household. The director’s abiding concern with family dynamics receives one of its most spirited treatments, with a wry, tender humor and buoyant expansiveness that moves the action from the home into the baseball stadiums, pachinko parlors, and ramen shops of postwar Tokyo. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • What Did the Lady Forget?, a 1937 feature by director Yasujiro Ozu
  • New interview with film scholar David Bordwell
  • Ozu & Noda: Tateshina Diaries, a new documentary by Daniel Raim on Ozu’s relationship with longtime screenwriter Kogo Noda
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by scholar Junji Yoshida

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