Criterion Announces December 2018 Releases

Three new titles are added to the collection as 2018 concludes.
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In December, Criterion is releasing a few titles you might want someone to get you during the holiday season.  They are Euzhan Palcy's A Dry White Season, Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns, and Julien Duvivier's Panique, and Ingmar Bergman's Sawdust and Tinsel is getting a stand-alone Blu-ray edition.  Read on to learn more about them.

A Dry White Season (#953) out Dec 11

With this bracing drama, made at the climax of the anti-apartheid movement, director Euzhan Palcy issued a devastating indictment of South Africa’s racist government—and made history in the process, becoming the first black woman to direct a Hollywood studio film. White schoolteacher Ben Du Toit (Donald Sutherland) lives in Johannesburg and remains blissfully incurious about the lives of his black countrymen until a wave of brutal repression comes crashing down on his gardener (Winston Ntshona), bringing Du Toit face-to-face with harsh political realities. Based on a celebrated novel by André Brink and rooted in the first-hand research the Martinican Palcy did in South Africa into the way black people lived under apartheid, A Dry White Season is unflinching in its depiction of violence and its chronicling of injustice, making for a galvanizing tribute to those willing to sacrifice everything to fight oppression. The director-aaproved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with director Euzhan Palcy by film critic Scott Foundas
  • Five Scenes, a new program featuring Palcy
  • Interview from 1989 with actor Donald Sutherland
  • Excerpt from a 1995 interview Palcy conducted with Nelson Mandela
  • Footage of Palcy receiving the highest distinction for foreign dignitaries at the 2017 South African National Orders awards
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and scholar Jyoti Mistry

Forty Guns (#954) out Dec 11

cc Forty Guns.jpgHollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck saddled up with writer-director Samuel Fuller for the pulp maestro’s most audacious western, a boldly feminist spin on the genre that pivots effortlessly between ribald humor, visceral action, and disarming tenderness. High-riding rancher Jessica Drummond (Stanwyck) commands a forty-strong posse of cowboys, ruling Cochise County, Arizona, without challenge. When U.S. marshal Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) and his brothers arrive in town with a warrant for one of her hired guns, Jessica begins to fall for the lawman even as he chips away at her authority. With astonishing black-and-white CinemaScope photography, hard-boiled dialogue laced with double entendres, and a fiery performance by Stanwyck at her most imperious, Forty Guns is a virtuoso display of Fuller’s sharpshooting talents. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with director Samuel Fuller’s widow, Christa Lang-Fuller, and daughter, Samantha Fuller
  • A Fuller Life (2013), a feature-length documentary by Samantha Fuller about her father, featuring admirers and collaborators Wim Wenders, William Friedkin, Mark Hamill, James Franco, Monte Hellman, Jennifer Beals, Bill Duke, Constance Towers, and others
  • New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City
  • Stills gallery
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Lisa Dombrowski and excerpts from Fuller’s 2002 autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking

Panique (#955) out Dec 18

cc Panique.jpgProud, eccentric, and antisocial, Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon) has always kept to himself. But after a woman turns up dead in the Paris suburb where he lives, he feels drawn to a pretty young newcomer to town (Viviane Romance), discovers that his neighbors are only too ready to be suspicious of him, and is framed for the murder. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, Julien Duvivier’s first film after his return to France from Hollywood finds the acclaimed poetic realist applying his consummate craft to darker, moodier ends. Propelled by its two deeply nuanced lead performances, the tensely noirish Panique exposes the dangers of the knives-out mob mentality, delivering as well a pointed allegory of the behavior of Duvivier’s countrymen during the war. The special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • The Art of Subtitling, a new short documentary by Bruce Goldstein, founder and copresident of Rialto Pictures, about the history of subtitles
  • New interview with author Pierre Simenon, the son of novelist Georges Simenon
  • Conversation from 2015 between critics Guillemette Odicino and Eric Libiot about director Julien Duvivier and the film’s production history
  • Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer
  • New English subtitle translation by Duvivier expert Lenny Borger
  • PLUS: Essays by film scholar James Quandt and Borger

Sawdust and Tinsel (#412) out Dec 18

cc Sawdust and Tinsel.jpgIngmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival of humiliation in Sawdust and Tinsel, one of the master’s most vivid early works and his first of many collaborations with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist. The story of the charged relationship between a turn-of-the-twentieth-century circus owner (Åke Grönberg) and his younger mistress (Harriet Andersson), a horseback rider in the traveling show, the film features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power plays, making for a piercingly brilliant depiction of physical and spiritual degradation. The special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration (Blu-ray) or restored high-definition digital transfer of the film (DVD), with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary by Ingmar Bergman scholar Peter Cowie
  • Introduction by Bergman from 2003
  • PLUS: An essay by critic John Simon and (DVD only) an appreciation by filmmaker Catherine Breillat
    New cover by Sarah Habibi

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