Criterion Announces February 2016 Releases

Presenting six classics from U.S. and world cinema.
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No matter what the groundhog does, Criterion is supposed to deliver six new titles in February.  They are Jan Troell's The Emigrants / The New Land set, Nagisa Oshima's Death by Hanging, Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, Mike Nichols' The Graduate, and Antonio Pietrangeli's I Knew Her Well.  Read on to learn more about them.

The Emigrants / The New Land (#796 & 797) out Feb 9

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This monumental mid-nineteenth-century epic from Jan Troell (Here Is Your Life) charts, over the course of two films, a poor Swedish farming family’s voyage to America and their efforts to put down roots in this beautiful but forbidding new world. Movie legends Max Von Sydow (The Seventh Seal) and Liv Ullmann (Persona) give remarkably authentic performances as Karl-Oskar and Kristina, a couple who meet with one physical and emotional trial after another on their arduous journey. The precise, minute detail with which Troell depicts the couple’s story—which is also the story of countless other people who sought better lives across the Atlantic—is a wonder to behold. Engrossing every step of the way, the duo of The Emigrants and The New Land makes for perhaps the greatest screen drama about the settling of America. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New high-definition digital restorations of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
  • New introduction by critic and Swedish-film expert John Simon
  • New conversation between film scholar Peter Cowie and director Jan Troell
  • New interview with actor Liv Ullmann
  • To Paint with Pictures, a 2005 documentary on the making of the films, featuring archival footage as well as interviews with Troell, Ullmann, producer and coscreenwriter Bengt Forslund, and actor Eddie Axberg
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Terrence Rafferty

Death by Hanging (#798) out Feb 16

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Genius provocateur Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses), an influential figure in the Japanese New Wave of the 1960s, made one of his most startling political statements with the compelling pitch-black satire Death by Hanging. In this macabre farce, a Korean man is sentenced to death in Japan but survives his execution, sending the authorities into a panic about what to do next. At once disturbing and oddly amusing, Oshima’s constantly surprising film is a subversive and surreal indictment of both capital punishment and the treatment of Korean immigrants in his country. The special edition features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with critic Tony Rayns
  • New high-definition digital transfer of director Nagisa Oshima’s 1965 experimental short documentary Diary of Yunbogi
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton

The Kid (#799) out Feb 16

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Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature. The Kid doesn’t merely show Chaplin at a turning point, when he proved that he was a serious film director—it remains an expressive masterwork of silent cinema. In it, he stars as his lovable Tramp character, this time raising an orphan (a remarkable young Jackie Coogan) he has rescued from the streets. Chaplin and Coogan make a miraculous pair in this nimble marriage of sentiment and slapstick, a film that is, as its opening title card states, “a picture with a smile—and perhaps, a tear.” The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s 1972 rerelease version of the film, featuring an original score by Chaplin, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary featuring Chaplin historian Charles Maland
  • Jackie Coogan: The First Child Star, a new video essay by Chaplin historian Lisa Haven
  • A Study in Undercranking, a new piece featuring silent-film specialist Ben Model
  • Interviews with Coogan and actor Lita Grey Chaplin
  • Excerpted audio interviews with cinematographer Rollie Totheroh and film distributor Mo Rothman
  • Deleted scenes and titles from the original 1921 version of The Kid
  • “Charlie” on the Ocean, a 1921 newsreel documenting Chaplin’s first return trip to Europe
  • Footage of Chaplin conducting his score for The Kid
  • Nice and Friendly, a 1922 silent short featuring Chaplin and Coogan, presented with a new score by composer Timothy Brock
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by film historian Tom Gunning

The Graduate (#800) out Feb 26

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One of the most beloved American films of all time, The Graduate earned Mike Nichols a best director Oscar, brought the music of Simon & Garfunkel to a wider audience, and introduced the world to a young actor named Dustin Hoffman. Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) has just finished college and is already lost in a sea of confusion and barely contained angst when he becomes sexually involved with the middle-aged mother (Anne Bancroft) of the young woman he’s dating (Katharine Ross). Visually imaginative and impeccably acted, with a clever, endlessly quotable script by Buck Henry (based on the novel by Charles Webb), The Graduate had the kind of cultural impact that comes along only once in a generation. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Optional 5.1 surround remix, approved by director Mike Nichols, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2007 featuring Nichols in conversation with filmmaker Steven Soderbergh
  • Audio commentary from 1987 featuring film scholar Howard Suber
  • New interview with actor Dustin Hoffman
  • New conversation between producer Lawrence Turman and actor-screenwriter Buck Henry
  • New interview with film writer and historian Bobbie O’Steen about editor Sam O’Steen’s work on The Graduate
  • Students of “The Graduate,” a short documentary from 2007 on the film’s influence
  • “The Graduate” at 25, a 1992 featurette on the making of the film
  • Interview with Nichols by Barbara Walters, from a 1966 episode of NBC’s Today show
  • Excerpt from a 1970 appearance by singer-songwriter Paul Simon on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Screen tests
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by journalist and critic Frank Rich

I Knew Her Well (#801) out Feb 26

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This prismatic portrait of the days and nights of a party girl in sixties Rome is a revelation. On the surface, I Knew Her Well, directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, plays like an inversion of La dolce vita with a woman at its center, following the gorgeous, seemingly liberated Adriana (Divorce Italian Style’s Stefania Sandrelli) as she dallies with a wide variety of men, attends parties, goes to modeling gigs, and circulates among the rich and famous. Despite its often light tone, though, the film is a stealth portrait of a suffocating culture that regularly dehumanizes people, especially women. A seriocomic character study that never strays from its complicated central figure while keeping us at an emotional remove, I Knew Her Wellis one of the most overlooked films of the sixties, by turns hilarious, tragic, and altogether jaw-dropping. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with actor Stefania Sandrelli
  • New interview with film scholar Luca Barattoni about the career of director Antonio Pietrangeli
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by journalist and author Alexander Stille

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