Criterion Announces February 2017 Releases

Four more weeks of movies!
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No matter what the groundhog sees, there's going to be four more weeks of movies from Criterion in February with all new additions to the collection. They are Richard Linklater's The Before Trilogy, Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs, Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson, Michael Curtiz's Mildred Pierce, and Pedro Almodóvar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  Read on to learn more about them.

Cameraperson (#853) out Feb 7

cc Cameraperson.jpgA boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home with the director: Kirsten Johnson weaves these scenes and others into her film Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage captured over her twenty-five-year career as a documentary cinematographer. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality with crafted narrative. A work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, Cameraperson is a moving glimpse into one filmmaker’s personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New high-definition digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Making “Cameraperson,” a new program featuring director Kirsten Johnson, producers Marilyn Ness and Danielle Varga, and editors Nels Bangerter and Amanda Laws
  • In the Service of the Film, a roundtable conversation with Johnson, producer Gini Reticker, and sound recordists Wellington Bowler and Judy Karp
  • Excerpts from two 2016 film festival talks with Johnson, including one between her and filmmaker Michael Moore
  • The Above, a 2015 short film by Johnson
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda and reprinted writings by Johnson

The Tree of Wooden Clogs (#840) out Feb 14

cc The Tree of Wooden Clogs.jpgA painterly and sensual immersion in late nineteenth-century Italian farm life, Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs lovingly focuses on four families working for one landowner on an isolated estate in the province of Bergamo. Filming on an abandoned farm for four months, Olmi adapted neorealist techniques to tell his story, enlisting local people to live as their own ancestors had, speaking in their native dialect on locations with which they were intimately familiar. Through the cycle of seasons, of back-breaking labor, love and marriage, birth and death, faith and superstition, Olmi naturalistically evokes an existence very close to nature, one that celebrates its beauty, humor, and simplicity but also acknowledges the feudal cruelty that governs it. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1978, The Tree of Wooden Clogs is at once intimate in scale and epic in scope—a towering, heart-stirring work of humanist filmmaking. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K restoration, created in collaboration with The Film Foundation at L’Immagine Ritrovata and supervised by director Ermanno Olmi, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate Italian-language soundtrack
  • Ermanno Olmi: The Roots of the Tree, an hour-long episode of The South Bank Show from 1981, featuring an interview with Olmi on the film and a visit to the farm where it was shot
  • New program featuring cast and crew discussing the film at the Cinema Ritrovato film festival in Bologna, Italy, in 2016
  • Archival interviews with Olmi
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Deborah Young

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (#855) out Feb 21

cc Woman on the Verge.jpgPedro Almodóvar makes telephones, a mambo taxi, and a burning mattress into delirious plot points and indelible images in his international breakthrough, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.Melding melodrama with screwball farce, this Academy Award-nominated black comedy secured the auteur’s place at the vanguard of modern Spanish cinema. Continuing Almodóvar’s exploration of the female psyche, the film tells the story of Pepa, an actor—played by the director’s frequent collaborator Carmen Maura—who resolves to kill herself with a batch of sleeping-pill-laced gazpacho after her lover leaves her. Fortunately, she is interrupted by a string of visitors, setting in motion a deliciously chaotic series of events. The filmmaker channeled inspiration by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk into his own unique vision, arriving at the irreverent sense of humor and vibrant visual sense that define his work today. With a sensational ensemble cast of early Almodóvar regulars that also includes Antonio Banderas and Rossy de Palma, this film shows an artist in total control of his craft. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Pedro Almodóvar and producer Agustín Almodóvar, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master
  • Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with director Pedro Almodóvar, actor Carmen Maura, and producer Agustín Almodóvar
  • New discussion by film scholar Richard Peña of the film’s impact in Spain and abroad
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Elvira Lindo

Mildred Pierce (#860) out Feb 21

cc Mildred Pierce.jpgMelodrama casts noirish shadows in this portrait of maternal sacrifice from the Hollywood master Michael Curtiz. Its iconic performance by Joan Crawford as Mildred, a single mother hell-bent on freeing her children from the stigma of economic hardship, solidified Crawford’s career comeback and gave the actor her only Oscar. But as Mildred pulls herself up by the bootstraps, first as an unflappable waitress and eventually as the well-heeled owner of a successful restaurant chain, the ingratitude of her materialistic firstborn (a diabolical Ann Blyth) becomes a venomous serpent’s tooth, setting in motion an endless cycle of desperate overtures and heartless recriminations. Recasting James M. Cain’s rich psychological novel as a murder mystery, this bitter cocktail of blind parental love and all-American ambition is both unremittingly hard-boiled and sumptuously emotional. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation about Mildred Pierce with critics Molly Haskell and Robert Polito
  • Excerpt from a 1970 episode of The David Frost Show featuring actor Joan Crawford
  • Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star, a 2002 feature-length documentary on Crawford’s life and career
  • Q&A with actor Ann Blyth from 2002, conducted by film historian Eddie Muller
  • Segment from a 1969 episode of the Today show featuring novelist James M. Cain
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith

The Before Trilogy (#856) out Feb 28

The cornerstone of the career-long exploration of cinematic time by director Richard Linklater, this celebrated three-part romance captures a relationship as it begins, begins again, deepens, strains, and settles over the course of almost two decades. Chronicling the love of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), from their first meeting as idealistic twentysomethings to the disillusionment they face together in middle age, The Before Trilogy also serves as a document of a boundary-pushing and extraordinarily intimate collaboration between director and actors, as Delpy and Hawke, who cowrote two of the films, imbue their characters with a sense of raw, lived-in experience, and as they age on-screen along with them. Attuned to the sweeping grandeur of time’s passage as well as the evanescence of individual moments, the Beforefilms chart the progress of romantic destiny as it navigates the vicissitudes of ordinary life. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfers of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset and a 2K digital master of Before Midnight, approved by director Richard Linklater, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Before Sunrise Blu-ray and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Before Sunset and Before Midnight Blu-rays
  • New discussion featuring Linklater and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, moderated by critic Kent Jones
  • Behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from the productions of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
  • Audio commentary on Before Midnight by Delpy, Linklater, and Hawke
  • Dream Is Destiny, a 2016 feature-length documentary about Linklater by Louis Black and Karen Bernstein
  • New documentary about the making of Before Midnight in Greece by filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari
  • 3×2, a new conversation between scholars Dave Johnson and Rob Stone about Linklater’s work
  • Linklater // On Cinema & Time, a video essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
  • PLUS: An essay on the trilogy by critic Dennis Lim

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