Criterion Announces July 2017 Releases

How many are you gonna pick up?
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To help with summer-vacation budgets, the Criterion Collection is only releasing four titles in July.  Roberto Rossellini's War Trilogy (Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero) gets a high-def upgrade. In addition, they are also  releasing Robert Bresson's L’argent, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, and Albert Brooks' Lost in America.  Read on to learn more about them.

Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy (#500) out July 11

cc Rosellini War Trilogy.jpgRoberto Rossellini is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. And it was with his trilogy of films made during and after World War II—Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany Year Zero—that he left his first transformative mark on cinema. With their stripped-down aesthetic, largely nonprofessional casts, and unorthodox approaches to storytelling, these intensely emotional works were international sensations and came to define the neorealist movement. Shot in battle-ravaged Italy and Germany, these three films are some of our most lasting, humane documents of devastated postwar Europe, containing universal images of both tragedy and hope.. The special edition features are:

  • New high-definition digital restorations, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • Introductions by Roberto Rossellini to all three films
  • Interviews from 2009 with Rossellini scholar Adriano Aprà, film critic and Rossellini friend Father Virgilio Fantuzzi, and filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
  • Audio commentary from 2009 on Rome Open City by film scholar Peter Bondanella
  • Once Upon a Time . . . “Rome Open City,” a 2006 documentary on the making of this historic film, featuring rare archival material and footage of Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini, Ingrid Bergman, and many others
  • Rossellini and the City, a 2009 video essay by film scholar Mark Shiel on Rossellini’s use of the urban landscape in The War Trilogy
  • Excerpts from rarely seen videotaped discussions Rossellini had in 1970 about his craft with faculty and students at Rice University
  • Into the Future, a 2009 video essay about The War Trilogy by film scholar Tag Gallagher
  • Roberto Rossellini, a 2001 documentary by Carlo Lizzani, assistant director on Germany Year Zero, tracing Rossellini’s career through archival footage and interviews with family members and collaborators, with tributes by filmmakers François Truffaut and Martin Scorsese
  • Letters from the Front: Carlo Lizzani on “Germany Year Zero,” a podium discussion with Lizzani from the 1987 Tutto Rossellini conference
  • Italian credits and prologue from Germany Year Zero
  • PLUS: Essays by James Quandt, Irene Bignardi, Colin McCabe, and Jonathan Rosenbaum

L'argent (#886) out July 11

cc LArgent.jpgIn his ruthlessly clear-eyed final film, French master Robert Bresson pushed his unique blend of spiritual rumination and formal rigor to a new level of astringency. Transposing a Tolstoy novella to contemporary Paris, L’argent follows a counterfeit bill as it originates as a prop in a schoolboy prank, then circulates like a virus among the corrupt and the virtuous alike before landing with a young truck driver and leading him to incarceration and violence. With brutal economy, Bresson constructs his unforgiving vision of original sin out of starkly perceived details, rooting his characters in a dehumanizing material world that withholds any hope of transcendence. The special edition features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Press conference from the 1983 Cannes Film Festival
  • “L’argent,” A to Z, a new video essay by film scholar James Quandt
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Adrian Martin and a newly expanded 1983 interview with director Robert Bresson by critic Michel Ciment

Stalker (#888) out July 18

cc Stalker.jpgAndrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature is a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide—the Stalker—leads a writer and a scientist into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings. The special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Geoff Dyer, author of Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
  • Interview from 2002 with cinematographer Alexander Knyazhinsky
  • Interview from 2002 with set designer Rashit Safiullin
  • Interview from 2002 with composer Eduard Artemyev
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Le Fanu

Lost in America (#887) out July 25

cc Lost in America.jpgIn this hysterical satire of Reagan-era values, written and directed by Albert Brooks, a successful Los Angeles advertising executive (Brooks) and his wife (Julie Hagerty) decide to quit their jobs, buy a Winnebago, and follow their Easy Rider fantasies of freedom and the open road. When a stop in Las Vegas nearly derails their plans, they’re forced to come to terms with their own limitations and those of the American dream. Brooks’s barbed wit and confident direction drive Lost in America, a high point in the string of restless comedies about insecure characters searching for satisfaction in the modern world that established his unique comic voice and transformed the art of observational humor. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation with director Albert Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide
  • New interviews with actor Julie Hagerty, executive producer Herb Nanas, and comic writer and director James L. Brooks
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Scott Tobias

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