Criterion Announces July 2019 Releases

Declare your independence from streaming and buy these in July.
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Do the right thing and add these July titles to your home library.  New to the collection are Agnieszka Holland’s Europa Europa, Marcel Pagnol's The Baker’s Wife, Alan J. Pakula's Klute, and Michael Radford’s 1984.  Getting Blu-ray Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The BRD Trilogy and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. Read on to learn more about them.

The BRD Trilogy (#203) out Jul 4

In 1977, German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder was thirty-two years old and had already directed more than twenty-five feature films. That summer, he embarked on a project to trace the postwar history of West Germany in a series of films told from the perspectives of three remarkable women. Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss, and LolaThe BRD Trilogy—would garner him his greatest commercial success, both at home and abroad, and cement his position as one of the foremost figures of the New German Cinema. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restorations of The Marriage of Maria Braun and Lola, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • High-definition digital restoration of Veronika Voss, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentaries from 2003 featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (The Marriage of Maria Braun), film critic and author Tony Rayns (Veronika Voss), and film scholar Christian Braad Thomsen (Lola)
  • Interviews with actors Hanna Schygulla, Rosel Zech, and Barbara Sukowa
  • Interviews with cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger, screenwriter Peter Märthesheimer, and film scholar Eric Rentschler
  • Life Stories: A Conversation with R. W. Fassbinder, an interview filmed for German television in 1978
  • I Don’t Just Want You to Love Me, a feature-length 1992 documentary on director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s life and career
  • Dance with Death, a program from 2000 about Ufa studios star Sybille Schmitz, Fassbinder’s inspiration for the character Veronika Voss
  • Conversation between author and curator Laurence Kardish and film editor Juliane Lorenz
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Kent Jones and production histories by author Michael Töteberg (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Europa Europa (#984) out Jul 9

cc Europa Europa.jpgAs World War II splits Europe, sixteen-year-old German Jew Salomon (Marco Hofschneider) is separated from his family after fleeing with them to Poland, and finds himself reluctantly assuming various ideological identities in order to hide the deadly secret of his Jewishness. He is bounced from a Soviet orphanage, where he plays a dutiful Stalinist, to the Russian front, where he hides in plain sight as an interpreter for the German army, and back to his home country, where he takes on his most dangerous role: a member of the Hitler Youth. Based on the real-life experiences of Salomon Perel, Agnieszka Holland’s wartime tour de force Europa Europa is a breathless survival story told with the verve of a comic adventure, an ironic refutation of the Nazi idea of racial purity, and a complex portrait of a young man caught up in shifting historical calamities and struggling to stay alive. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Agnieszka Holland, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2008 featuring Holland
  • New interviews with Holland and actor Marco Hofschneider
  • New video essay by film scholar Annette Insdorf
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Amy Taubin

The Baker's Wife (#985) out Jul 16

cc The Baker's Wife.jpgThe warmth and wit of celebrated playwright turned cinema auteur Marcel Pagnol shine in this enchanting slice-of-life comedy. Returning to the Provençal countryside he knew intimately, Pagnol draws a vivid portrait of a close-knit village where the marital woes of a sweetly deluded baker (the inimitable Raimu, praised by no less than Orson Welles as “the greatest actor who ever lived”) snowball into a scandal that engulfs the entire town. Marrying the director’s abiding concern for the experiences of ordinary people with an understated but superbly judged visual style, The Baker’s Wife is at once wonderfully droll and piercingly perceptive in its depiction of the complexities of human relationships. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Selected-scene audio commentary featuring Marcel Pagnol scholar Brett Bowles
  • Introduction by Pagnol from 1967
  • Excerpt from a 1966 interview with Pagnol for the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps
  • Short French news program from 1967 revisiting the village of Le Castellet, where the film was shot
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau

Klute (#987) out Jul 16

cc Klute.jpgWith her Oscar-winning turn in Klute, Jane Fonda arrived full-fledged as a new kind of movie star. Bringing nervy audacity and counterculture style to the role of Bree Daniels—a call girl and aspiring actor who becomes the focal point of a missing-person investigation when detective John Klute (Donald Sutherland) turns up at her door—Fonda made the film her own, putting an independent woman and escort on-screen with a frankness that had not yet been attempted in Hollywood. Suffused with paranoia by the conspiracy-thriller specialist Alan J. Pakula, and lensed by master cinematographer Gordon Willis, Klute is a character study thick with dread, capturing the mood of early-1970s New York and the predicament of a woman trying to find her own way on the fringes of society. The special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by camera operator Michael Chapman, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between actors Jane Fonda and Illeana Douglas
  • New documentary about Klute and director Alan J. Pakula by filmmaker Matthew Miele, featuring scholars, filmmakers, and Pakula’s family and friends
  • The Look of “Klute,” a new interview with writer Amy Fine Collins
  • Archival interviews with Pakula and Fonda
  • “Klute” in New York, a short documentary made during the shooting of the film
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Harris and excerpts from a 1972 interview with Pakula

1984 (#986) out Jul 23

cc 1984.jpgThis masterly adaptation of George Orwell’s chilling parable about totalitarian oppression gives harrowing cinematic expression to the book’s bleak prophetic vision. In a rubble-strewn surveillance state where an endless overseas war props up the repressive regime of the all-seeing Big Brother, and all dissent is promptly squashed, a profoundly alienated citizen, Winston Smith (thrillingly played by John Hurt), risks everything for an illicit affair with the rebellious Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) in a defiant assertion of humanity in the face of soul-crushing conformity. Through vividly grim production design and expressionistically desaturated cinematography by Roger Deakins, Michael Radford’s 1984 conjures a dystopian vision of postwar Britain as fascistic nightmare—a world all too recognizable as our own. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by cinematographer Roger Deakins, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with director Michael Radford and cinematographer Roger Deakins
  • New interview with David Ryan, author of George Orwell on Screen
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by writer and performer A. L. Kennedy

Do the Right Thing (#97) out Jul 23

cc Do the Right Thing.jpgSet on one block of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy Do or Die neighborhood, at the height of summer, this 1989 masterpiece by Spike Lee confirmed him as a writer and filmmaker of peerless vision and passionate social engagement. Over the course of a single day, the easygoing interactions of a cast of unforgettable characters—Da Mayor, Mother Sister, Mister Señor Love Daddy, Tina, Sweet Dick Willie, Buggin Out, Radio Raheem, Sal, Pino, Vito, and Lee’s Mookie among them—give way to heated confrontations as tensions rise along racial fault lines, ultimately exploding into violence. Punctuated by the anthemic refrain of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Do the Right Thing is a landmark in American cinema, as politically and emotionally charged and as relevant now as when it first hit the big screen. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1995 featuring director Spike Lee, Dickerson, production designer Wynn Thomas, and actor Joie Lee
  • Introductions by Lee
  • Making “Do the Right Thing,” a documentary from 1988 by St. Clair Bourne
  • New interviews with costume designer Ruth E. Carter, camera assistant Darnell Martin, New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr., and writer Nelson George
  • Interview with editor Barry Alexander Brown from 2000
  • Programs from 2000 and 2009 featuring Lee and members of the cast and crew
  • Music video for Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” directed by Lee, with remarks from rapper Chuck D
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Cannes Film Festival press conference from 1989
  • Deleted and extended scenes
  • Original storyboards, trailer, and TV spots
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Vinson Cunningham, and (on the Blu-ray) extensive excerpts from the journal Lee kept during the preparation for and production of the film

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