Criterion Announces June 2015 Releases

Something old, something new.
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In June, Criterion packages previous titles in the collection, Louis Malle's My Dinner with André and Vanya on 42nd Street, with Jonathan Demme's A Master Builder to create André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films. Those films will also be available individually. Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces is being released apart from the America Lost and Found: The BBS Story set.  New to the Criterion Collection are Bernhard Wicki's The Bridge, Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King, and Jaromil Jireš' Valerie and Her Week of Wonders.

André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films out Jun 16 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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When André Gregory and Wallace Shawn—theater directors, writers, actors, and longtime friends—sat down for a stimulating meal in 1981’s My Dinner with André (#479), they not only ended up with one of cinema’s unlikeliest iconic scenarios but launched a film collaboration that would continue to pay creative dividends for decades. The subsequent projects they made together for the screen—1994’s Vanya on 42nd Street (#599), a passionate read-through of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, and 2014’s striking Henrik Ibsen interpretation A Master Builder (#762)—are penetrating works that exist on the edge of theater and film, and that both emerged out of many years of rehearsals with loyal troupes of actors. Gregory and Shawn’s unique contributions to the cinematic landscape are shape-shifting, challenging, and entertaining works about the process of creation. 

The special edition features for My Dinner with André are:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview from 2009 with actors and cowriters André Gregory and Wallace Shawn, conducted by their friend the filmmaker Noah Baumbach
  • “My Dinner with Louis,” a 1982 episode of the BBC program Arena in which Shawn interviews director Louis Malle
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Amy Taubin and the prefaces written by Gregory and Shawn for the 1981 publication of the film’s screenplay

The special edition features for Vanya on 42nd Street are:

  • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Declan Quinn, with uncompressed 2.0 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New documentary featuring interviews with André Gregory, the play’s director; actors Lynn Cohen, George Gaynes, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, and Brooke Smith; and producer Fred Berner
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Steven Vineberg and a 1994 on-set report by film critic Amy Taubin

The director-approved special edition features for A Master Builder are:

  • High-definition digital master, supervised by director of photography Declan Quinn, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with director Jonathan Demme, director and star André Gregory, and screenwriter and actor Wallace Shawn, conducted by film critic David Edelstein
  • New conversation between actors Julie Hagerty and Lisa Joyce
  • New program featuring Gregory, Shawn, and their friend the author Fran Lebowitz in conversation
  • Trailer

The Bridge (#763) out Jun 23 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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The astonishing The Bridge, by Bernhard Wicki, was the first major antiwar film to come out of Germany after World War II, as well as the nation’s first postwar film to be widely shown internationally, even securing an Oscar nomination. Set near the end of the war, it follows a group of teenage boys in a small town as they contend with everyday matters like school, girls, and parents, before enlisting as soldiers and being forced to defend their home turf in a confused, terrifying battle. This expressively shot, emotionally bruising drama dared to humanize young German soldiers at a historically tender moment, and proved influential for the coming generation of New German Cinema auteurs. The special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with writer Gregor Dorfmeister, on whose autobiographical novel the film is based
  • New interview with filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff about the film’s impact on German cinema
  • Interview from 1989 with director Bernhard Wicki
  • Excerpt from a 2007 documentary by Elisabeth Wicki-Endriss, Wicki’s wife, featuring test reel footage from the shoot
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

The Fisher King (#764) out Jun 23 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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A fairy tale grounded in poignant reality, the magnificent, Manhattan-set The Fisher King, by Terry Gilliam, features Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in two of their most brilliant roles. Bridges plays a former radio shock jock reconstructing his life after a scandal, and Williams is a homeless man on a quest for the Holy Grail—which he believes to be hidden somewhere on the Upper West Side. Unknowingly linked by their pasts, the two men aid each other on a fanciful journey to redemption. This singular American odyssey features a witty script by Richard La Gravenese, evocative cinematography by Roger Pratt, and superb supporting performances by Amanda Plummer and an Oscar-winning Mercedes Ruehl, all harnessed by Gilliam into a humane, funny modern-day myth. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfer, approved by director Terry Gilliam, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Gilliam
  • New interviews with Gilliam; producer Lynda Obst; screenwriter Richard La Gravenese; and actors Jeff Bridges, Amanda Plummer, and Mercedes Ruehl
  • New interviews with artists Keith Greco and Vincent Jefferds on the creation of the film’s Red Knight
  • Interview from 2006 with actor Robin Williams
  • New video essay featuring Bridges’s on-set photographs
  • Deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Gilliam
  • Costume tests
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Bilge Ebiri

Five Easy Pieces (#546) out Jun 30 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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Following Jack Nicholson’s breakout supporting turn in Easy Rider, director Bob Rafelson devised a powerful leading role for the new star in the searing character study Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson plays the now iconic cad Bobby Dupea, a shiftless thirtysomething oil rigger and former piano prodigy immune to any sense of responsibility, who returns to his upper-middle-class childhood home, blue-collar girlfriend (Karen Black, in an Oscar-nominated role) in tow, to see his estranged ailing father. Moving in its simplicity and gritty in its textures, Five Easy Pieces is a lasting example of early 1970s American alienation. The special edition features are:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography László Kovács, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring director Bob Rafelson and interior designer Toby Rafelson
  • Soul Searching in “Five Easy Pieces,” a 2009 video piece with Rafelson
  • BBStory, a 2009 documentary about the legendary film company BBS Productions, with Rafelson; actors Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, and Ellen Burstyn; directors Peter Bogdanovich and Henry Jaglom; and others
  • Documentary from 2009 about BBS featuring critic David Thomson and historian Douglas Brinkley (standalone DVD and Blu-ray editions only)
  • Audio excerpts from a 1976 AFI interview with Rafelson
  • Theatrical trailer and teasers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Kent Jones

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (#761) out Jun 30 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions 

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A girl on the verge of womanhood finds herself in a sensual fantasyland of vampires, witchcraft, and other threats in this eerie and mystical movie daydream. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders serves up an endlessly looping, nonlinear fairy tale, set in a quasi-medieval landscape. Ravishingly shot, enchantingly scored, and spilling over with surreal fancies, this enticing phantasmagoria from director Jaromil Jireš is among the most beautiful oddities of the Czechoslovak New Wave. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Three early shorts by director Jaromil Jireš: Uncle (1959), Footprints (1960), and The Hall of Lost Steps (1960)
  • New interview with Czechoslovak film scholar Peter Hames
  • Interviews from 2006 with actors Jaroslava Schallerová and Jan Klusák
  • Alternate 2007 psych-folk soundtrack to the film by the Valerie Project, and a new video piece on the music’s origins
  • New English subtitle translationPLUS: An essay by critic Jana Prikryl

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