Criterion Announces March 2021 Releases

Prepare to spring for these movies.
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The Criterion Collection marches into March with five releases. The new addition are Jacques Rivette's Céline and Julie Go Boating, Mike Leigh's Secrets & Lies, Albert Brooks' Defending Your Life, and the seven-disc set World of Wong Kar Wai. Getting a high-def upgrade is Djibril Diop Mambéty's Touki bouki. Read on to learn more about them.

Touki bouki (#685) out Mar 9

With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambéty paints a fractured portrait of the disenchantment of postindependence Senegal in the early 1970s. In this picaresque fantasy-drama, the disaffected young lovers Anta and Mory, fed up with Dakar, long to escape to the glamour and comforts they imagine France has to offer, but their plan is confounded by obstacles both practical and mystical. Alternately manic and meditative, Touki bouki has an avant-garde sensibility characterized by vivid imagery, bleak humor, unconventional editing, and jagged soundscapes, and it demonstrates Mambéty’s commitment to telling African stories in new ways. The special features are:

  • 2K digital transfer, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the family of director Djibril Diop Mambéty, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction from 2013 by The Film Foundation’s founder and chair, Martin Scorsese
  • Interview from 2013 with filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Interview program from 2012 featuring musician Wasis Diop and filmmaker Mati Diop, Mambéty’s brother and niece, respectively
  • Contras’ City, a 1968 short film by Mambéty, in a new 4K restoration by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Cineteca di Bologna
  • PLUS: An essay by film programmer and critic Ashley Clark

Céline and Julie Go Boating (#1069) out Mar 16

cc Celine and Julie Go Boating.jpgWhiling away a summer in Paris, director Jacques Rivette, working in close collaboration with his stars and coconspirators Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier, set out to rewrite the rules of cinema in the spirit of pure play—moviemaking as an anything-goes romp through the labyrinths of imagination. The result is one of the most exuberantly inventive and utterly enchanting films of the French New Wave, in which Julie (Labourier), a daydreaming librarian, meets Céline (Berto), an enigmatic magician, and together they become the heroines of a time-warping adventure involving a haunted house, psychotropic candy, and a murder-mystery melodrama. Incorporating allusions to everything from Lewis Carroll to Louis Feuillade, Céline and Julie Go Boating is both one of the all-time-great hangout comedies and a totally unique, enveloping cinematic dream space that delights in the endless pleasures and possibilities of stories. The special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2017 featuring critic Adrian Martin
  • Jacques Rivette: Le veilleur, a 1994 two-part feature documentary by Claire Denis, featuring an extensive interview with Rivette by film critic Serge Daney
  • New interviews with actor Bulle Ogier and producer and actor Barbet Schroeder
  • New conversation between critic Pacôme Thiellement and Hélène Frappat, author of Jacques Rivette, secret compris
  • Archival interviews with Rivette, Ogier, and actors Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, and Marie-France Pisier
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Beatrice Loayza and a 1974 piece by Berto

World of Wong Kar Wai out Mar 23

cc World of Wong Kar Wai.jpgWith his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema. Joined by such key collaborators as cinematographer Christopher Doyle; editor and production and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping; and actors Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has written and directed films that have enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with their poetic moods and music, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether they’re tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the seven films collected here are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist. The movies are:

  • As Tears Go By
  • Days of Being Wild
  • Chungking Express
  • Fallen Angels
  • Happy Together
  • In the Mood for Love
  • 2046

Secrets & Lies (#1070) out Mar 30

cc Secrets and Lies.jpgWriter-director Mike Leigh reached new levels of expressive power and intricacy in his ongoing contemplation of unembellished humanity with this resonant exploration of the deceptions, small and large, that shape our relationships to those we love. When Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a Black optometrist who was adopted as a child, begins the search for her birth mother, she doesn’t expect that it will lead her to Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s best actress award), a desperately lonely white factory worker whose tentative embrace of her long-lost daughter sends shock waves through the rest of her already fragile family. Born from a painstaking process of rehearsal and improvisation with a powerhouse ensemble cast, Secrets & Lies is a Palme d’Or-winning tour de force of sustained tension and catharsis that lays bare the emotional fault lines running beneath the surface of everyday lives. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Mike Leigh and director of photography Dick Pope, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation with Leigh and composer Gary Yershon
  • New interview with actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste
  • Audio interview with Leigh from 1996 conducted by film critic Michel Ciment
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Defending Your Life (#1071) out Mar 30

cc Defending Your Life.jpgIs there love after death? Acerbic everyman Albert Brooks finds a perfect balance between satirical bite and romantic-comedy charm as the writer, director, and star of this wonderfully warm and imaginative existential fantasy. After he dies suddenly, the hapless advertising executive Daniel Miller (Brooks) finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As the self-doubting Daniel struggles to make his case, a budding relationship with the uninhibited Julia (Meryl Streep) offers him a chance to finally feel alive. Buoyed by a brilliant supporting cast that includes Rip Torn, Lee Grant, and Buck Henry, Defending Your Life is a rare feat of personal, philosophical filmmaking that happens to also be divinely entertaining. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Albert Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide
  • New interview on the afterlife with theologian and critic Donna Bowman
  • New program featuring excerpts from 1991 interviews with Brooks and actors Lee Grant and Rip Torn
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Ari Aster

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