Criterion Announces May 2017 Releases

See what's in store for May.
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May begins with the Criterion Collection giving high-def upgrades to Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and Yasujiro Ozu's Good Morning. In addition, they are putting out releasing four new titles. They are Orson Welles' Othello, Jacques Audiard's Dheepan, Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World and Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 2, which includes Insiang, Mysterious Object at Noon, Revenge, Limite, Law of the Border, and Taipei Story.  Read on to learn more about them.

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (#484) out May 9

cc Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.jpgA singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow (Delphine Seyrig)—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades. The special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration undertaken by the Royal Belgian Film Archive, supervised by director of photography Babette Mangolte, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Autour de “Jeanne Dielman,” a 69-minute documentary—shot by actor Sami Frey and edited by Agnes Ravez and director Chantal Akerman—made during the filming of Jeanne Dielman
  • Interviews from 2009 with Akerman and Mangolte
  • Excerpt from “Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman,” a 1997 episode of the French television program Cinéma de notre temps
  • Interview from 2007 with Akerman’s mother, Natalia
  • Excerpt from a 1976 television interview featuring Akerman and actor Delphine Seyrig
  • Saute ma ville (1968), Akerman’s first film, with an introduction by the director
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ivone Margulies

Good Morning (#84) out May 16

cc Good Morning.jpgA lighthearted take on director Yasujiro Ozu’s perennial theme of the challenges of intergenerational relationships, Good Morning (Ohayo) tells the story of two young boys who stop speaking as an act of resistance after their parents refuse to buy a television set. Ozu weaves a wealth of subtle gags through a family portrait as rich as those of his dramatic films, mocking the foibles of the adult world through the eyes of his childish protagonists. Shot in stunning Technicolor and set in a suburb of Tokyo where housewives gossip about the neighbors’ new washing machine and unemployed men look for work as door-to-door salesmen, this charming comedy reworks Ozu’s own silent classic I Was Born, But . . .to gently satirize consumerism in postwar Japan. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration from Shochiku Co., with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • I Was Born, But . . ., Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 silent comedy masterpiece, with a score composed by Donald Sosin in 2008
  • Surviving excerpt from A Straightforward Boy, a 1929 silent film by Ozu
  • New video essay on Ozu’s use of humor by critic David Cairns
  • New interview with film scholar David Bordwell
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum

Othello (1952) (#870) out May 23

cc Othello 52.jpgGloriously cinematic despite being made on a tiny budget, Orson Welles’s Othello is a testament to the filmmaker’s stubborn willingness to pursue his vision to the ends of the earth. Unmatched in his passionate identification with Shakespeare’s imagination, Welles brings his inventive visual approach to this enduring tragedy of jealousy, bigotry, and rage, and also gives a towering performance as the Moor of Venice, alongside Suzanne Cloutier as his innocent wife, Desdemona, and Micheál MacLiammóir as the scheming Iago. Shot over the course of three years in Morocco, Venice, Tuscany, and Rome and plagued by many logistical problems, this fiercely independent film joins Macbeth and Chimes at Midnight in making the case for Welles as the cinema’s most audacious interpreter of the Bard. The special edition features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfers of two versions of the film, the 1952 European version and the 1955 U.S. version, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles scholar Myron Meisel
  • Return to Glennascaul, a 1953 short film made by MacLiammóir and actor Hilton Edwards during a hiatus from shooting Othello
  • New interview with Welles biographer Simon Callow
  • New interview with Welles scholar François Thomas on the differences between the two versions
  • New interview with Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America
  • Interview from 2014 with Welles scholar Joseph McBride
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien

Dheepan (#871) out May 23

cc Dheepan.jpgWith this Palme d’Or-winning drama, which deftly combines seemingly disparate genres, French filmmaker Jacques Audiard cemented his status as one of the titans of contemporary world cinema. In an arresting performance, the nonprofessional actor Antonythasan Jesuthasan (himself a former child soldier) stars as a Tamil fighter who, along with a woman and child posing as his wife and daughter, flees war-torn Sri Lanka only to land in a Paris suburb riddled with drugs. As the makeshift family embarks on a new life, Dheepan settles into an intimate social-realist mode, before tightening, gradually and organically, into a dynamic turf-war thriller, as well as an unsettling study of the psychological aftereffects of combat. Searing and sensitive, Audiard’s film is a unique depiction of the refugee experience as a continuous crisis of identity. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • High-definition digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2015 featuring director Jacques Audiard and coscreenwriter Noé Debré
  • New interview with Audiard
  • New interview with actor Antonythasan Jesuthasan
  • Deleted scenes with audio commentary by Audiard and Debré
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Atkinson

Ghost World (#872) out May 30

cc Ghost World.jpgTerry Zwigoff’s first fiction film, adapted from a cult-classic comic by Daniel Clowes, is an idiosyncratic portrait of adolescent alienation that’s at once bleakly comic and wholly endearing. Set during the malaise-filled months following high-school graduation, Ghost World follows the proud misfit Enid (Thora Birch), who confronts an uncertain future amid the cultural wasteland of consumerist America. As her cynicism becomes too much to bear even for her best friend, Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), Enid finds herself drawn to an unlikely kindred spirit: a sad-sack record collector many years her senior (Steve Buscemi). With its parade of oddball characters, quotable, Oscar-nominated script, and eclectic soundtrack of vintage obscurities, Ghost World is one of the twenty-first century’s most fiercely beloved comedies. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by writer-director Terry Zwigoff, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Zwigoff, comic-book creator and cowriter Daniel Clowes, and producer Lianne Halfon
  • New interviews with and actors Thora Birch and Illeana Douglas
  • Extended excerpt from Gumnaam (1965) featuring the Bollywood musical number that appears in Ghost World’s opening title sequence
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton

Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 2 (#873) out May 30

cc Scorsese World Cinema Project No. 2.jpgEstablished by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has maintained a passionate commitment to preserving and presenting masterpieces from around the globe, with a growing roster of more than two dozen restorations that have introduced moviegoers to often-overlooked areas of cinema history. This collector’s set gathers six important works, from the Philippines (Insiang), Thailand (Mysterious Object at Noon), Soviet Kazakhstan (Revenge), Brazil (Limite), Turkey (Law of the Border), and Taiwan (Taipei Story). Each title is an essential contribution to the art form and a window onto a filmmaking tradition that international audiences previously had limited opportunities to experience. The special edition features are:

  • 2K, 3K, or 4K digital restorations of all six films, presented courtesy of the World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
  • Remastered digital soundtrack of Limite created almost entirely from archival recordings of the same musical performances director Mário Peixote and his musical arranger Brutus Pedreira originally selected to accompany the film, presented in uncompressed monaural sound on the Blu-ray
  • New introductions to the films by World Cinema Project founder Martin Scorsese
  • New interview programs featuring film historian Pierre Rissient (on Insiang), director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (on Mysterious Object at Noon), director Ermek Shinarbaev (on Revenge), filmmaker Walter Salles (on Limite), producer Mevlüt Akkaya (on Law of the Border), and actor and cowriter Hou Hsiao-hsien with filmmaker Edmond Wong (on Taipei Story)
  • Updated English subtitle translations
  • Three Blu-rays and six DVDs, with all content available in both formats
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Phillip Lopate, Dennis Lim, Kent Jones, Fábio Andrade, Bilge Ebiri, and Andrew Chan

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