Criterion Announces November 2020 Releases

Cinephiles will be giving thanks this November.
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This November, film fans can stuff themselves with these new Criterion Collection offerings. They are Claudia Weill's Girlfriends, Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck, Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Essential Fellini, a massive 14-disc Blu-ray set. Read on to learn more about them.

Girlfriends (#1055) out Nov 10

When her best friend and roommate abruptly moves out to get married, Susan (Melanie Mayron), trying to become a gallery artist while making ends meet as a bar mitzvah photographer on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, finds herself adrift in both life and love. Could a new job be the answer? What about a fling with a married, older rabbi (Eli Wallach)? A wonder of American independent filmmaking whose remarkably authentic vision of female relationships has become a touchstone for makers of an entire subgenre of films and television shows about young women trying to make it in the big city, this 1970s New York time capsule from Claudia Weill captures the complexities and contradictions of women’s lives and relationships with wry humor and refreshing frankness. The director-approved special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Claudia Weill and director of photography Fred Murphy, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Weill
  • New interview with Weill and actors Melanie Mayron, Christopher Guest, and Bob Balaban
  • New interview with screenwriter Vicki Polon
  • New interview with Weill and writer and director Joey Soloway
  • Joyce at 34, a 1972 short film by Weill and Joyce Chopra
  • Commuters, a 1973 short film by Weill
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Molly Haskell and scholar Carol Gilligan

Moonstruck (#1056) out Nov 17

cc Moonstruck.jpgA full moon, a New York City night, and love and music in the air . . . One of the most enchanting romantic comedies of all time assembles a flawless ensemble cast for a tender and boisterously funny look at a multigenerational Italian American family in Brooklyn, wrestling with the complexities of love and marriage at every stage of life. At the center of it all is a radiant Cher as Loretta, an unlucky-in-love bookkeeper whose feelings about her engagement to the staid Johnny (Danny Aiello) are thrown into question after she meets his hot-blooded brother, Ronny (Nicolas Cage), and one night at the opera changes everything. Winner of the Academy Awards for best actress (Cher), supporting actress (Olympia Dukakis), and original screenplay (by playwright John Patrick Shanley), this modern-day fairy tale is swept along on passionate Puccini melodies, and directed by master storyteller Norman Jewison with the heightened emotion to match. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with screenwriter John Patrick Shanley
  • New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the use of opera in the film
  • Introduction from 2013 featuring Cher
  • Interviews from 1987 with director Norman Jewison and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis
  • Interview from 2002 with actor Danny Aiello
  • Audio interview from 1989 with Shanley about screenwriting and the development of Moonstruck
  • At the Heart of an Italian Family, a 2006 program about the making of the film
  • The Music of “Moonstruck,” a 2006 program featuring interviews with Jewison and composer Dick Hyman
  • Audio commentary from 1998 with Cher, Jewison, and Shanley
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Emily VanDerWerff

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (#1057) out Nov 17

cc Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai.jpgJim Jarmusch combines his love for the ice-cool crime dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville and Seijun Suzuki with the philosophical dimensions of samurai mythology for an eccentrically postmodern take on the hit-man thriller. In one of his defining roles, Forest Whitaker brings a commanding serenity to his portrayal of a Zen contract killer working for a bumbling mob outfit, a modern man who adheres steadfastly to the ideals of the Japanese warrior code even as chaos and violence spiral around him. Featuring moody cinematography by the great Robby Müller, a mesmerizing score by the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, and a host of colorful character actors (including a memorably stone-faced Henry Silva), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai plays like a pop-culture-sampling cinematic mixtape built around a one-of-a-kind tragic hero. The director-approved special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Jim Jarmusch, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate isolated stereo music track
  • New Q&A with Jarmusch, in which he responds to questions sent in by fans
  • New conversation between actors Forest Whitaker and Isaach De Bankolé, moderated by film scholar Michael B. Gillespie
  • New interview with casting director Ellen Lewis
  • New interview with Shifu Shi Yan Ming, founder of the USA Shaolin Temple
  • New video essay on RZA’s original score for the film
  • The Odyssey: A Journey into the Life of a Samurai, a 2000 program on the making of the film
  • Deleted scenes and outtakes
  • Archival interviews
  • Trailer
  • More!
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Greg Tate and quotations from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, by the early-eighteenth-century monk Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Essential Fellini out Nov 24

cc Essential Fellini.jpgOne hundred years after his birth, Federico Fellini still stands apart as a giant of the cinema. The Italian maestro is defined by his dualities: the sacred and the profane, the masculine and the feminine, the provincial and the urbane. He began his career working in the slice-of-life poetry of neorealism, and though he soon spun off on his own freewheeling creative axis, he never lost that grounding, evoking his dreams, memories, and obsessions in increasingly grand productions teeming with carnivalesque imagery and flights of phantasmagoric surrealism while maintaining an earthy, embodied connection to humanity. Bringing together fourteen of the director’s greatest spectacles, all beautifully restored, this centenary box set is a monument to an artist who conjured a cinematic universe all his own: a vision of the world as a three-ring circus in which his innermost infatuations, fears, and fantasies take center stage. Read more here.

The Irishman (#1058) out Nov 24

CC The Irishman.jpgMartin Scorsese’s cinematic mastery is on full display in this sweeping crime saga, which serves as an elegiac summation of his six-decade career. Left behind by the world, former hit man and union truck driver Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) looks back from a nursing home on his life’s journey through the ranks of organized crime: from his involvement with Philadelphia mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) to his association with Teamsters union head Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) to the rift that forced him to choose between the two. An intimate story of loyalty and betrayal writ large across the epic canvas of mid-twentieth-century American history, The Irishman (based on the real-life Sheeran’s confessions, as told to writer Charles Brandt for the book I Heard You Paint Houses) is a uniquely reflective late-career triumph that balances its director’s virtuoso set pieces with a profoundly personal rumination on aging, mortality, and the decisions and regrets that shape a life. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital master, approved by director Martin Scorsese, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Newly edited roundtable conversation among Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, originally recorded in 2019
  • New documentary about the making of the film featuring Scorsese; the lead actors; producers Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Jane Rosenthal, and Irwin Winkler; director of photography Rodrigo Prieto; and others from the cast and crew
  • New video essay written and narrated by film critic Farran Smith Nehme about The Irishman’s synthesis of Scorsese’s singular formal style
  • The Evolution of Digital De-aging, a 2019 program on the visual effects created for the film
  • Archival interview excerpts with Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran and International Brotherhood of Teamsters trade union leader Jimmy Hoffa
  • Trailer and teaser
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

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