Criterion Announces September 2017 Releases

Which ones are you adding to your collection?
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The Criterion Collection is releasing six titles in September just in time for back to (film) school.  New to the collection are Murray Lerner's Festival; Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women; Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher; Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm's David Lynch: The Art Life; and Orson Welles' Othello. A high-def upgrade is also being provided to Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca.  Read on to learn more about them.

Rebecca (#135) out Sept 5

cc Rebecca.jpgRomance becomes psychodrama in Alfred Hitchcock’s elegantly crafted Rebecca, his first foray into Hollywood filmmaking. A dreamlike adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel, the film stars the enchanting Joan Fontaine as a young woman who believes she has found her heart’s desire when she marries the dashing aristocratic widower Maxim de Winter (played with cunning vulnerability by Laurence Olivier). But upon moving to Manderley—her groom’s baroque ancestral mansion—she soon learns that his deceased wife haunts not only the home but the temperamental, brooding Maxim as well. The start of Hitchcock’s legendary collaboration with producer David O. Selznick, this elegiac gothic vision, captured in stunning black and white by George Barnes, took home the Academy Awards for best picture and best cinematography. The special edition features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1990 featuring film scholar Leonard J. Leff
  • Isolated music and effects track
  • New conversation between film critic and author Molly Haskell and scholar Patricia White
  • New interview with special effects historian Craig Barron on the visual effects in Rebecca
  • Documentary from 2007 on the making of Rebecca
  • Screen, hair, makeup, and costume tests including actors Joan Fontaine, Anne Baxter,
    Vivien Leigh, Margaret Sullavan, and Loretta Young
  • Casting gallery annotated by director Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick
  • Television interviews with Hitchcock and Fontaine from 1973 and 1980
  • Audio interviews from 1986 with actor Judith Anderson and Fontaine
  • Three radio adaptations of Rebecca, from 1938, 1941, and 1950, including Orson Welles’s version for the Mercury Theatre
  • Theatrical rerelease trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic and Selznick biographer David Thomson and selected production correspondence, including letters between Hitchcock and Selznick

Festival (#892) out Sept 12

cc Festival.jpgBefore Woodstock and Monterey Pop, there was Festival. From 1963 to 1966, Murray Lerner visited the annual Newport Folk Festival to document a thriving, idealistic musical movement as it reached its peak as a popular phenomenon. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, the Staples Singers, Pete Seeger, Son House, and Peter, Paul and Mary were just a few of the legends who shared the stage at Newport, treating audiences to a range of folk music that encompassed the genre’s roots in blues, country, and gospel as well as its newer flirtations with rock ’n’ roll. Shooting in gorgeous black and white, Lerner juxtaposes performances with snapshot interviews with artists and their fans, weaving footage from four years of the festival into an intimate record of a pivotal time in music—and in American culture at large. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfer, approved by director Murray Lerner
  • New reconstruction and remastering of the monaural soundtrack using the original concert and field recordings, approved by Lerner and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
  • When We Played Newport, a new program featuring archival interviews with Lerner, music festival producer George Wein, and musicians Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Buffy Saint-Marie, Pete Seeger, and Peter Yarrow
  • Editing “Festival,” a new program featuring Lerner, associate editor Alan Heim, and assistant editor Gordon Quinn
  • Selection of complete outtake performances, including Clarence Ashley, Horton Barker, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker, and Odetta
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Amanda Petrusich and artist bios by folk music expert Mary Katherine Aldin

Certain Women (#893) out Sept 19

cc Certain Women.jpgThe expanses of the American Northwest take center stage in this intimately observed triptych from Kelly Reichardt. Adapted from three short stories by Maile Meloy and unfolding in self-contained but interlocking episodes, Certain Womennavigates the subtle shifts in personal desire and social expectation that unsettle the circumscribed lives of its characters: a lawyer (Laura Dern) forced to subdue a troubled client; a woman (Michelle Williams) whose plans to construct her dream home reveal fissures in her marriage; and a night-school teacher (Kristen Stewart) who forms a tenuous bond with a lonely ranch hand (Lily Gladstone), whose unguardedness and deep attachment to the land deliver an unexpected jolt of emotional immediacy. With unassuming craft, Reichardt captures the rhythms of daily life in small-town Montana through these fine-grained portraits of women trapped within the landscape’s wide-open spaces. The director-approved special edition features are:

  • New 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Kelly Reichardt and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with the film’s cast and crew, including Reichardt and executive producer Todd Haynes
  • New interview with Maile Meloy, author of the stories on which the film is based
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Ella Taylor

The Piano Teacher (#894) out Sept 26

cc Piano Teacher.jpgAcademy Award-winning Austrian director Michael Haneke shifted his focus from the social to the psychological for this riveting study of female sexuality and the dynamics of control, an adaptation of a controversial 1983 novel by Elfriede Jelinek. Haneke finds his match in Isabelle Huppert, who delivers an icy but quietly seething performance as Erika, a middle-aged piano professor at a Viennese conservatory who lives with her mother, in a claustrophobically codependent relationship. Severely repressed, she satisfies her masochistic urges only voyeuristically until she meets Walter (Benoît Magimel), a young student whose desire for Erika leads to a destructive infatuation that upsets the careful equilibrium of her life. A critical breakthrough for Haneke, The Piano Teacher—which won the Grand Prix as well as dual acting awards for its stars at Cannes—is a formalist masterwork that remains a shocking sensation. The special edition features are:

  • New, restored 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Michael Haneke, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Haneke
  • New interview with actor Isabelle Huppert
  • Selected-scene commentary from 2002 featuring Huppert
  • Behind-the-scenes footage of a postsync session for the film featuring Haneke and Huppert
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by scholar Moira Weigel

David Lynch: The Art Life (#895) out Sept 26

cc David Lynch The Art Life.jpgA rare glimpse into the mind of one of cinema’s most enigmatic visionaries, David Lynch: The Art Life offers an absorbing portrait of the artist, as well as an intimate encounter with the man himself. From the privacy of his home and painting studio in the Hollywood Hills, a candid Lynch conjures people and places from his past, from his boyhood in Idaho and Virginia to his experiences at art school in Boston and Philadelphia to the beginnings of his filmmaking career in Los Angeles—in stories that unfold like scenes from his movies. This remarkable documentary by directors Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes, and Olivia Neergaard-Holm reveals the story behind Lynch’s early years as a painter and director drawn to the phantasmagoric, while also illuminating his enduring commitment to what he calls the “the art life”: “You drink coffee, you smoke cigarettes, and you paint, and that’s it.” The special edition features are:

  • High-definition digital transfer, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with codirector Jon Nguyen
  • PLUS: A new essay by critic Dennis Lim

Othello (#870) out Sept 26

cc Othello 52.jpgGloriously cinematic despite its 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 gives a towering performance as the Moor of Venice, alongside Suzanne Cloutier as the innocent Desdemona, and Micheál MacLiammóir as the scheming Iago. Shot over the course of three years in Italy and Morocco and plagued by 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 one and the 1955 U.S. and UK one, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1995 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles scholar Myron Meisel
  • Return to Glennascaul, a 1953 short film made by actors Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards during a hiatus from shooting Othello
  • New interview with Welles biographer Simon Callow
  • Souvenirs d’“Othello,” a 1995 documentary about actor Suzanne Cloutier by François Girard
  • New interview with scholar François Thomas on the two versions
  • New interview with Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America
  • Interview from 2014 with scholar Joseph McBride
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien

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