Criterion Announces September 2019 Releases

"Six in September" has a nice ring to it.
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Might not want to blow your budget on summer-vacation plans after seeing these September titles from Criterion.  New to the collection will be Ritwik Ghatak's The Cloud-Capped Star, John Waters' Polyester, Ernst Lubitsch's Cluny Brown, Charlie Chaplin's The Circus, and Bill Forsyth's Local Hero.  Getting a Blu-ray upgrade is Marco Bellocchio's Fists in the Pocket. Read on to learn more about them.

Fists in the Pocket (#333) out Sept 3

Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions, in this astonishing debut from Marco Bellocchio. Characterized by a coolly assured style, shocking perversity, and savage gallows humor, Fists in the Pocket was a gleaming ice pick in the eye of bourgeois family values and Catholic morality, a truly unique work that continues to rank as one of the great achievements of Italian cinema. The director-approved special features are:

  • On the DVD: Restored high-definition digital transfer
  • On the Blu-ray: New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Marco Bellocchio, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Interviews from 2005 with Bellocchio, actors Lou Castel and Paola Pitagora, editor Silvano Agosti, critic Tullio Kezich, and filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci
  • New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini (Blu-ray only)
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Deborah Young and (with the DVD) an interview with Bellocchio

The Cloud-Capped Star (#993) out Sept 10

cc The Cloud-Capped Star.jpgDirected by the visionary Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak, The Cloud-Capped Star tells the story of a family that has been uprooted by the Partition of India and come to depend on its eldest daughter, the self-sacrificing Neeta (Supriya Choudhury). She watches helplessly as her own hopes and desires are pushed aside time and again by those of her siblings and parents, until all her chances for happiness evaporate, leaving her crushed and sickly. Experimenting with off-balance compositions, discontinuous editing, and a densely layered soundtrack, Ghatak devised an intellectually ambitious and emotionally devastating new shape for the melodrama, lamenting the tragedies of Indian history and the inequities of traditional gender roles while blazing a formal trail for the generations of Indian filmmakers who have followed him. The special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kumar Shahani
  • Stills gallery of Ghatak family photographs curated by writer and photographer Nabarupa Bhattacharjee
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Ira Bhaskar

Polyester (#995) out Sept 17

cc Polyester.jpgFor his first studio picture, filth maestro John Waters took advantage of his biggest budget yet to allow his muse Divine to sink his teeth into a role unlike any he had played before: Baltimore housewife Francine Fishpaw, a heroine worthy of a Douglas Sirk melodrama. Blessed with a keen sense of smell and cursed with a philandering pornographer husband, a parasitic mother, and a pair of delinquent children, the long-suffering Francine turns to the bottle as her life falls apart—until deliverance appears in the form of a hunk named Todd Tomorrow (vintage heartthrob Tab Hunter). Enhanced with Odorama™ technology that enables you to scratch and sniff along with Francine, Polyester is one of Waters’ most hilarious inventions, replete with stomach-churning smells, sadistic nuns, AA meetings, and foot stomping galore. The director-approved special features are:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Waters from the 1993 Criterion laserdisc release of the film
  • New conversation between Waters and critic Michael Musto
  • New program featuring interviews with Waters collaborators Tab Hunter, Dennis Dermody, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Mink Stole, Mary Garlington, and Greer Yeaton
  • Interviews from 1993 with cast and crew members Waters, Divine, Moran, Peranio, Edith Massey, and Van Smith, featuring footage from the making of the film
  • Archival interviews
  • Deleted scenes and alternate takes
  • Trailer
  • Scratch-and-sniff Odorama™ card
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Elena Gorfinkel

Cluny Brown (#997) out Sept 17

cc Cluny Brown.jpgThe final film completed by Ernst Lubitsch, this zany, zippy comedy of manners, set in England on the cusp of World War II, is one of the worldly-wise director’s most effervescent creations. Jennifer Jones shines in a rare comedic turn as Cluny Brown, an irrepressible heroine with a zeal for plumbing. Sent to work as a parlormaid at a stuffy country manor, she proceeds to turn the household upside down—with plenty of help from Adam Belinski (Charles Boyer), an eccentric continental exile who has fled the Nazis but is still worried about where his next meal is coming from. Sending up British class hierarchy with Lubitsch’s famously light touch, Cluny Brown is a topsy-turvy farce that says nuts to the squirrels and squirrels to the nuts. The special features are:

  • On the DVD: Restored high-definition digital transfer
  • On the Blu-ray: New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Marco Bellocchio, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Interviews from 2005 with Bellocchio, actors Lou Castel and Paola Pitagora, editor Silvano Agosti, critic Tullio Kezich, and filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci
  • New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini (Blu-ray only)
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Deborah Young and (with the DVD) an interview with Bellocchio

The Circus (#996) out Sept 24

cc The Circus.jpgIn the last film he made during the silent era, Charlie Chaplin revels in the art of the circus, paying tribute to the acrobats and pantomimists who inspired his virtuoso pratfalls. After being mistaken for a pickpocket, Chaplin’s Little Tramp flees into the ring of a traveling circus and soon becomes the star of the show, falling for the troupe’s bareback rider along the way. Despite its famously troubled production, this gag-packed comedy ranks among Chaplin’s finest, thanks to some of the most audacious set pieces of the director-performer’s career, including a close brush with a lion and a climactic tightrope walk with a barrelful of monkeys. Rereleased in 1969 with a new score by Chaplin, The Circus is an uproarious high-wire act that showcases silent cinema’s most popular entertainer at the peak of his comic powers. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s 1969 rerelease version of the film, featuring an original score by Chaplin, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary featuring Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
  • Interview with Chaplin from 1969
  • New interview with Chaplin’s son Eugene Chaplin
  • In the Service of the Story, a new program on the film’s visual effects and production design by effects specialist Craig Barron
  • Chaplin Today: “The Circus,” a 2003 documentary on the film, featuring filmmaker Emir Kusturica
  • Excerpted audio interview with Chaplin musical associate Eric James
  • Unused café sequence with new score by composer Timothy Brock, and related outtakes with audio commentary by Chaplin historian Dan Kamin
  • Newly discovered outtakes featuring the Tramp and the bareback rider
  • Original recording of the film’s opening song, “Swing, Little Girl,” by Ken Barrie
  • Footage of the 1928 Hollywood premiere
  • Rerelease trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Pamela Hutchinson

Local Hero (#994) out Sept 24

cc Local Hero.jpgBill Forsyth put Scottish cinema on the map with this delightfully eccentric culture-clash comedy. Riffing on popular representations of Scottish life and folklore, Local Hero follows the Texas oil executive Mac (Peter Riegert), who is dispatched by his crackpot boss (Burt Lancaster) to a remote seaside village in Scotland with orders to buy out the town and develop the region for an oil refinery. But as business mixes with pleasure, Mac finds himself enchanted by both the picturesque community and its oddball denizens—and Texas starts to feel awfully far away. Packed with a near nonstop stream of droll one-liners and deadpan gags, this enchanting cult hit finds Forsyth surveying the idiosyncrasies of small-town life with the satirical verve of a latter-day Preston Sturges, arriving at a sly commentary on conservation, corporate greed, and the legacies we leave behind. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Forsyth and film critic David Cairns
  • Shooting from the Heart, a 1985 documentary about the work of cinematographer Chris Menges
  • Episode of The South Bank Show from 1983 about the production of the film
  • The Making of “Local Hero,” a documentary made during the film’s production, featuring interviews with actors Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert
  • I Thought Maybe I’d Get to Meet Alan Whicker, a 1983 interview with Forsyth on his early career in documentaries, his first narrative features, and the success of Local Hero
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Jonny Murray

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