Ingmar Bergman was one of the great pioneers of cinema. He made films that spoke directly to the soul. He made films about the soul, about faith and doubt, about life and metaphysics. He made art about the struggles between those things, always questioning, always exploring. He often made difficult movies, never popcorn affairs. His films could sometimes feel pretentious which is why I suspect most people who don’t like foreign films think of Bergman when making their argument. This is a man who literally made one of his characters play chess with Death in what is arguably his most famous and most accessible film.
I love him. I find his films endlessly fascinating. I return to them over and over again and always find something new.
In honor of his 100th birthday, the Criterion Collection has put together an impressive set covering his entire career. It includes 39 films from his six-decade career, plus a 248-page book with essays on every film and over 30 hours of supplemental features. For a Bergman fan, this is a wet dream. For me, it is the easiest Pick of the Week ever.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
2001: A Space Odyssey: Earlier this year, Christopher Nolan put together a 70 mm print of this Stanley Kubrick classic for a limited theatrical run. The film has now been turned into a 4K Blu-ray release. I don’t normally talk about 4K releases in these pages because I figure if you are the sort of person who has a 4K system. then you already know what’s coming out, but this release is too big not to write about.
Some Like It Hot (Criterion Collection): I’m not sure I love Criterion releasing straight-up classics rather than doing more obscure arthouse fare, but I’ll be darned if I won’t be getting this for Christmas.
Crazy Rich Asians: The surprise hit of the summer is about an American-born Chinese professor who accompanies her boyfriend to Singapore and discovers that he comes from a rich family with a dark past.
Blindspotting: Two friends, one on the final three days of his probation, navigate through their old neighborhood as it becomes a trendy hotspot. It got some great reviews praising its intelligent views on culture and race.
Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers: Kino Lorber brings this collection of films from some pioneering women who changed the cinematic landscape in the early days of movies.
Clouzot: The Early Works: Kino Lorber brings us several early films from the celebrated French director who later made such classics as Diabolique and The Wages of Fear. Includes The Terror of Batignolles / My Cousin from Warsaw / Dragnet Night / The Unknown Singer / I'll Be Alone After Midnight / Tell Me Tonight / Dream Castle.
Orgies of Edo: Arrow Videos brings us this film from Terri Ishii that tells three stories of women caught up in violence, sadomasochism, incest, and torture. Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner!
Django + Texas, Adios: Arrow Video continues to release more in the Django series of films. This one finds a Texas sheriff out for revenge in Mexico.
Kin: Science fiction adventure that had a lot of promise but completely squandered it. The ending sets up a movie that looks far more interesting than the one we actually got. David Wangberg has our review.