The Koker Trilogy is the Pick of the Week

The late master Kiarostami's influential trilogy rounds out a week of stellar new releases.
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When master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami passed away in 2016, that really shook the film world, because his extraordinary body of work really elevated the endless possibilites of how bold and innovative Cinema can be. His blending of reality and fiction became a touchstone for the depiction of the human condition. From his short films of the early '70s to his final masterpiece, 24 Frames (2017), Kiarostami really changed the face of contemporary Iranian film forever. He never made a bad film, and it's no wonder why critics and film buffs (besides myself) still sing his praises today, and discuss how impactful his films continue to be.

I think that The Koker Trilogy, which is going to be released by Criterion this week, will be a huge addition to anyone's home collection. Judging by screenshots from various review sites, all three films (Where Is the Friend's House?, And Life Goes On, and Through the Olive Trees) have been lovingly restored, and contain some amazing supplements, including a new audio commentary for And Life Goes On; Homework (1989), a feature-length documentary by Kiarostami (newly restored); a new interview with his son Ahmad; a conversation from 2015 with Abbas and programmer Peter Scarlet, among others. If you're a huge fan of his work, or film in general, this box set should definitely be a must-have!

Other notable releases:

The Flowers of Green Tea Over Rice (Criterion): An early Ozu film about a middle-age Japanese couple whose marriage is very routine, until their young niece shakes things up by refusing an arranged marriage by her parents, during a time where Tokyo was transitioning into the modern age.

Insomnia (Criterion, Blu-ray only): An enigmatic Swedish detective with a checkered past arrives in a small town in northern Norway to investigate the death of a teenage girl. As he delves deeper into the case, his inner demons begin to take a toll.

Apocalypse Now 4K: 40th Anniversary Edition 4-Disc Set (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital) (Lionsgate): Coppola's 1979 staggering, madness-filled masterpiece starring Martin Sheen as a young U.S. Captain on a secret mission to find and execute a renegade Colonel (Marlon Brando).

Stand By Me 4K (4K Ultra + Blu-ray) (Sony Pictures): Rob Reiner's 1986 coming-of age classic centering on a boyhood journey of four young friends searching for the body of a missing boy.

Jezebel (Warner Archive Collection): The great Bette Davis fires up the screen as a tempestuous Southern belle's willfulness that threatens to destroy everyone around her.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Lionsgate): A young man with a big dream (and offbeat best friend) searches for home in the changing city that has moved on without him.

Blue (Kino): Against a plain, unchanging blue screen, an interwoven soundtrack of voices, sound effects, and music attempt to convey a portrait of director Derek Jarman's final year of living with AIDS, while exploring the meaning of the color blue.

Butley (Kino): Alan Bates plays a self-made train wreck of an English literature professor whose life is turned inside out after learning that his male lover has moved in with another man; his estranged wife is re-marrying, and that his seemingly untalented colleague has been published ahead of him.

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