Posted Mon Oct 16, 2023 at 08:00 PM PDT by Tom Landy
Criterion's January titles include Chantal Akerman Masterpieces, 1968–1978 and Dee Rees' Mudbound on Blu-ray, Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, and John Sayles's Lone Star on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and 4K upgrades of Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy and Joel and Ethan Coen's Blood Simple.
Up first on January 2 comes Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy making its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut.
A breathtaking milestone that brought India into the golden age of international art-house film, Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy follows one indelible character, a free-spirited child in rural Bengal who matures into an adolescent urban student and, finally, a sensitive man of the world. Ray’s delicate masterworks—Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)—based on two books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee, were shot over the course of five years, and each stands on its own as a tender, visually radiant journey. These films—which have risen from the ashes in meticulously reconstructed restorations, after the original negatives were burned in a fire—are among the most achingly beautiful, richly humane movies ever made.
4K UHD + BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• 4K digital restorations of all three films, undertaken in collaboration with the Academy Film Archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and L’Immagine Ritrovata, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
• Three 4K UHD discs of the films and three Blu-rays with the films and special features
• Audio recordings from 1958 of director Satyajit Ray reading his essay “A Long Time on the Little Road” and in conversation with film historian Gideon Bachmann
• Interviews with actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Shampa Srivastava, and Sharmila Tagore; camera assistant Soumendu Roy; and film writer Ujjal Chakraborty
• Making “The Apu Trilogy”: Satyajit Ray’s Epic Debut, a video essay by Ray biographer Andrew Robinson
• “The Apu Trilogy”: A Closer Look, a program featuring filmmaker, producer, and teacher Mamoun Hassan
• Excerpts from the 2003 documentary The Song of the Little Road, featuring composer Ravi Shankar
• The Creative Person: “Satyajit Ray,” a 1967 documentary short by James Beveridge, featuring interviews with Ray, several of his actors, members of his creative team, and film critic Chidananda Das Gupta
• Footage of Ray receiving an honorary Oscar in 1992
• Programs on the restorations by filmmaker Kogonada
• PLUS: Essays by critics Terrence Rafferty and Girish Shambu, as well as a selection of Ray’s storyboards for Pather Panchali
Joel and Ethan Coen's Blood Simple will also lend on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on January 9.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America began with this razor-sharp, hard-boiled neonoir set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner releases a torrent of violence with one murderous thought. Actor M. Emmet Walsh looms over the proceedings as a slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat, and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand’s cunning debut performance set her on the road to stardom. The tight scripting and inventive style that have marked the Coens’ work for decades are all here in their first film, in which cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld abandons black-and-white chiaroscuro for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with Carter Burwell’s haunting score to lurid and thrilling effect. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED 4K UHD + BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
John Sayles's Lone Star will arrive on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on January 16.
A keen observer of America’s social fabric, writer-director John Sayles uncovers the haunted past buried beneath a small Texas border town in this sprawling neowestern mystery. When a skeleton is discovered in the desert, lawman Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper), son of a legendary local sheriff, begins an investigation that will have profound implications both for him personally and for all of Rio County, a place still reckoning with its history of racial violence. Sayles’s masterful film—novelistic in its intricacy and featuring a brilliant ensemble cast, including Joe Morton, Elizabeth Peña, and Kris Kristofferson—quietly subverts national mythmaking and lays bare the fault lines of life at the border.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
The boxed set - Chantal Akerman Masterpieces, 1968–1978 - on Blu-ray on January 23.
In the revolutionary first decade of her filmmaking career, Chantal Akerman devoted herself to nothing less than the total resculpting of cinematic time and space. Journeying between Europe and New York City, Akerman forged a highly personal style that fuses avant-garde influences with deeply human expressions of alienation, desire, and displacement—themes that she would explore in a series of increasingly ambitious shorts, documentaries, and features, including the towering Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. With immersive rhythms that render the most minute details momentous, these landmarks of twentieth-century art continue to reveal new ways of experiencing cinema and framing reality.
THREE-BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
On January 30, Dee Rees' Mudbound will be available on Blu-ray.
In the Mississippi Delta of the 1940s, two farming families—one of white landholders, one of Black tenant farmers—are bound by the unforgiving soil they share as they struggle to survive amid the upheavals of World War II and the poisonous hatred of the Jim Crow South. Each family sends a young man off to battle; when they return home, scarred, and find a common bond, the community is ripped apart. Writer-director Dee Rees, with cowriter Virgil Williams, crafts a uniquely American tragedy, imbuing bitter historical realities with a timeless weight. Featuring bone-deep performances from her ensemble cast—including Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, and Jonathan Banks—and backed by Rachel Morrison’s darkly burnished cinematography, Mudbound is a searing humanist study of inheritance based upon Hillary Jordan’s novel.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
And last but certainly not least, Danny Boyle's Trainspotting will hit Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on the same date.
A jolt of adrenaline shot straight to the heart of 1990s British cinema, this darkly funny adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel was a major breakthrough for director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald, and screenwriter John Hodge. With live-wire energy and stylistic verve, Trainspotting bounces across the life and times of Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a Scottish heroin addict who, along with his misfit mates, gets high, gets in trouble, gets clean, and gets high again, all in a bid to outrun the banality of modern existence. Kinetically cut to an iconic soundtrack of techno, rock, and Britpop, this indie phenomenon chooses life in all its ugly, beautiful, terrifying exhilaration.
FILMMAKER-APPROVED 4K UHD + BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
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