Today The Criterion Collection announced their August line-up, which includes five new releases — including two films by Orson Welles and Criterion’s second Robert Altman release of the year — and one upgrade of a film, Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes, that was formerly in a nice DVD boxset, though the other films in that set were not upgraded (which makes me sad).

The blurbs are from The Criterion Collection’s website (so are the links) — go there to see the details on the supplements.


McCabe and Mrs. Miller CoverAugust 9, 2016

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
d. Robert Altman

From The Criterion Collection:

This unorthodox dream western by Robert Altman may be the most radically beautiful film to come out of the New American Cinema that transformed Hollywood in the early 1970s. It stars Warren Beatty and Julie Christie as an enterprising gambler and a bordello madam, both newcomers to the raw Pacific Northwest mining town of Presbyterian Church, who join forces to provide the miners with a superior kind of whorehouse experience. The appearance of representatives of a powerful mining company with interests of its own, however, threatens to be the undoing of their plans. With its fascinating flawed characters, evocative cinematography by the great Vilmos Zsigmond, and soundtrack that innovatively interweaves overlapping dialogue and haunting Leonard Cohen songs, McCabe & Mrs. Miller brilliantly deglamorized and revitalized the most American of genres.


Ingrid Bergman CoverAugust 16, 2016

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words (2015)
d. Stig Björkman

From The Criterion Collection:

Whether headlining films in Sweden, Italy, or Hollywood, Ingrid Bergman always pierced the screen with a singular soulfulness. With this new documentary, made on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of Bergman’s birth, director Stig Björkman allows us unprecedented access to her world, culling from the most personal of archival materials—letters, diary entries, photographs, and Super 8 and 16 mm footage Bergman herself shot—and following her from youth to tumultuous married life and motherhood. Intimate and artful, this lovingly assembled portrait, narrated by actor Alicia Vikander, provides luminous insight into the life and career of an undiminished legend.


A Taste of HoneyAugust 23, 2016

A Taste of Honey (1961)
d. Tony Richardson

From The Criterion Collection:

The revolutionary British New Wave films of the early 1960s were celebrated for their uncompromising depictions of working-class lives and relations between the sexes. Directed by Tony Richardson, a leading light of that movement, and based on one of the most controversial plays of its time, A Taste of Honey stars Rita Tushingham, in a star-making debut role, as a disaffected teenager finding her way amid the economic desperation of industrial Manchester, and despite an absent, self-absorbed mother. With its unapologetic identification with social outcasts and its sensitive, modern approach to matters of sexuality and race, Richardson’s classic is a still startling benchmark work of realism.


Woman in the Dunes CoverAugust 23, 2016

Woman in the Dunes (1964)
d. Hiroshi Teshigahara

From The Criterion Collection:

One of the 1960s’ great international art-house sensations, Woman in the Dunes was for many the grand unveiling of the surreal, idiosyncratic world of Hiroshi Teshigahara. Eiji Okada plays an amateur entomologist who has left Tokyo to study an unclassified species of beetle found in a vast desert. When he misses his bus back to civilization, he is persuaded to spend the night with a young widow (Kyoko Kishida) in her hut at the bottom of a sand dune. What results is one of cinema’s most unnerving and palpably erotic battles of the sexes, as well as a nightmarish depiction of the Sisyphean struggle of everyday life—an achievement that garnered Teshigahara an Academy Award nomination for best director.


Chimes at Midnight CoverAugust 30, 2016

Chimes and Midnight (1966)
d. Orson Welles

From The Criterion Collection:

The crowning achievement of Orson Welles’s extraordinary film career, Chimes at Midnight was the culmination of the filmmaker’s lifelong obsession with Shakespeare’s ultimate rapscallion, Sir John Falstaff. Usually a comic supporting figure, Falstaff—the loyal, often soused friend of King Henry IV’s wayward son Prince Hal—here becomes the focus: a robustly funny and ultimately tragic screen antihero played by Welles with looming, lumbering grace. Integrating elements from both Henry IV plays as well as Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Welles created a gritty and unorthodox Shakespeare film, one that he intended, he said, as “a lament . . . for the death of Merrie England.” Poetic, philosophical, and visceral—with a kinetic centerpiece battle sequence that rivals anything else in the director’s body of work—Chimes at Midnight is as monumental as the figure at its heart.


The Immortal Story CoverAugust 30, 2016

The Immortal Story (1968)
d. Orson Welles

From The Criterion Collection:

Orson Welles’s first color film and final completed fictional feature, The Immortal Story is a moving and wistful adaptation of a tale by Isak Dinesen. Welles stars as a wealthy merchant in nineteenth-century Macao, who becomes obsessed with bringing to life an oft-related anecdote about a rich man who gives a poor sailor a small sum of money to impregnate his wife. Also starring an ethereal Jeanne Moreau, this jewel-like film, dreamily shot by Willy Kurant and suffused with the music of Erik Satie, is a brooding, evocative distillation of Welles’s artistic interests—a story about the nature of storytelling and the fine line between illusion and reality.

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