With today’s announcements of their February releases, Criterion has changed the game a bit. They are going to be releasing Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which is significant because that film was produced by Netflix. We didn’t know if any Netflix titles would come out on physical media, and this opens the door to speculate what else might come out from Criterion! The Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Skruggs? Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind? Maybe even Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman someday? Or maybe nothing more . . . I don’t know! Interestingly, as well, those of us who ponder over these things thought there were good indications Roma was coming to Criterion, but we wondered if it might be their first UHD release. After all, you can watch it on Netflix in 4K. But with this release, Criterion did not venture there. This will be a Blu-ray and DVD release, and I’m okay with that.

Of course, that is not the only film they are releasing in February . . . just look at that Karel Zeman set!

As always, I hope you find something you’ll enjoy!

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


February 11, 2020

Roma (2018)
d. Alfonso Cuarón

From The Criterion Collection:

With his eighth and most personal film, Alfonso Cuarón recreated the early-1970s Mexico City of his childhood, narrating a tumultuous period in the life of a middle-class family through the experiences of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, in a revelatory screen debut), the indigenous domestic worker who keeps the household running. Charged with the care of four small children abandoned by their father, Cleo tends to the family even as her own life is shaken by personal and political upheavals. Written, directed, shot, and coedited by Cuarón, Roma is a labor of love with few parallels in the history of cinema, deploying monumental black-and-white cinematography, an immersive soundtrack, and a mixture of professional and nonprofessional performances to shape its author’s memories into a world of enveloping texture, and to pay tribute to the woman who nurtured him.


February 18, 2020

Teorema (1969)
d. Pier Paolo Pasolini

From The Criterion Collection:

One of the iconoclastic Pier Paolo Pasolini’s most radical provocations, Teorema finds the auteur moving beyond the poetic, proletarian earthiness that first won him renown and notoriety with a coolly cryptic exploration of bourgeois spiritual emptiness. Terence Stamp stars as the mysterious stranger—perhaps an angel, perhaps a devil—who, one by one, seduces the members of a wealthy Milanese family (including European cinema icons Silvana Mangano, Massimo Girotti, Laura Betti, and Anne Wiazemsky), precipitating an existential crisis in each of their lives. Unfolding nearly wordlessly in a procession of sacred and profane images, this tantalizing metaphysical riddle—blocked from exhibition by the Catholic Church for degeneracy—is at once a blistering Marxist treatise on sex, religion, and art and a primal scream into the void.


February 18, 2020

Antonio Gaudí (1984)
d. Hiroshi Teshigahara

From The Criterion Collection:

Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) designed some of the world’s most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films ever made. In Antonio Gaudí, their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara’s film takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject’s organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí on film.


February 25, 2020

Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman
Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955)
Invention for Destruction (1958)
The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962)

From The Criterion Collection:

A one-of-a-kind silver-screen illusionist, Czechoslovak filmmaker Karel Zeman devoted his career to transporting viewers to realms beyond their wildest imagining. The deft, breathtaking combinations of live-action and animation techniques that he pioneered in the postwar years earned him comparisons to legends such as Georges Méliès, and an array of followers that includes Jan Švankmajer, Terry Gilliam, and Wes Anderson. Presented here are three of Zeman’s most enchanting fantasies—a boys’ adventure into the mists of prehistory, a Jules Verne–derived flight of fancy, and an exotic eighteenth-century tall tale—all of them treasure chests of wondrous sights, tactile textures, and headlong yarn-spinning that helped put Czechoslovak cinema on the international map.


February 25, 2020

Paris Is Burning (1990)
d. Jennie Livingston

From The Criterion Collection:

Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris Is Burning offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women—including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza—Paris Is Burning brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.

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