The Criterion Collection Announces January 2022 Releases
And just like that, 2022 feels a lot closer! Today, The Criterion Collection announced their January 2022 releases, and these things come fast. Still going with their UHD slate, this month we get Jane Campion’s The Piano, new to the collection, and an upgrade of A Hard Day’s Night, which already looked outstanding on Blu. We are also getting the first film in the Dogme 95 movement, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration. I have still not seen this film, but I saw the stage play in London in 2004 and it remains one of the most disturbing — in an important way — things I’ve ever seen. I’m excited for the chance to see The Celebration the way it was meant to be seen.
The blurbs are from The Criterion Collection’s website (so are the links) — go there to see the details on the supplements.
The Danish Dogme 95 movement that struck world cinema like a thunderbolt began with The Celebration, the international breakthrough by Thomas Vinterberg, a lacerating chamber drama that uses the economic and aesthetic freedoms of digital video to achieve annihilating emotional intensity. On a wealthy man’s sixtieth birthday, a sprawling group of family and friends convenes at his country estate for a celebration that soon spirals into bedlam, as bombshell revelations threaten to tear away the veneer of bourgeois respectability and expose the traumas roiling beneath. The dynamic handheld camera work, grainy natural lighting, cacophonous diegetic sound, and raw performance style that would become Dogme hallmarks enhance the shattering visceral impact of this caustic indictment of patriarchal failings, which swings between blackest comedy and bleakest tragedy as it turns the sick soul of a family inside out.
What does the weight of time’s passage feel like for a family caught in the jaws of a brutal carceral system? Both a breathtaking cinematic love story and a bruising indictment of American injustice, the Academy Award–nominated feature documentary debut of Garrett Bradley traces the decades-long quest of Sibil Fox Richardson, an indefatigable mother of six and a fiercely outspoken prison abolitionist, to free her husband from the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where he is serving a sixty-year sentence for robbery. Gracefully interweaving twenty years’ worth of Richardson’s own intimate home movies with luminously expressive monochrome footage of her present-day joys and struggles, Bradley crafts in Time a transcendentally poetic, soul-shaking look at the devastating toll of mass incarceration and one family’s extraordinary efforts to stay whole.
Meet the Beatles! Just one month after they exploded onto the U.S. scene with their Ed Sullivan Show appearance, John, Paul, George, and Ringo began working on a project that would bring their revolutionary talent to the big screen. This film, in which the bandmates play slapstick versions of themselves, captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever. Directed with raucous, anything-goes verve by Richard Lester (The Knack . . . and How to Get It) and featuring a slew of iconic pop anthems—including the title track, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “If I Fell”—A Hard Day’s Night, which reconceived the movie musical and exerted an incalculable influence on the music video, is one of the most deliriously entertaining movies of all time.
This playful, profound, and immensely moving docu-fantasia by Kirsten Johnson is a valentine to the director’s beloved father, Dick Johnson, made as she has begun to face the reality of losing him to dementia. Using the language of cinema both to defy death and to confront it head-on, Johnson mischievously envisions an array of ways in which the man she loves most in the world might die, staging a series of alternately darkly comic and colorfully imaginative tableaux interwoven with raw vérité footage capturing the pair’s tender but increasingly fragile bond. Tackling taboo questions of aging, mortality, and grief with subversive humor and surprising grace, Dick Johnson Is Dead is ultimately a triumphant celebration of life, and of the gentle, funny, unforgettable man at its center. Long live Dick Johnson.
With this sublimely stirring fable of desire and creativity, Jane Campion became the first woman to win a Palme d’Or at Cannes. Holly Hunter is achingly eloquent through silence in her Academy Award–winning performance as Ada, an electively mute Scottish woman who expresses her innermost feelings through her beloved piano. When an arranged marriage brings Ada and her spirited daughter (Anna Paquin, in her Oscar-winning debut) to the wilderness of nineteenth-century New Zealand, she finds herself locked in a battle of wills with both her ineffectual husband (Sam Neill) and a rugged frontiersman (Harvey Keitel) to whom she develops a forbidden attraction. With its sensuously moody cinematography, dramatic coastal landscapes, and sweeping score, this uniquely timeless evocation of a woman’s inner awakening is an intoxicating sensory experience that burns with the twin fires of music and erotic passion.
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