Criterion Collection Announces November Lineup

It’s the 15th! Which means Criterion Collection has announced the lineup for November Releases. Nothing is immediately striking to me in this batch, but hey, you win some, you lose some! Although that Eclipse Horror set is certainly looking mighty intriguing, the more I think about it. November’s titles are:

Akira Kurosawa’s Roshomon

A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, Rashomon is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife, which director Akira Kurosawa presents with striking imagery and an ingenious use of flashbacks. This eloquent masterwork and international sensation revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema—and a commanding new star by the name of Toshiro Mifune—to the Western world.

  • New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
  • Video introduction by director Robert Altman
  • Excerpts from The World of Kazuo Miyagawa, a documentary on Rashomon’s cinematographer
  • A Testimony as an Image, a sixty-eight-minute documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
  • Archival audio interview with actor Takashi Shimura
  • Original and rerelease trailers
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince; an excerpt from director Akira Kurosawa’s Something Like an Autobiography; and reprints of Rashomon’s two source stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, “Rashomon” and “In a Grove”

Jean-Luc Goddard’s Weekend

This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema’s great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous centerpiece sequence in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam, and rich with historical and literary references, Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution, a depiction of society retreating to savagery, and—according to the credits—the end of cinema itself.

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New video essay by film critic Kent Jones
  • Archival interviews with actors Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne and assistant director Claude Miller
  • Excerpt from a French television program on director Jean-Luc Godard, featuring on-set footage ofWeekend shot by filmmaker Philippe Garrel
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and novelist Gary Indiana

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Trilogy Of Life

In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of premodern world literature—Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucer’sThe Canterbury Tales, and The Thousand and One Nights (often known asThe Arabian Nights)—and in doing so created his most uninhibited and extravagant work, which he titled his Trilogy of Life. In this brazen and bawdy triptych, the director set out to challenge consumer capitalism and celebrate the uncorrupted human body while commenting on contemporary sexual and religious mores and hypocrisies. His scatological humor and rough-hewn sensuality leave all modern standards of decency behind; these are physical, provocative, and wildly entertaining films, all extraordinarily designed by Dante Ferretti and featuring evocative music by Ennio Morricone.

  • New high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
  • New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns on The Decameron andArabian Nights, respectively
  • New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone about their work with Pasolini, and with film scholar Sam Rohdie on The Canterbury Tales
  • The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a forty-five-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
  • The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
  • Via Pasolini, a documentary in which Pasolini discusses his views on language, film, and modern society
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a sixteen-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Burnatto about the ancient Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
  • Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights, with transcriptions of pages from the original script
  • Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini’s 1975 article “Trilogy of Life Rejected”; excerpts from Pasolini’s Berlin Film Festival press conference for The Canterbury Tales;and a report from the set of Arabian Nights by critic Gideon Bachmann

Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate

A visionary critique of American expansionism, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Oscar winner Michael Cimino, is among Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who has relocated all the way to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by rich cattle barons to kill the area’s European settlers for their land. The resulting skirmish is based on the real-life bloody Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Walken, Heaven’s Gate is a savage and ravishingly shot demystification of western movie lore. This is the full director’s cut, letting viewers today see Cimino’s potent original vision.

  • New, restored transfer of director Michael Cimino’s cut of the film, supervised by Cimino
  • New restoration of the 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by Cimino, in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
  • New illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli
  • New interviews with actor Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger and performer David Mansfield, and second assistant director Michael Stevenson
  • The Johnson County War, a video interview with historian Bill O’Neal about the real-life conflict that inspired the film, and its resonance in popular culture
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan

Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku

Following years of a certain radioactive rubber beast’s domination of the box office, many Japanese studios tried to replicate the formula with their own brands of monster movies. One of the most fascinating dives into that fiendish deep end was the short-lived one from Shochiku, a studio better known for its elegant dramas by the likes of Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. In 1967 and 1968, the company created four certifiably batty, low-budget fantasies, tales haunted by watery ghosts, plagued by angry insects, and stalked by aliens—including one in the form of a giant chicken-lizard. Shochiku’s outrageous and oozy horror period shows a studio leaping into the unknown, even if only for one brief, bloody moment.

Featuring The Films:

  • The X From Outer Space
  • Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell
  • The Living Skeleton
  • Genocide 

By Richard Pepper

About Richard

Richard is an awesome dude, maybe the most awesome ever? He writes for Lost In Reviews, owns lots of blu-rays, spends his free time obsessing over the works of Trent Reznor, and is a cat lover.

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