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The Tree of Life, Heaven Can Wait & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in August 2018

This August, The Tree of Life, visionary filmmaker Terrence Malick’s magnum opus starring Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, will join the Criterion Collection in an edition featuring a new cut that includes nearly fifty minutes of additional footage. And fifty years after its initial release put Cuban cinema on the map, Memories of Underdevelopment, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s long-unavailable masterpiece set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Cuban Revolution, will appear in a new 4K restoration. Director Robert M. Young brings his keen eye for socially engaged drama to The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, a passion project for producer-star Edward James Olmos and a landmark of Chicano cinema, appearing on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time. Susan Seidelman will join the collection with her trailblazing independent debut, Smithereens, a punk-rock portrait of down-and-out scenesters in 1980s New York, in a new, director-approved 2K restoration. And that’s not all: Ernst Lubitsch’s sly Technicolor comedy Heaven Can Wait will makes its first appearance on Blu-ray in a new 4K restoration.

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez

Forced to run from the Texas Rangers after a heated misunderstanding leads to the death of a lawman, Mexican American farmer Gregorio Cortez sets off in desperate flight, evading a massive manhunt on horseback for days. Producer-star Edward James Olmos, seeking to shed new light on a historical incident that had been enshrined in a corrido (folk song), enlisted director Robert M. Young, a longtime practitioner of socially engaged realism, to helm this trailblazing independent film, a landmark of Chicano cinema. Shifting its perspective between the pursuers and the pursued, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez is a thrilling chase film and a nuanced procedural that peels away the layers of prejudice and myth surrounding Cortez, uncovering the true story of an ordinary man persecuted by the law and transfigured by legend.
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
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* New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New interview with actor and producer Edward James Olmos
New interview with Chon A. Noriega, author of Shot in America: Television, the State, and the Rise of Chicano Cinema
* Cast-and-crew panel from 2016 including Olmos; director Robert M. Young; producer Moctesuma Esparza; cinematographer Reynaldo Villalobos; and actors Bruce McGill, Tom Bower, Rosana DeSoto, and Pepe Serna
* PLUS: An essay by film scholar Charles Ramírez Berg
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1982 * 106 minutes * Color * Monaural * In English and Spanish * 1.85:1 aspect ratio
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Available August 14, 2018

Smithereens

Susan Seidelman established her distinctive vision of 1980s New York with this debut feature, the lo-fi original for her vibrant portraits of women reinventing themselves. After escaping New Jersey, the quintessentially punk Wren (Susan Berman)-a sparkplug in fishnets who lives dangerously downtown-moves to the city with the mission of becoming famous. When not pasting up flyers for herself or hanging at the Peppermint Lounge, she’s getting involved with Paul (Brad Rijn), the nicest guy to ever live in a van next to the highway, and Eric (Richard Hell), an aloof rocker. Shot on 16 mm film that captures the grit and glam of the setting, with an alternately moody and frenetic soundtrack by the Feelies and others,
Smithereens-the first independent American film to compete for the Palme d’Or-is an unfaded snapshot of a bygone era.
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DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 2K digital restoration, approved by director Susan Seidelman, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* Audio commentary from 2004 featuring Seidelman
* New interviews with Seidelman and actor Susan Berman
And You Act Like One Too (1976) and Yours Truly, Andrea G. Stern (1979), two early shorts by Seidelman, with new introductions by the director
* PLUS: An essay by critic Rebecca Bengal
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1982 * 93 minutes * Color * Monaural * 1.66:1 aspect ratio
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Available August 21, 2018

Heaven Can Wait

Deceased turn-of-the-century playboy Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche) presents himself to the outer offices of Hades, where he asks a bemused Satan for permission to enter through the gates of hell. Though the devil doubts that Henry’s sins qualify him for eternal damnation, Henry proceeds to recount a lifetime of wooing and pursuing women, his long, happy marriage to Martha (Gene Tierney) notwithstanding. Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait, nominated for Academy Awards for best picture and director, is an enduring classic that showcases his trademark blend of wit, urbanity, and grace.
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BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive in collaboration with The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
* Conversation from 2005 between film critics Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris
Creativity with Bill Moyers: A Portrait of Samson Raphaelson (1982), a thirty-minute program exploring the screenwriter’s life and career
* Audio seminar with Raphaelson and film critic Richard Corliss recorded at the Museum of Modern Art in 1977
* Home recordings of director Ernst Lubitsch playing the piano
* Trailer
* PLUS: An essay by film scholar William Paul
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1943 * 112 minutes * Color * Monaural * 1.37:1 aspect ratio
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Available August 21, 2018

Memories of Underdevelopment

This film by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is the most widely renowned work in the history of Cuban cinema. After his wife and family flee in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the bourgeois intellectual Sergio (Sergio Corrieri) passes his days wandering Havana in idle reflection, his amorous entanglements and political ambivalence gradually giving way to a mounting sense of alienation. With this adaptation of an innovative novel by Edmundo Desnoes, Gutiérrez Alea developed a cinematic style as radical as the times he was chronicling, creating a collage of vivid impressions through the use of experimental editing techniques, archival material, and spontaneously shot street scenes. Intimate and densely layered, Memories of Underdevelopment provides a biting indictment of its protagonist’s disengagement and an extraordinary glimpse of life in postrevolutionary Cuba.
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New interviews with film critics B. Ruby Rich and José Antonio Évora
* New interview with novelist and screenwriter Edmundo Desnoes
Titón: From Havana to “Guantanamera,” a 2008 feature-length documentary on director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s life and career
* Segment from a 1989 audio interview with Gutiérrez Alea
* Segments from 2017 interviews with actor Daisy Granados and editor Nelson Rodríguez from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Visual History Collection archives
* Trailer
* New English subtitle translation
* PLUS: An essay by author Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
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1968 * 98 minutes * Black & white * Monaural * In Spanish with English subtitles * 1.66:1 aspect ratio
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Available August 28, 2018

The Tree of Life

Four decades into an already legendary career, Terrence Malick realized his most rapturous vision to date, tracing a story of childhood, wonder, and grief to the outer limits of time and space. Reaching back to the dawn of creation, Malick sets a story of boyhood memories on a universal scale, charting the coming of age of an awestruck child (newcomer Hunter McCracken) in Texas in the 1950s, as he learns to navigate the extremes of nature and grace represented by his bitter, often tyrannical father (Brad Pitt) and his ethereal, nurturing mother (Jessica Chastain, in her breakout role). Shot with nimble attention to life’s most fleeting moments by Emmanuel Lubezki, the Palme d’Or-winning The Tree of Life marks the intimately personal, cosmically ambitious culmination of Malick’s singular approach to filmmaking.
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DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New extended version of the film featuring an additional fifty minutes of footage
Exploring “The Tree of Life,” a 2011 documentary featuring collaborators and admirers of Malick’s, including filmmakers David Fincher and Christopher Nolan
* New interviews with actor Jessica Chastain and visual-effects supervisor Dan Glass
* Interview from 2011 with composer Alexandre Desplat about the film, and a new interview with music critic Alex Ross about Malick’s approach to music
* Video essay from 2011 by critic Matt Zoller Seitz
* Trailer
* More!
* PLUS: An essay by critic Kent Jones and a 2011 piece on the film by critic Roger Ebert
* Conversation from 2011 between Lubezki and American Society of Cinematographers president Stephen Lighthill
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2011 * 139 minutes * Color * 5.1 surround * 1.85:1 aspect ratio
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Available August 28, 2018

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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