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Scorsese, Lynch, Dassin & More Coming to The Criterion Collection September 2020

This September, Claire Denis’ long-unavailable, ravishingly sensual masterpiece Beau travail will join the Criterion Collection in a new, restored 4K digital transfer. Turning forty this year, David Lynch’s atmospheric, Oscar-nominated The Elephant Man, stars John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins in the poignant true story of John Merrick. Never before available on home video, the full version of Francesco Rosi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli is a revelatory humanist epic set in the dark days of fascist Italy. Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 3 will gather six newly restored gems from around the world: Héctor Babenco’s Pixote, Humerto Solás’s Lucía, Usmar Ismail’s After the Curfew, Bahram Beyzaie’s Downpour, Med Hondo’s Soleil Ô, and Juan Bustillo Oro’s Dos Monjes. And that’s not all: two hard-hitting noir classics from genre master Jules Dassin, Brute Force and The Naked City, will make their Blu-ray debuts in new restorations.

BEAU TRAVAIL

With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor, Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sunbaked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Denis Lavant) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (Grégoire Colin) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of Benjamin Britten. Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Agnès Godard and approved by director Claire Denis, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New conversation between Denis and filmmaker Barry Jenkins
• New selected scene commentary with Godard
• New interviews with actors Denis Lavant and Grégoire Colin
• New video essay by film scholar Judith Mayne
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by critic Girish Shambu
1999 • 93 minutes • Color • Stereo • In French with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

Available September 15, 2020

CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI

An elegy of exile and an epic immersion into the world of rural Italy during the Mussolini years, Francesco Rosi’s sublime adaptation of the memoirs of the painter, physician, and political activist Carlo Levi brings a monument of twentieth-century autobiography to the screen with quiet grace and solemn beauty. Banished to a desolate southern town for his anti-Fascist views, the worldly Levi (Gian Maria Volontè) discovers an Italy he never knew existed, a place where ancient folkways and superstitions still hold sway and that gradually transforms his understanding of both himself and his country. Presented for the first time on home video in its original full-length, four-part cut, Christ Stopped at Eboli ruminates profoundly on the political and philosophical rifts within Italian society—between north and south, tradition and modernity, fascism and freedom—and the essential humanity that transcends all.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New introduction by translator and author Michael F. Moore
• Documentary from 1978 on Italian political cinema, featuring director Francesco Rosi and actor Gian Maria Volontè
• Excerpt from a 1974 documentary featuring Rosi and author Carlo Levi
• Excerpt from Marco Spagnoli’s short 2014 documentary Unico, in which Rosi discusses Volontè
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation by Moore
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Alexander Stille and a 1979 director’s statement by Rosi
1979 • 220 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Italian with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

Available September 22, 2020

THE ELEPHANT MAN

With this poignant second feature, David Lynch brought his atmospheric visual and sonic palette to a notorious true story set in Victorian England. When the London surgeon Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) meets the freak-show performer John Merrick (John Hurt), who has severe skeletal and soft tissue deformities, he assumes that he must be intellectually disabled as well. As the two men spend more time together, though, Merrick reveals the intelligence, gentle nature, and profound sense of dignity that lie beneath his shocking appearance, and he and Treves develop a friendship. Shot in gorgeous black and white and boasting a stellar supporting cast that includes Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, and Wendy Hiller, The Elephant Man was nominated for eight Academy Awards, cementing Lynch’s reputation as one of American cinema’s most visionary talents.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Director David Lynch and critic Kristine McKenna reading from Room to Dream, a 2018 book they coauthored
• Archival interviews with Lynch, actor John Hurt, producers Mel Brooks and Jonathan Sanger, director of photography Freddie Francis, stills photographer Frank Connor, and makeup artist Christopher Tucker
• Audio recording from 1981 of an interview and Q&A with Lynch at the American Film Institute
• The Terrible Elephant Man Revealed, a 2001 documentary about the film
• Trailer and radio spots
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• More!
• PLUS: A booklet featuring excerpts from an interview with Lynch from the 2005 edition of filmmaker and writer Chris Rodley’s book Lynch on Lynch, and an 1886 letter to the editor of the London Times concerning Joseph Merrick, the “elephant man,” by Francis Culling Carr Gomm, chairman of the London Hospital at the time
1980 • 123 minutes • Black & White • Stereo • 2.35:1 aspect ratio

Available September 29, 2020

BRUTE FORCE

As hard-hitting as its title, Brute Force was one of Jules Dassin’s first forays into the crime genre, a prison melodrama with a scathing critique of the punitive American incarceration system at its heart. Burt Lancaster is the timeworn Joe Collins, who, along with his fellow inmates, lives under the heavy thumb of the sadistic, power-tripping guard Captain Munsey (a riveting Hume Cronyn). Only Collins’s dreams of escape keep him going, but how can he possibly bust out of Munsey’s chains? Matter-of-fact and ferocious, Brute Force builds to an explosive climax that shows the lengths men will go to when fighting for their freedom, and asks the question of who society’s real brutes are.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital restoration by TLEFilms FIlm Restoration & Preservation Services, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Audio commentary from 2007 featuring film-noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini
• Interview from 2007 with Paul Mason, editor of Captured by the Media: Prison Discourse in Popular Culture
• Program from 2017 on Brute Force’s array of acting styles featuring film scholar David Bordwell
• Trailer
• Stills gallery
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Michael Atkinson, a 1947 profile of producer Mark Hellinger, and rare correspondence between Hellinger and Production Code administrator Joseph Breen over the film’s content
1947 • 98 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.37:1 aspect ratio

Available September 8, 2020

THE NAKED CITY

“There are eight million stories in the Naked City,” as the narrator immortally states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film—and this is one of them. Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin and newspaperman-cum-producer Mark Hellinger’s dazzling police procedural, The Naked City, was shot entirely on location in New York. Influenced as much by Italian neorealism as it is by American crime fiction, this double Academy Award winner remains a benchmark for naturalism in noir, living and breathing in the promises and perils of the Big Apple, from its lowest depths to its highest skyscrapers.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital restoration by TLEFilms FIlm Restoration & Preservation Services, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Audio commentary from 1996 featuring screenwriter Malvin Wald
• Interview from 2006 with film scholar Dana Polan
• Interview from 2006 with author James Sanders (Celluloid Skyline) on the film’s New York locations
• Footage of director Jules Dassin from a 2004 appearance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
• Stills gallery
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• PLUS: An essay by author and critic Luc Sante and production notes from producer Mark Hellinger to Dassin
1948 • 96 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.37:1 aspect ratio

Available September 8, 2020

MARTIN SCORSESE’S WORLD CINEMA PROJECT NO. 3

Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the World Cinema Project has maintained a fierce commitment to preserving and presenting masterpieces from around the globe, with a growing roster of more than three dozen restorations that have introduced moviegoers to often-overlooked areas of cinema history. Presenting passionate stories of revolution, identity, agency, forgiveness, and exclusion, this collector’s set gathers six of those important works, from Brazil (Pixote), Cuba (Lucía), Indonesia (After the Curfew), Iran (Downpour), Mauritania (Soleil Ô), and Mexico (Dos monjes). Each title is a pathbreaking contribution to the art form and a window onto a filmmaking tradition that international audiences previously had limited opportunities to experience.
DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New, restored 4K digital transfers of all six films, overseen by the World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
• New introductions to the films by World Cinema Project founder Martin Scorsese
• New interviews featuring Downpour director Bahram Beyzaie and film scholars Charles Ramírez Berg (on Dos monjes) and J. B. Kristanto (on After the Curfew)
• Excerpts from a 2016 interview with Pixote director Héctor Babenco and a 2018 interview with Soleil Ô director Med Hondo
• Humberto & “Lucía,” a 2020 documentary by Carlos Barba Salva featuring Lucía director Humberto Solás and members of his cast and crew
• Prologue created by Babenco for the U.S. release of Pixote
• New English subtitle translations
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a foreword by Cecilia Cenciarelli, head of research and international projects for the Cineteca di Bologna, and essays by critics and scholars Stephanie Dennison, Dennis Lim, Elisa Lozano, Hamid Naficy, Adrian Jonathan Pasaribu, and Aboubakar Sanogo

LUCÍA

1968 • 160 minutes • Black & White • monaural • In Spanish with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio
A breathtaking vision of Cuban revolutionary history wrought with white-hot intensity by Humberto Solás, this operatic epic tells the story of a changing country through the eyes of three women, each named Lucía. In 1895, she is a tragic noblewoman who inadvertently betrays her country for love during the war of independence. In 1932, she is the daughter of a bourgeois family drawn into the workers’ uprising against the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado. And in the postrevolutionary 1960s, she is a newlywed farm girl fighting against patriarchal oppression. A formally dazzling landmark of postcolonial cinema, Lucía is both a senses-stunning visual experience and a fiercely feminist portrait of a society journeying toward liberation.

AFTER THE CURFEW

1954 • 101 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Indonesian with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
This work by the trailblazing auteur Usmar Ismail struck Indonesian cinema like a bolt of lightning, illuminating on-screen, for the first time and with unflinching realism, the struggles of Indonesian society after the country gained its independence from the Netherlands. Giving voice to the frustrated dreams of a nation, After the Curfew follows the descent into disillusionment of Iskandar (A. N. Alcaff), a former freedom fighter who is unable to readjust to civilian life following the revolution that ended centuries of colonial rule. When he discovers that the ideals he fought for have been betrayed by a corrupt former commander, Iskandar is pushed to the breaking point. Steeped in the moody atmospherics and simmering psychological tension of film noir, this clear-eyed postcolonial tragedy paints a dark-edged portrait of a country no longer at war but still fighting for its soul.

PIXOTE

1981 • 128 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Portuguese with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
With its bracing blend of harsh realism and aching humanity, Héctor Babenco offers an electrifying look at lost youth fighting to survive on the bottom rung of Brazilian society that helped put the country’s cinema on the international map. Shot with documentary-like immediacy on the streets of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Pixote follows the eponymous preteen runaway (the heartbreaking Fernando Ramos da Silva) as he escapes a nightmarish juvenile detention center, only to descend into a life of increasingly violent crime even as he finds himself part of a makeshift family of fellow outcasts. Balancing its shocking brutality with moments of disarming tenderness, this stunning journey through Brazil’s underworld is an unforgettable cry from the lower depths that has influenced multiple generations of American filmmakers, including Spike Lee, Harmony Korine, and the Safdie brothers.

DOS MONJES

1934 • 85 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Spanish with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Made in the early days of Mexican sound cinema, this vividly stylized melodrama hinges on an audacious, ahead-of-its-time flashback structure. When the ailing monk Javier recognizes a brother newly arrived at his cloister, he inexplicably becomes deranged and attacks him. What causes his madness? Director Juan Bustillo Oro recounts the two men’s shared past—a tragic rivalry over the love of a woman—twice, once from the point of view of each, heightening the contrasts between their accounts with visual flourishes drawn from the language of German expressionism. With its gothic sets, elaborate lighting, and daring camera work by avant-garde photographer Agustín Jiménez, Dos monjes is a broodingly intense outlier in Mexican cinema, plumbing the depths of psychological torment and existential mystery with experimental verve.

SOLEIL Ô

1970 • 98 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In French and Arabic with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
A furious cry of resistance against racist oppression, the debut from Mauritanian director Med Hondo is a bitterly funny, stylistically explosive attack on Western capitalism and the lingering legacy of colonialism. Laced with deadly irony and righteous anger, Soleil Ô follows a starry-eyed immigrant (Robert Liensol) as he leaves West Africa and journeys to Paris in search of a job, a community, and intellectual engagement—but soon discovers a hostile society where his very presence engenders fear and resentment. Drawing on the freewheeling experimentation of the French New Wave, Hondo deploys a dizzying array of narrative and stylistic techniques—animation, docudrama, dream sequences, musical numbers, folklore, slapstick comedy, agitprop—to create a revolutionary landmark of political cinema and a shattering vision of awakening black consciousness.

DOWNPOUR

1972 • 122 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Persian with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Defined by a brash stylistic exuberance and a vivid way of looking at everyday life in prerevolution Iran, this first feature from the renowned Bahram Beyzaie helped usher in the Iranian New Wave. When he takes a job as a schoolteacher in a new neighborhood, the hapless intellectual Hekmati (Parviz Fannizadeh) finds that he is a fish out of water in a place where everybody’s business—including his tentative flirtation with an engaged seamstress (Parvaneh Massoumi)—is subject to the prying eyes of adults and children alike. Shot in luminous monochrome and edited with quicksilver invention, this touchstone work, which has been painstakingly restored from the only known surviving print, captures with puckish humor and great human tenderness the societal and intellectual conflicts coursing through Iran at a pivotal historical moment.

Available September 1, 2020

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic 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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