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Secrets & Lies, Defending Your Life & More Coming to The Criterion Collection March 2020

For their final new-release announcement of the year, The Criterion Collection has unveiled upcoming editions of a satirical afterlife comedy by Albert Brooks, an enigmatic ode to friendship and imagination from Jacques Rivette, the Palme d’Or–winning family drama that made Mike Leigh one of the world’s most beloved auteurs, and Djibril Diop Mambéty’s convention-shattering debut feature. Plus, there is also their recently announced seven-film World of Wong Kar Wai box set!

CÉLINE AND JULIE GO BOATING

Whiling away a summer in Paris, director Jacques Rivette, working in close collaboration with his stars and coconspirators Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier, set out to rewrite the rules of cinema in the spirit of pure play—moviemaking as an anything-goes romp through the labyrinths of imagination. The result is one of the most exuberantly inventive and utterly enchanting films of the French New Wave, in which Julie (Labourier), a daydreaming librarian, meets Céline (Berto), an enigmatic magician, and together they become the heroines of a time-warping adventure involving a haunted house, psychotropic candy, and a murder-mystery melodrama. Incorporating allusions to everything from Lewis Carroll to Louis Feuillade, Céline and Julie Go Boating is both one of the all-time-great hangout comedies and a totally unique, enveloping cinematic dream space that delights in the endless pleasures and possibilities of stories.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray• Audio commentary from 2017 featuring critic Adrian Martin• Jacques Rivette: Le veilleur, a 1994 two-part feature documentary by Claire Denis, featuring an extensive interview with Rivette by film critic Serge Daney• New interviews with actor Bulle Ogier and producer and actor Barbet Schroeder• New conversation between critic Pacôme Thiellement and Hélène Frappat, author of Jacques Rivette, secret compris• Archival interviews with Rivette, Ogier, and actors Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, and Marie-France Pisier• New English subtitle translation• PLUS: An essay by critic Beatrice Loayza and a 1974 piece by Berto

1974 • 193 minutes • Color • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio

Available March 16, 2021


DEFENDING YOUR LIFE

Is there love after death? Acerbic everyman Albert Brooks finds a perfect balance between satirical bite and romantic-comedy charm as the writer, director, and star of this wonderfully warm and imaginative existential fantasy. After he dies suddenly, the hapless advertising executive Daniel Miller (Brooks) finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As the self-doubting Daniel struggles to make his case, a budding relationship with the uninhibited Julia (Meryl Streep) offers him a chance to finally feel alive. Buoyed by a brilliant supporting cast that includes Rip Torn, Lee Grant, and Buck Henry, Defending Your Life is a rare feat of personal, philosophical filmmaking that happens to also be divinely entertaining.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Albert Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray• New conversation between Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide• New interview on the afterlife with theologian and critic Donna Bowman • New program featuring excerpts from 1991 interviews with Brooks and actors Lee Grant and Rip Torn• Trailer• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing• PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Ari Aster

1991 • 111 minutes • Color • 2.0 surround • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

Available March 30, 2021

SECRETS & LIES

Writer-director Mike Leigh reached new levels of expressive power and intricacy in his ongoing contemplation of unembellished humanity with this resonant exploration of the deceptions, small and large, that shape our relationships to those we love. When Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a Black optometrist who was adopted as a child, begins the search for her birth mother, she doesn’t expect that it will lead her to Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn, winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s best actress award), a desperately lonely white factory worker whose tentative embrace of her long-lost daughter sends shock waves through the rest of her already fragile family. Born from a painstaking process of rehearsal and improvisation with a powerhouse ensemble cast, Secrets & Lies is a Palme d’Or–winning tour de force of sustained tension and catharsis that lays bare the emotional fault lines running beneath the surface of everyday lives.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Mike Leigh and director of photography Dick Pope, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray• New conversation with Leigh and composer Gary Yershon• New interview with actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste• Audio interview with Leigh from 1996 conducted by film critic Michel Ciment • Trailer• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

1996 • 142 minutes • Color • 2.0 surround • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

Available March 30, 2021


TOUKI BOUKI

With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambéty paints a fractured portrait of the disenchantment of postindependence Senegal in the early 1970s. In this picaresque fantasy-drama, the disaffected young lovers Anta and Mory, fed up with Dakar, long to escape to the glamour and comforts they imagine France has to offer, but their plan is confounded by obstacles both practical and mystical. Alternately manic and meditative, Touki bouki has an avant-garde sensibility characterized by vivid imagery, bleak humor, unconventional editing, and jagged soundscapes, and it demonstrates Mambéty’s commitment to telling African stories in new ways.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

2K digital transfer, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the family of director Djibril Diop Mambéty, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray• Introduction from 2013 by The Film Foundation’s founder and chair, Martin Scorsese• Interview from 2013 with filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako• Interview program from 2012 featuring musician Wasis Diop and filmmaker Mati Diop, Mambéty’s brother and niece, respectively • Contras’ City, a 1968 short film by Mambéty, in a new 4K restoration by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Cineteca di Bologna• PLUS: An essay by film programmer and critic Ashley Clark

1973 • 89 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Wolof with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio

Available March 9, 2021

WORLD OF WONG KAR WAI

With his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtracks, and soulful romanticism, Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the defining auteurs of contemporary cinema. Joined by such key collaborators as cinematographer Christopher Doyle; editor and production and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping; and actors Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Wong (or WKW, as he is often known) has written and directed films that have enraptured audiences and critics worldwide and inspired countless other filmmakers with their poetic moods and music, narrative and stylistic daring, and potent themes of alienation and memory. Whether they’re tragically romantic, soaked in blood, or quirkily comedic, the seven films collected here are an invitation into the unique and wistful world of a deeply influential artist.

SEVEN-BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET FEATURES

New 4K digital restorations of Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046, approved by director Wong Kar Wai, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks• New 4K digital restorations of As Tears Go By and Days of Being Wild, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks• New program in which Wong answers questions submitted, at the invitation of the director, by authors André Aciman and Jonathan Lethem; filmmakers Sofia Coppola, Rian Johnson, Lisa Joy, and Chloé Zhao; cinematographers Philippe Le Sourd and Bradford Young; and filmmakers and founders/creative directors of Rodarte Kate and Laura Mulleavy• Alternate version of Days of Being Wild featuring different edits of the film’s prologue and final scenes, on home video for the first time• Hua yang de nian hua, a 2000 short film by Wong• Extended version of The Hand, a 2004 short film by Wong, available in the U.S. for the first time• Interview and “cinema lesson” with Wong from the 2001 Cannes Film Festival• Three making-of documentaries, featuring interviews with Wong; actors Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chang Chen, Faye Wong, and Ziyi Zhang; and others• Episode of the television series Moving Pictures from 1996 featuring Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle• Interviews from 2002 and 2005 with Doyle• Excerpts from a 1994 British Film Institute audio interview with Cheung on her work in Days of Being Wild • Program from 2012 on In the Mood for Love’s soundtrack • Press conference for In the Mood for Love from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival• Deleted scenes, alternate endings, behind-the-scenes footage, a promo reel, music videos, and trailers• PLUS: Deluxe packaging, including a perfect-bound, French-fold book featuring lavish photography, an essay by critic John Powers, a director’s note, and six collectible art prints

AS TEARS GO BY

Wong Kar Wai’s scintillating debut feature is a kinetic, hypercool crime thriller graced with flashes of the impressionistic, daydream visual style for which he would become renowned. Set amid Hong Kong’s ruthless, neon-lit gangland underworld, this operatic saga of ambition, honor, and revenge stars Andy Lau Tak Wah as a small-time mob enforcer who finds himself torn between a burgeoning romance with his ailing cousin (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, in the first of her iconic collaborations with the director) and his loyalty to his loose-cannon partner in crime (Jacky Cheung Hok Yau), whose reckless attempts to make a name for himself unleash a spiral of violence. Marrying the pulp pleasures of the gritty Hong Kong action drama with hints of the head-rush romanticism Wong would push to intoxicating heights throughout the 1990s, As Tears Go By was a box-office smash that heralded the arrival of one of contemporary cinema’s most electrifying talents.

1988 • 98 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Cantonese with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

DAYS OF BEING WILD

The breakthrough sophomore feature by Wong Kar Wai represents the first full flowering of his swooning signature style. The initial entry in a loosely connected, ongoing cycle that includes In the Mood for Love and 2046, this ravishing existential reverie is a dreamlike drift through the Hong Kong of the 1960s in which a band of wayward twentysomethings—including a disaffected playboy (Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing) searching for his birth mother, a lovelorn woman (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) hopelessly enamored with him, and a policeman (Andy Lau Tak Wah) caught in the middle of their turbulent relationship—pull together and push apart in a dance of frustrated desire. The director’s inaugural collaboration with both cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who lends the film its gorgeously gauzy, hallucinatory texture, and actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai, who appears briefly in a tantalizing teaser for a never-realized sequel, Days of Being Wild is an exhilarating first expression of Wong’s trademark themes of time, longing, dislocation, and the restless search for human connection.

1990 • 95 minutes • Color • Monaural • In Cantonese with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

CHUNGKING EXPRESS

The whiplash, double-pronged Chungking Express is one of the defining works of 1990s cinema and the film that made Wong Kar Wai an instant icon. Two heartsick Hong Kong cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung Chiu Wai), both jilted by ex-lovers, cross paths at the Midnight Express take-out food stand, where the ethereal pixie waitress Faye (Faye Wong) works. Anything goes in Wong’s gloriously shot and utterly unexpected charmer, which cemented the sex appeal of its gorgeous stars and forever turned canned pineapple and the Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” into tokens of romantic longing.

1994 • 102 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • In Cantonese with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

FALLEN ANGELS

Lost souls reach out for human connection amid a glimmering Hong Kong in Wong Kar Wai’s hallucinatory, neon-soaked nocturne. Originally conceived as a segment of Chungking Express only to spin off on its own woozy axis, Fallen Angels plays like the dark, moody flip side of its predecessor as it charts the subtly interlacing fates of a handful of urban loners, including a coolly detached hit man (Leon Lai Ming) looking to go straight; his business partner (Michelle Reis), who secretly yearns for him; and a mute delinquent (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who wreaks mischief by night. Swinging between hard-boiled noir and slapstick lunacy with giddy abandon, the film is both a dizzying, dazzling city symphony and a poignant meditation on love, loss, and longing in a metropolis that never sleeps.

1995 • 99 minutes • Color/Black & White • 5.1 surround • In Cantonese with English subtitles • 2.39:1 aspect ratio

HAPPY TOGETHER

One of the most searing romances of the 1990s, Wong Kar Wai’s emotionally raw, lushly stylized portrait of a relationship in breakdown casts Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing as a couple traveling through Argentina and locked in a turbulent cycle of infatuation and destructive jealousy as they break up, make up, and fall apart again and again. Setting out to depict the dynamics of a queer relationship with empathy and complexity on the cusp of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong—when the country’s LGBTQ community suddenly faced an uncertain future—Wong crafts a feverish look at the life cycle of a love affair that is by turns devastating and deliriously romantic. Shot by ace cinematographer Christopher Doyle in both luminous monochrome and luscious saturated color, Happy Together is an intoxicating exploration of displacement and desire that swoons with the ache and exhilaration of love at its heart-tearing extremes.

1997 • 96 minutes • Color/Black & White • 5.1 surround • In Cantonese, Mandarin, and Spanish with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung Man Yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping Bing, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past two decades of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.

2000 • 98 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • In Cantonese with English subtitles • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

2046

Wong Kar Wai’s loose sequel to In the Mood for Love combines that film’s languorous air of romantic longing with a dizzying time-hopping structure and avant-sci-fi twist. Tony Leung Chiu Wai reprises his role as writer Chow Mo-Wan, whose numerous failed relationships with women who drift in and out of his life (and the one who goes in and out of room 2046, down the hall from his apartment) inspire the delirious futuristic love story he pens. 2046’s dazzling fantasy sequences give Wong and two of his key collaborators—cinematographer Christopher Doyle and editor/costume designer/production designer William Chang Suk Ping—license to let their imaginations run wild, propelling the sumptuous visuals and operatic emotions skyward toward the sublime.

2004 • 128 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • In Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio

Available March 23, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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