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Sidney Poitier, Safdie Brothers & More Coming to The Criterion Collection August 2022

This August, we invite you on a euphoric, hallucinatory Ethiopian odyssey with Jessica Beshir’s Faya dayi and a poetic-realist sojourn in 1930s Paris with Marcel Carné’s Hôtel du Nord. The creative trio behind Uncut Gems dig into their disorienting debut features, Josh and Benny Safdie’s Daddy Longlegs and Ronald Bronstein’s Frownland, and Sidney Poitier directs Sidney Poitier in a touchstone Black western, Buck and the Preacher.

DADDY LONGLEGS

Mining the emotional sense memories of their own fractured childhoods, Josh and Benny Safdie craft a by turns empathetic and disquieting portrait of parental dysfunction poised between fierce love and terrifying irresponsibility. Manic Manhattan movie theater projectionist Lenny (co-writer and longtime Safdie collaborator Ronald Bronstein) is perhaps the last person who should be raising kids, yet here he is, trying (and failing) to keep it together as his life unravels over the two whirlwind weeks that he has custody of his young boys (real-life brothers Sage and Frey Ranaldo), with an impromptu road trip, a sleeping-pill mishap, and a night in jail all part of the chaos. Vérité New York naturalism gives way to flights of surreal lyricism in Daddy Longlegs, a blearily impressionistic anti–fairy tale that finds unexpected humanity in the seemingly most irredeemable of fathers.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital transfer, approved by directors Josh and Benny Safdie, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack
• New interviews with actors Sage and Frey Ranaldo and their parents, photographer Leah Singer and musician Lee Ranaldo
• Documentary from 2017 about the Safdies
• Footage of Sage and Frey Ranaldo’s first meeting with actor Ronald Bronstein Making-of program
• There’s Nothing You Can Do (2008), a short film by the Safdies featuring members of the Daddy Longlegs cast and crew
• Deleted scenes
• Promotional films and trailer
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• PLUS: A 2009 print interview with the Safdies
2009 • 99 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.78:1 aspect ratio

Available August 16, 2022

FROWNLAND

A nightmare transmission from the grungiest depths of the New York indie underground, the visceral, darkly funny, and totally sui generis debut feature from Ronald Bronstein is a dread-inducing vision of misfit alienation at its unhinged extreme. In a maniacal performance of almost frightening commitment, Dore Mann plays Keith, a disturbingly maladjusted social outcast and self-described “troll” whose neuroses plunge him into an unstoppable spiral of self-obliteration as his crummy coupon-selling job, pitiful living situation (featuring the roommate from hipster Brooklyn hell), and last remaining human relationships disintegrate around him. As captured in the grimy expressionist grain of Sean Price Williams’s claustrophobic camera work, Frownland is DIY cinema at its most fearless, uncompromising, and unforgettable.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Ronald Bronstein, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Introduction by Bronstein
• Conversation between Bronstein and filmmaker Josh Safdie
• Deleted scenes
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• PLUS: An essay by critic Richard Brody and an oral history of the making of the film
2007 • 106 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.66:1 aspect ratio

Available August 16, 2022

BUCK AND THE PREACHER

With his rousingly entertaining directorial debut, Sidney Poitier helped rewrite the history of the western, bringing Black heroes to a genre in which they had always been sorely underrepresented. Combining boisterous buddy comedy with blistering, Black Power–era political fury, Poitier and a marvelously mischievous Harry Belafonte star as a tough and taciturn wagon master and an unscrupulous, pistol-packing “preacher,” who join forces in order to take on the white bounty hunters threatening a westward-bound caravan of recently freed enslaved people. A superbly crafted revisionist landmark, Buck and the Preacher subverts Hollywood conventions at every turn and reclaims the western genre in the name of Black liberation.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• New interview with Mia Mask, author of Black Rodeo: A History of the African American Western
• Behind-the-scenes footage featuring actor-director Sidney Poitier and actor Harry Belafonte
• Interviews with Poitier and Belafonte from 1972 episodes of Soul! and The Dick Cavett Show
• New interview with Gina Belafonte, daughter of Harry Belafonte
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• PLUS: An essay by critic Aisha Harris
1972 • 103 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.85:1 aspect ratio

Available August 23, 2022

HÔTEL DU NORD

Anguished young lovers, fallen women, wanted criminals, and all manner of social castoffs: these are the disreputable denizens of the Hôtel du Nord, an atmospherically seedy boardinghouse on the bustling banks of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, whose lives collide in Marcel Carné’s bittersweet rhapsody of romance, betrayal, revelry, and violence. Featuring evocative production design by the famed Alexandre Trauner and a colorful ensemble cast of some of classical French cinema’s most illustrious stars—including Annabella, Louis Jouvet, and a divinely dissolute Arletty in one of her most iconic roles—poetic-realist jewel Hôtel du Nord is a sublime exemplar of Carné’s celebrated poetic realism, imbuing working-class lives and dramas with a touching nobility.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New conversation between filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie) and journalist Philippe Morisson
• Television program from 1972 on the making of the film
• Documentary from 1994 on the life and career of director Marcel Carné
• Trailer
• New English subtitle translation
• PLUS: An essay by film and theater scholar Edward Baron Turk
1938 • 96 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio

Available August 23, 2022

FAYA DAYI

A sublime work of personal vision, the debut feature by the Mexican Ethiopian filmmaker Jessica Beshir is a hypnotic documentary immersion in the world of Ethiopia’s Oromo community, a place where one commodity—khat, a euphoria-inducing plant once prized for its supposedly mystical properties—holds sway over the rituals and rhythms of everyday life. As if under the influence of the drug itself, Faya dayi unfurls as intoxicating, trance state cinema, capturing intimate moments in the existence of everyone from the harvesters of the crop to people lost in its narcotic haze to a desperate but determined younger generation searching for an escape from the region’s political strife. The director’s exquisite monochrome cinematography—each frame a masterpiece sculpted from light and shadow—and the film’s time-bending, elliptical editing create a ravishing sensory experience that hovers between consciousness and dreaming.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New 4K digital master, approved by director Jessica Beshir, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Three short films by Beshir: He Who Dances on Wood (2016); Heroin (2017); and Hairat (2017), featuring an introduction by Beshir
• Trailer
• PLUS: An essay by film scholar Yasmina Price
2021 • 118 minutes • Black & White/Color • 5.1 surround • In Amharic, Harari, and Oromo with English subtitles • 1.78:1 aspect ratio

Available August 30, 2022

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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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