Criterion Announces February 2009 Titles

     November 21, 2008




Written by David Lane


Criterion has just announced their February 2009 titles and the cover art and info is below:



Just in time for Valentine’s Day Criterion is showing love for three undisputed masters: Luis Buñuel, whose long-awaited absurdist masterpieces The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert are coming to DVD for the first time; David Lean, whose lighter side can be viewed with his delightful Hobson’s Choice, starring Charles Laughton; and John Cassavetes, whose groundbreaking Shadows and Faces will be finally available as standalone Criterion DVD releases.



The month will also bring more selections from the Essential Art House line: indispensable cinema classics in simple, affordable editions. For Volume II, Janus Films and the Criterion Collection are pleased to select six of the greatest films from around the world, from directors François Truffaut Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, Marcel Camus, Anthony Asquith, and Powell & Pressburger. All will be available separately, or in one box set. For the devoted cinephile, these are the must-own fundamentals; for the novice film-lover, this is precisely where to begin.






THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL
SRP: $39.95
Street date: 2/10/09


A group of bourgeois cosmopolitans are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave, in Luis Buñuel’s daring masterpiece The Exterminating Angel. Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this is a furthering of Buñuel’s wicked takedown of the rituals and dependencies of the frivolous upper classes, full of eerie and hilarious absurdity.

Info
€ Directed by Luis Buñuel (Viridiana, Simon of the Desert, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Milky Way)
€ Starring Silvia Pinal (Viridiana, Simon of the Desert, Shark!)
€ Starring Claudio Brook (The Milky Way, Simon of the Desert, Cronos)
€ Cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa (Los olvidados, The Night of the Iguana, Under the Volcano)

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring Jean-Claude Carrière and Jean Luis Buñuel
€ New interviews with filmmaker Arturo Ripstein and actress Silvia Pinal
€ Theatrical trailer
€ New and improved English subtitle translation
€ PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and a reprinted interview with Buñuel








SIMON OF THE DESERT
SRP: $24.95

Street date: 2/10/09



Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism.

Info
€ Directed by Luis Buñuel (Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Milky Way)
€ Starring Silvia Pinal (Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, Shark!)
€ Starring Claudio Brook (The Milky Way, The Exterminating Angel, Cronos)
€ Cinematography by Gabriel Figueroa (Los olvidados, The Exterminating Angel, Under the Volcano)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ A Mexican Buñuel (1995), 50-minute documentary by Emilio Maillé
€ New interview with actress Silvia Pinal
€ New and improved English subtitle translation
€ PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Wood and a reprinted interview with Buñuel







HOBSON’S CHOICE
SRP: $39.95
Street date: 2/17/09


An unsung comic triumph from David Lean, Hobson’s Choice stars the legendary Charles Laughton as the harrumphing Henry Hobson, the owner of a boot shop in late-Victorian Northern England. With his haughty, independent daughter Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) decides to forge her own path, romantically and professionally, with the help of none other than Henry’ prized bootsmith Will (a splendid John Mills), father and daughter find themselves head-to-head in a fiery match of wills. Equally charming and caustic, Hobson’s Choice, adapted from Harold Brighouse’s famous play, is filled to the brim with great performances and elegant, inventive camera work.

Info
€ Directed by David Lean (Brief Encounter, Great Expectations, Lawrence of Arabia)
€ Starring Charles Laughton (Les misérables, Mutiny on the Bountu, Spartacus)
€ Starring John Mills (Great Expectations, Tunes of Glory, Ryan’s Daughter)
€ Starring Brenda De Banzie (A Kid for Two Farthings, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Entertainer)
€ Cinematography by Jack Hildyard (Summertime, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Sundowners)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
€ New high-definition digital transfer—restoration by the BFI National Archive, funded by the David Lean Foundation and StudioCanal
€ Audio commentary featuring film scholars Alain Silver and James Ursini, co-authors of David Lean and His Films
€ The Hollywood Greats: Charles Laughton, a 1978 BBC documentary about the actor’s life and career, featuring interviews with his friends and colleagues
€ Theatrical trailer
€ PLUS: A new essay by critic Armond White



SHADOWS
SRP: $29.95
Street date: 2/17/09



John Cassavetes’ directorial debut revolves around an interracial romance between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light-skinned black woman living in New York City with her two brothers, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man. The relationship crumbles when Tony meets Lelia’s brother Hugh (Hugh Hurd), a talented dark-skinned jazz singer struggling to find work, and discovers the truth about Lelia’s racial heritage. Shot on location in Manhattan with a cast and crew made up primarily of amateurs, Cassavetes’ Shadows is a visionary work that is widely considered the forerunner of the American independent film movement.

Info
€ Directed by John Cassavetes (Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie)
€ Starring Lelia Goldoni (The Italian Job, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Invasion of the Body Snatchers)
€ Starring Hugh Hurd (Mafioso, For Love of Ivy, A Woman Under the Influence)

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ Video interviews from 2004 with actress Lelia Goldoni and associate producer Seymour Cassel
€ Rare silent 16 mm footage of John Cassavetes and Burt Lane’s acting workshop
€ Restoration demonstration
€ Stills gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
€ Theatrical trailer
€ PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Gary Giddins and a reprinted essay by Cassavetes







FACES
SRP: $39.95
Street date: 2/17/09


The disintegration of a marriage is dissected in John Cassavetes’ searing Faces. Shot in high-contrast 16 mm black and white, the film follows the futile attempts of captain of industry Richard (John Marley) and his wife, Maria (Lynn Carlin), to escape the anguish of their empty marriage in the arms of others. Featuring astonishingly powerful, nervy performances from Marley, Carlin, and Cassavetes regulars Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, Faces confronts suburban alienation and the battle of the sexes with a brutal honesty and compassion rarely matched in cinema.

Info
€ Directed by John Cassavetes (Shadows, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie)
€ Starring Gena Rowlands (A Woman Under the Influence, Opening Night, Gloria, Paris je t’aime)
€ Starring Seymour Cassel (Minnie and Moskowitz, Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
€ Starring John Marley (The Naked City, Love Story, The Godfather)

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer
€ Seventeen-minute alternate opening sequence, from an early edit of the film
€ Cinéastes de notre temps (1968), a 48-minute episode from the French television series dedicated to Cassavates, featuring rare interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
€ Making Faces, a 2004 documentary including interviews with actors Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassel, Gena Rowlands, and director of photography Al Ruban
€ Lighting and Shooting the Film, a short documentary from 2004 in which Ruban explains how he and the crew achieved the distinct look of Faces
€ PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Stuart Klawans






ESSENTIAL ART HOUSE : VOLUME II – Available separately and in a boxed-set
Street date: 2/10/09



BLACK ORPHEUS
Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus took the art-house world by storm in 1959 with its stunning color photography of the Brazilian Carnival celebration and sultry bossa nova beats, winning both an Academy Award and the Palme d’or at Cannes. Transplanting the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice to the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Black Orpheus brings Greek mythology to vivid, frenetic life.

Info
€ Directed by Marcel Camus (Fugitive in Saigon, Love in the Night)
SRP: $19.95

THE 400 BLOWS
In 1959, François Truffaut burst upon the scene, heralding the French New Wave with his emotional, autobiographical tale of a boy named Antoine Doinel, neglected by family and school, who must ultimately fend for himself on the streets of Paris. A showcase for the talents of not only Truffaut but also the young Jean-Pierre Léaud (who would become an emblem of the coming decade of daring French cinema), The 400 Blows remains a stunner, from first frame to unforgettable last.

Info
€ Directed by François Truffaut (Shoot the Piano Player, Jules and Jim, Stolen Kisses)
SRP: $19.95



IKIRU
In what could be called Akira Kurosawa’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Takashi Shimura portrays Kanji Watanabe, an isolated, inward city office clerk who discovers he has stomach cancer and little time left on Earth. With a compelling, radical narrative structure, Kurosawa depicts Watanabe’s last months and then how his final decisions have affected those left behind. Ikiru is one of the Japanese master’s darkest, yet most life-affirming works.

Info
€ Directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, High and Low, Ran)
SRP: $19.95



THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP
Famous British cartoon character Colonel Blimp was made flesh and blood in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s complex, humane portrait of a well-mannered soldier, whom the film follows through the first half of the twentieth

century. Made during wartime, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp ignited controversy: Winston Churchill himself denounced its “sympathetic” view of a German soldier. Today it is considered one of the filmmakers’ greatest achievements.

Info
€ Written, produced, and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes, The Tales of Hoffmann)
SRP: $19.95



PYGMALION
George Bernard Shaw wrote the screenplay adaptation of his own beloved stage masterpiece about Professor Henry Higgins’s wager to turn a low-class flower vendor into a “proper lady,” and won an Oscar for his efforts. Pygmalion, which would later be adapted once again, as the musical My Fair Lady, is one of the great Cinderella stories and a tart-tongued romantic comedy par excellence.

Info
€ Co-directed by Anthony Asquith (The Browning Version, The Importance of Being Earnest)
€ Co-directed by and starring Leslie Howard (Gone with the Wind, Romeo and Juliet)
SRP: $19.95



LA STRADA
Federico Fellini had been making films for a few years, but with the 1954 release of La strada, the Italian director set himself on his way to becoming one of international cinema’s household names. A delicate, immensely moving tale of love and loss between strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn) and his silent long-suffering charge, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), La strada introduced many viewers to two of the filmmaker’s lasting passions—the circus and Masina, his wife.

Info
€ Directed by Federico Fellini (Nights of Cabiria, La dolce vits, 8 1/2)
SRP: $19.95












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