Days of Heaven, Breathless, Mala Noche and Under the Volcano

     July 23, 2007

WOW! That’s pretty much all I can say.

The fact that Terrence Malick’s classic “Days of Heaven” is getting the Criterion treatment makes me extremely happy. But while you’d think the rest of the month would be mediocre… they’re also going to release Jean-Luc Godard’s debut film “Breathless.” It’s a f*cking great month for DVD lovers.

Criterion was good enough to send me the front and back covers to all their October releases and they’re posted below along with the synopses. Take a look and pre-order now!


SRP: $39.95
Street date: 10/23/07

One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting movies of the twentieth century, and his glorious period tragedy Days of Heaven, featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them. In 1910, a Chicago steel worker (Richard Gere) accidentally kills his supervisor and flees to the Texas panhandle with his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) and little sister (Linda Manz) to work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer (Sam Shepard). A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire—Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating at once a timeless American idyll and a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor.

€ Directed by Terrence Malick (Badlands, The Thin Red Line, The New World)
€ Starring Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentleman, Chicago)
€ Starring Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down)
€ Cinematography by Nestor Almendros (Claire’s Knee, Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice)
€ Music by Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; The Mission)


-New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick, editor Billy Weber, and camera operator John Bailey
-New Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
-Audio commentary featuring Weber, art director Jack Fisk, costume designer Patricia Norris, and casting director Dianne Crittenden
-New video interviews with cinematographers Haskell Wexler and Bailey
-PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Adrian Martin and director of photography Nestor Almendros

Days of Heaven is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. On standard 4:3 televisions, the image will appear letterboxed. On widescreen televisions, the image should fill the screen. Created from a new 35 mm interpositive struck from the 35 mm A/B roll original negative, this new high-definition digital transfer was supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick, original camera operator and renowned cinematographer John Bailey, and editor Billy Weber. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, and scratches were removed using the MTI Digital Restoration System. To maintain optimal image quality through the compression process, the picture on this dual-layer DVD-9 has been encoded at the highest-possible bit rate for the quantity of material included.


SRP: $39.95
Street date: 10/23/07

There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, crackling personalities of rising stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, and anything-goes crime narrative, Jean-Luc Godard’s debut fashioned a simultaneous homage to and critique of the American film genres that influenced and rocked him as a film writer for Cahiers du cinéma. Jazzy, free-form, and sexy, Breathless (A bout de souffle) helped launch the French new wave and ensured cinema would never be the same.

€ Directed by Jean-Luc Godard (A Woman Is a Woman, Band of Outsiders, Contempt)
€ Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo (Pierrot le fou, Mississippi Mermaid)
€ Starring Jean Seberg (Saint Joan, Airport)

€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard
€ Archival interviews with director Jean-Luc Godard, and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville
€ New video interviews with Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient, and filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker
€ New video essays: filmmaker and critic Mark Rappaport’s “Jean Seberg” and critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s “Breathless as Film Criticism”
€ Chambre 12, Hotel de suede, an eighty-minute French documentary about the
making of Breathless, with members of the cast and crew
€ Charlotte et son Jules, a 1959 short film by Godard, starring Belmondo
€ French theatrical trailer
€ New and improved English subtitle translation
€ PLUS: A booklet featuring writings from Godard, film historian Dudley Andrew, Francois Truffaut’s original film treatment, and Godard’s scenario


SRP: $29.95
Street date: 10/9/07

With its low budget and lush black-and-white imagery, Gus Van Sant’s debut feature Mala Noche heralded an idiosyncratic, provocative new voice in American independent film. Set in Van Sant’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, the film evokes a world of transient workers, dead-end day-shifters, and bars and seedy apartments bathed in a profound nighttime, as it follows a romantic deadbeat with a wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant. Mala Noche was an important prelude to the New Queer Cinema of the nineties and is a fascinating time capsule from a time and place that continues to haunt its director’s work.

€ Directed by Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, Elephant)

€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Gus Van Sant
€ New interview with Van Sant
€ Walt Curtis, the Peckerneck Poet: a documentary about the author of the book Mala Noche, directed by animator and friend Bill Plympton
€ Storyboard gallery
€ Original trailer edited by Van Sant
€ PLUS: A new essay by film critic Dennis Lim

Continued on the next page ————>



SRP: $39.95
Street date: 10/23/07

Under the Volcano follows the final day in the life of self-destructive British consul Geoffrey Firmin (Albert Finney, in an Oscar-nominated tour de force) on the eve of World War II. Withering from alcoholism, Firmin stumbles through a small Mexican village amidst the Day of the Dead fiesta, attempting to reconnect with his estranged wife (Jacqueline Bisset) but only further alienating himself. John Huston’s ambitious tackling of Malcolm Lowry’s towering “unadaptable” novel gave the incomparable Finney one of his grandest roles and was the legendary The Treasure of the Sierra Madre director’s triumphant return to filmmaking in Mexico.

€ Directed by John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Wise Blood)
€ Starring Albert Finney (Tom Jones, Two for the Road, Erin Brockovich)
€ Starring Jacqueline Bisset (Bullitt, Murder on the Orient Express)
€ Music by Alex North (A Streetcar Named Desire, Spartacus)

€ New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by film editor Roberto Silvi
€ Audio commentary featuring executive producer Michael Fitzgerald and producers Wieland Schulz-Keil and Moritz Borman
€ Theatrical trailers
€ New video interview with Jacqueline Bisset
€ New audio interview with screenwriter Guy Gallo
€ 1984 audio interview with John Huston conducted by French film critic Michel Ciment
€ Notes from “Under the Volcano” (1984), a 59-minute documentary by Gary Conklin shot on the set during the film’s production, featuring interviews with Huston, cast, and crew
€ Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry (1976), filmmaker Donald Brittain’s 99-minute, Academy Award–nominated documentary, narrated by Richard Burton, examining the connections between Under the Volcano author Malcolm Lowry’s life and that of his novel’s main character
€ PLUS: A new essay by film critic Christian Viviani
€ More!


SRP: $44.95
Street date: 10/16/07

One of Spanish cinema’s great auteurs, Carlos Saura brought international audiences closer to the art of his country’s dance than any other filmmaker, before or since. In his Flamenco Trilogy—Blood Wedding, Carmen, and El amor brujo—Saura merged his passion for music with his ongoing exploration of Spanish national identity. All starring and choreographed by legendary dancer Antonio Gades, the films feature thrilling physicality and electrifying cinematography and editing—colorful paeans to bodies in motion as well as to the cinema that so eloquently, and artfully, captured them.

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