The Criterion Collection is adding to its library in February of 2020, and among its selections is Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, a Netflix release. It will be the first Netflix movie in Criterion, whose focus has always been to license and champion classic and contemporary films it deems important. This recognition is quite the achievement for Netflix, further legitimizing it as a company committed to producing quality material.
Premiering on the streaming service in 2018, Roma would be nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress for Yalitza Aparicio. It won Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Cinematography (Cuarón shot it himself) and Best Director.
The film details a chapter in the life of Cleo, an indigenous domestic worker in 1970s Mexico City, who cares for four children after they’ve been abandoned by their father. The small scale, black and white drama featuring several actors making their screen debuts was certainly a change of pace for Cuarón, whose prior film was the visual spectacle, Gravity. But it was undoubtedly his most personal.
Here are the details of Roma’s director-approved special features, as well as pricing:
* 4K digital master, supervised by director Alfonso Cuarón, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* Road to “Roma,” a new documentary about the making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Cuarón
* Snapshots from the Set, a new documentary featuring actors Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, producers Gabriela Rodríguez and Nicolás Celis, production designer Eugenio Caballero, casting director Luis Rosales, executive producer David Linde, and others
* New documentaries about the film’s sound and postproduction processes, featuring Cuarón; Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay, and Craig Henighan from the postproduction sound team; editor Adam Gough; postproduction supervisor Carlos Morales; and finishing artist Steven J. Scott
* New documentary about the film’s ambitious theatrical campaign and social impact in Mexico, featuring Celis and Rodríguez
* Nothing at Stake, a new video essay by filmmaker :: kogonada
* Alternate French subtitles and Spanish SDH for the film
* PLUS: Essays by novelist Valeria Luiselli and historian Enrique Krauze, along with (Blu-ray only) writing by author Aurelio Asiain and production-design images with notes by Caballero
2018 * 135 minutes * Black & White * Dolby Atmos/ 5.1 surround * In Spanish and Mixtec with English subtitles * 2.39:1 aspect ratio
In all, Criterion is adding eight films in February to their expansive library aimed at film lovers. Below are the other titles and what they include.
Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) designed some of the world’s most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films ever made. In Antonio Gaudí, their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara’s film takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject’s organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí on film.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
* Interview with architect Arata Isozaki from 2008
* Gaudí, Catalunya, 1959, footage from director Hiroshi Teshigahara’s first trip to Spain
* Visions of Space: “Antoni Gaudí,” an hour-long documentary from 2003 on the architect’s life and work
* BBC program on Gaudí by filmmaker Ken Russell
* Sculptures by Sofu-Vita, a 1963 short film by Teshigahara on the sculpture work of his father, Sofu Teshigahara
* PLUS: An essay by art historian Dore Ashton, a 1986 reminiscence by Hiroshi Teshigahara, and excerpts from a 1959 conversation between Hiroshi and Sofu Teshigahara on their trip to the West
1984 * 72 minutes * Color * Monaural * In Japanese with English subtitles * 1.33:1 aspect ratio
PARIS IS BURNING
Where does voguing come from, and what, exactly, is throwing shade? This landmark documentary provides a vibrant snapshot of the 1980s through the eyes of New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene. Made over seven years, Paris Is Burning offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Featuring legendary voguers, drag queens, and trans women- including Willi Ninja, Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, and Venus Xtravaganza- Paris Is Burning brings it, celebrating the joy of movement, the force of eloquence, and the draw of community.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Jennie Livingston, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* New conversation between Livingston, ball community members Sol Pendavis and Freddie Pendavis, and filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris
* Over an hour of never-before-seen outtakes
* Audio commentary from 2005, featuring Livingston, ball community members Freddie Pendavis and Willi Ninja, and film editor Jonathan Oppenheim
* Episode of The Joan Rivers Show from 1991, featuring Livingston and ball community members Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Freddie Pendavis, and Willi Ninja
1990 * 76 minutes * Color * Monaural * 1.33:1 aspect ratio
One of the iconoclastic Pier Paolo Pasolini’s most radical provocations, Teorema finds the auteur moving beyond the poetic, proletarian earthiness that first won him renown and notoriety with a coolly cryptic exploration of bourgeois spiritual emptiness. Terence Stamp stars as the mysterious stranger- perhaps an angel, perhaps a devil- who, one by one, seduces the members of a wealthy Milanese family (including European cinema icons Silvana Mangano, Massimo Girotti, Laura Betti, and Anne Wiazemsky), precipitating an existential crisis in each of their lives. Unfolding nearly wordlessly in a procession of sacred and profane images, this tantalizing metaphysical riddle- blocked from exhibition by the Catholic Church for degeneracy- is at once a blistering Marxist treatise on sex, religion, and art and a primal scream into the void.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* Alternate English-dubbed soundtrack, featuring the voice of actor Terence Stamp and others
* Audio commentary from 2007 featuring Robert S. C. Gordon, author of Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity
* Introduction by director Pier Paolo Pasolini from 1969
* Interview from 2007 with Stamp
* New interview with John David Rhodes, author of Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome
* New English subtitle translation
* PLUS: An essay by film scholar James Quandt
1968 * 98 minutes * Color * Monaural * In Italian with English subtitles * 1.85:1 aspect ratio
THREE FANTASTIC JOURNEYS BY KAREL ZEMAN
A one-of-a-kind silver-screen illusionist, Czechoslovak filmmaker Karel Zeman devoted his career to transporting viewers to realms beyond their wildest imagining. The deft, breathtaking combinations of live-action and animation techniques that he pioneered in the postwar years earned him comparisons to legends such as Georges Méliès, and an array of followers that includes Jan Svankmajer, Terry Gilliam, and Wes Anderson. Presented here are three of Zeman’s most enchanting fantasies- a boys’ adventure into the mists of prehistory, a Jules Verne-derived flight of fancy, and an exotic eighteenth-century tall tale- all of them treasure chests of wondrous sights, tactile textures, and headlong yarn-spinning that helped put Czechoslovak cinema on the international map.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
* New programs with animation filmmaker John Stevenson and special-effects artists Phil Tippett and Jim Aupperle discussing director Karel Zeman and his complex visual trickery
* Four early short films by Zeman: A Christmas Dream (1946), A Horseshoe for Luck (1946), Inspiration (1949), and King Lavra (1950)
* Film Adventurer: Karel Zeman, a 2015 documentary about the director, featuring filmmakers Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, illustrator Ludmila Zeman, and others
* Short documentaries by the Karel Zeman Museum profiling the director and detailing the production and effects of all three films
* U.S.-release version of Journey to the Beginning of Time from 1960
* Alternate English-dubbed soundtrack for Invention for Destruction, and the opening sequence of the 1961 U.S.-release version
* Restoration demonstrations and an interview with restoration supervisor James Mockoski
* New English subtitle translations
* PLUS: An essay by film critic Michael Atkinson, along with limited-edition deluxe Blu-ray packaging featuring pop-up art
JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME
A beguiling mix of natural history and science fiction, this early feature by Karel Zeman follows four schoolboys on an awe-inspiring expedition back through time, where they behold landscapes and creatures that have long since vanished from the earth. Hewing closely to the scientific knowledge of its era, Journey to the Beginning of Time brings its prehistoric beasts alive through a number of innovative techniques-including stop-motion, puppetry, and life-size models-creating an atmosphere of pure wonderment.
1955 * 84 minutes * Color * Monaural * In Czech with English subtitles * 1.37:1 aspect ratio
INVENTION FOR DESTRUCTION
This eye-popping escapade revolves around a scientist and his doomsday machine – and the pirates who will stop at nothing to gain possession of it. Freely adapting the fiction of Jules Verne, and inspired by Victorian line engravings, Karel Zeman surrounds his actors with animated scenery of breathtaking intricacy and complexity, constructing an impossibly vivid proto-steampunk world. Released abroad at the turn of the 1960s, Invention for Destruction went on to become one of the most internationally successful Czechoslovak films of all time.
1958 * 81 minutes * Black & White * Monaural * In Czech with English subtitles * 1.37:1 aspect ratio
THE FABULOUS BARON MUNCHAUSEN
In The Fabulous Baron Munchausen, Karel Zeman conjures the adventures of the legendary, boastful baron, whose whirlwind exploits take him from the moon to eighteenth-century Turkey to the belly of a whale and beyond. A kaleidoscopic marvel that blends live action with techniques including stop-motion, cutout collage, puppetry, painted backdrops, and antique tinting, Zeman’s film is an exhilarating visual delight and a warmhearted whirl through a bygone age too entrancing to have existed.
1962 * 83 minutes * Color * Monaural * In Czech with English subtitles * 1.37:1 aspect ratio