Criterion Blu-ray in November: Godard, Pasolini, Kurosawa, Cimino
Posted August 15, 2012 06:04 PM by Webmaster
The Criterion Collection has announced four titles for Blu-ray release in November. On November 6th, the independent studio will release Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950). A week later, on November 13th, it will release Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967) and Trilogy of Life (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1971-74). On November 20th, it will release Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980).
Technical specs and special features include:
A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, Rashomon is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people recount different versions of the story of a man's murder and the rape of his wife, which director Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) presents with striking imagery and an ingenious use of flashbacks. This eloquent masterwork and international sensation revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema - and a commanding new star by the name of Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) - to the Western world.
New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
Video introduction by director Robert Altman
Excerpts from The World of Kazuo Miyagawa, a documentary on Rashomon's cinematographer
A Testimony as an Image, a sixty-eight-minute documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
Archival audio interview with actor Takashi Shimura
Original and rerelease trailers
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince; an excerpt from director Akira Kurosawa's Something Like an Autobiography; and reprints of Rashomon's two source stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, "Rashomon" and "In a Grove"
This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless) is one of cinema's great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous centerpiece sequence in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam, and rich with historical and literary references, Weekend is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution, a depiction of society retreating to savagery, and - according to the credits - the end of cinema itself.
New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
New video essay by film critic Kent Jones
Archival interviews with actors Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne and assistant director Claude Miller
Excerpt from a French television program on director Jean-Luc Godard, featuring on-set footage of Weekend shot by filmmaker Philippe Garrel
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and novelist Gary Indiana
Trilogy of Life
In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom) brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of premodern world literature - Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and The Thousand and One Nights (often known as The Arabian Nights) - and in doing so created his most uninhibited and extravagant work, which he titled his Trilogy of Life. In this brazen and bawdy triptych, the director set out to challenge consumer capitalism and celebrate the uncorrupted human body while commenting on contemporary sexual and religious mores and hypocrisies. His scatological humor and rough-hewn sensuality leave all modern standards of decency behind; these are physical, provocative, and wildly entertaining films, all extraordinarily designed by Dante Ferretti (Hugo) and featuring evocative music by Ennio Morricone (Days of Heaven).
Special Edition Collector's Set Features:
New high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions
New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns on The Decameron and Arabian Nights, respectively
New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone about their work with Pasolini, and with film scholar Sam Rohdie on The Canterbury Tales
The Lost Body of Alibech (2005), a forty-five-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from The Decameron
The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
Via Pasolini, a documentary in which Pasolini discusses his views on language, film, and modern society
Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City (1974), a sixteen-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Burnatto about the ancient Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia
Deleted scenes from Arabian Nights, with transcriptions of pages from the original script
Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for The Canterbury Tales
New English subtitle translations
PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini's 1975 article "Trilogy of Life Rejected"; excerpts from Pasolini's Berlin Film Festival press conference for The Canterbury Tales; and a report from the set of Arabian Nights by critic Gideon Bachmann
A visionary critique of American expansionism, Heaven's Gate, directed by Oscar winner Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), is among Hollywood's most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson (Lone Star) brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who has relocated all the way to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by rich cattle barons to kill the area's European settlers for their land. The resulting skirmish is based on the real-life bloody Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert (White Material) and Christopher Walken (King of New York), Heaven's Gate is a savage and ravishingly shot demystification of western movie lore. This is the full director's cut, letting viewers today see Cimino's potent original vision.
New, restored transfer of director Michael Cimino's cut of the film, supervised by Cimino
New restoration of the 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by Cimino, in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
New illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli
New interviews with actor Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger and performer David Mansfield, and second assistant director Michael Stevenson
The Johnson County War, a video interview with historian Bill O'Neal about the real-life conflict that inspired the film, and its resonance in popular culture
Trailer and TV spots
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan
So which is the "Michael Cimino cut of the film"? The work print at 325min or the premiere cut at 219 minutes? Nevermind, I just read the 219 is the director's cut so I'm assuming that's the Cimino cut.
I'm psyched about 'Heaven's Gate'; been dying for the Criterion collection to release it for years. Though I honestly was hoping to see the original 5.5hour cut as an additional feature, still very curious to see that. And there's this great TV documentary based on Steven Bach's book: "Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate", kinda disappointed that it's not there either.
Wow this is truly an amazing month. I will be getting them all. I am especially pleased about Rashomon & Weekend. I figured Godard's Weekend wasn't coming because of that other Weekend out a month or so before! Wow just awesome
As expected—and as usual—Criterion's November lineup has proven to be stellar once again. I'll proudly add all four of these packages to my collection. If B&N has another 50% off sale that month, it will be all for the better.
RASHOMON! GIMME! *om nom nom* Crap, didn't mean to eat it... got too excited. Seriously though, Rashomon is one of the top 3 "dvd to blu ray upgrade" Criterions I've been waiting forever for. Now, bring on Brazil and Throne of Blood, and I'll be quite happy :-D
Can't believe more people aren't also getting excited about the Pasolini trilogy! Perhaps they are just not as familiar with Pasolini? These are fantastic films. Pasolini was on such a role from 1967 until 1975 (the time of his death). I got the E1 Blu ray of his "Medea" (1970) last December, and it looks great. I have the Criterion "Salo" (1975), as well. I hope Criterion will do more pasolini eventually, too. I would love a Crierion blu of "Oedipus Rex" (1967). Anyway, like someone else said, I'm probably getting ALL of these!
Heaven's Gate!! A vastly underrated (if flawed) masterpiece. Finally it will get a high quality video release. I recently watched the technically awful non-anamorphic DVD and enjoyed the film more than ever in spite of the terrible video quality.
You think Criterion would ever do The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? That way we could get the directors cut and some special features. It had three trailers and none of them showed up on the disc. And I'd like to see some extras about the look and sound of the movie.
At last I can ditch my awful non anamorphic Heavens Gate, over a year ago I reported that this restoration was going on but exactly how long is the directors cut? .... and which directors cut? Great news.
I'm interested in Rashomon. I have seen (and own) many Kurosawa films, but somehow have never gotten around to seeing Rashomon. Seven Samurai is currently the only Kurosawa I own on Blu (though I have several others on DVD). Rashomon might make it two Kurosawa Blus for me.
I'll pass on Heaven's Gate and Weekend.
Finally, the Pasolini Trilogy is absolutely disgusting and depraved. Criterion calls it "uninhibited and extravagant," but that isn't always a good thing.
Hopefully Heaven's Gate will have the original freeze frame ending rather than the slightly extended one on the DVD. It would have been interested to have included the alternate ending from the shorter version, which is basically just a costume change and character removed from the one they used while intercut with Isabelle Huppert's last scene. It is a shame they don't have the documentary on it, though.
I know it's among his most popular so it's probably blaphemy to say Rashomon is the only Kurosawa I've seen that I didn't like. Well, that and Dersu Uzala. (More blasphemy.) I'd rather see Red Beard, Throne of Blood, Ran (if only!), The Hidden Fortress and (especially) Ikiru. Given that Criterion has released so many Kurosawas on Blu-ray I hope it's just a matter of time until we see the rest of these.
I'm glad Criterion has chosen to spread the film over two discs because the only reason this film holds any interest at all is the visuals--the scenery and Cimino's obsessive devotion to detail and historical authenticity. I've wanted to like Heaven's Gate for 30 years and have watched it several times in its full-length and truncated versions, and the sad truth keeps slapping me in the face: it's a slow, ponderous, overblown, lovely-to-look-at ego trip by a director run amok. It lacks the one essential element of any good film: a story. Still, its visuals and sense of historical time and place are among the most stunning in cinema history, and for that reason alone I will buy it.
OMG, how fantastic November 2012 is gonna be...!!! I swear I had tears in my eyes when I saw "Heaven's Gate" as now becoming a part of the Criterion oeuvre! I will never forget having my $10 ticket to see it's West Coast premier in Century City, only to have the showing canceled due to the disastrous New York City premier. (It was viewed by many, at the time, that Vincent Canby's scathing review put the stake through Heaven's Gate's beating heart.) Even seeing UA's truncated version, I simply didn't understand the vehement antipathy towards this film. When I finally got to see the full-length, director's cut, I was astounded! True, it's not a perfect film; however, it is visually and aurally astounding, the performances by all extremely effective, and the storyline is moving and emotional. I AM PSYCHED...!!! And, too, so great to see Pasolini and "Rashomon" on November's list! (I'm not a Godard fan; however, I may check this one out....) Bravo, Criterion!!!
"Heaven's Gate"? Now that's a head scratcher for a CC release. Being it's mostly regarded as one
of the worst movies ever made. It definitely was a financial disaster. I finally saw it years ago.
And while I certainly didn't think it was terrible, I found it extremely boring.