This haunting, kabuki-inflected version of a Japanese folk legend is set in a remote mountain village, where food is scarce and tradition dictates that citizens who have reached their seventieth year must be carried to the summit of Mount Narayama and left there to die. The sacrificial elder at the center of the tale is Orin (Kinuyo Tanaka), a dignified and dutiful woman who spends her dwindling days securing the happiness of her loyal widowed son with a respectable new wife. Filmed almost entirely on cunningly designed studio sets, in brilliant color and widescreen, The Ballad of Narayama is a stylish and vividly formal work from Japan's cinematic golden age, directed by the dynamic Keisuke Kinoshita.
New 4K digital master from the 2011 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Trailer and teaser
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Philip Kemp
The Kid With a Bike
Twelve-year-old Cyril (Thomas Doret), all coiled anger and furious motion, is living in a group home but refuses to believe he has been rejected by his single father (Jérémie Renier). He spends his days frantically trying to reach the man, over the phone or on his beloved bicycle. It is only the patience and compassion of Samantha (Cécile de France), the stranger who agrees to care for him, that offers the boy the chance to move on. Spare and unsentimental but deeply imbued with a heart-rending tenderness, The Kid with a Bike is an arresting work from the great Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, masters of the empathetic action film.
New digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Conversation between film critic Kent Jones and directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Interviews with actors Cécile de France and Thomas Doret
Return to Seraing, a half-hour documentary in which the Dardennes revisit five locations from the film
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoff Andrew
On the Waterfront
Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career as the tough prizefighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy in this masterpiece of urban poetry, a raggedly emotional tale of individual failure and institutional corruption. On the Waterfront charts Terry's deepening moral crisis as he must choose whether to remain loyal to the mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) and Johnny's right-hand man, Terry's brother, Charley (Rod Steiger), as the authorities close in on them. Driven by the vivid, naturalistic direction of Elia Kazan and savory, streetwise dialogue by Budd Schulberg, On the Waterfront was an instant sensation, winning eight Oscars, including for best picture, director, actor, supporting actress (Eva Marie Saint), and screenplay.
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Alternate presentations of the restoration in two additional aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (widescreen) and 1.33:1 (full-screen)
Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
Commentary featuring authors Richard Schickel and Jeff Young
Conversation between filmmaker Martin Scorsese and critic Kent Jones
Elia Kazan: Outsider (1982), an hour-long documentary
New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with scholar Leo Braudy, critic David Thomson, and others
New interview with actress Eva Marie Saint
Interview with director Elia Kazan from 2001
Contender, a 2001 documentary on the film's most famous scene
New interview with longshoreman Thomas Hanley, an actor in the film
New interview with author James T. Fisher (On the Irish Waterfront) about the real-life people and places behind the film
Visual essay on Leonard Bernstein's score
Visual essay on the aspect ratio
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Almereyda and reprints of Kazan's 1952 ad in the New York Times defending his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, one of the 1948 New York Sun articles by Malcolm Johnson on which the film was based, and a 1953 Commonweal piece by screenwriter Budd Schulberg
Chronicle of a Summer
Few films can claim to be as influential to the course of cinema history as Chronicle of a Summer. The fascinating result of a collaboration between filmmaker-anthropologist Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin, this vanguard work of what Morin would term cinéma verité is a brilliantly conceived and realized sociopolitical diagnosis of the early sixties in France. By simply interviewing a group of Paris residents in the summer of 1960—beginning with the provocative and eternal question "Are you happy?" and expanding to political issues, including the ongoing Algerian War—Rouch and Morin reveal the hopes and dreams of a wide array of people, from artists to factory workers, from an Italian émigré to an African student. Chronicle of a Summer's penetrative approach gives us a document of a time and place with extraordinary emotional depth.
New high-definition digital transfer of the Cineteca di Bologna restoration of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Un été + 50 (2011), a seventy-three-minute documentary featuring outtakes and new interviews with codirector Edgar Morin and some of the film's subjects
Archival interviews with codirector Jean Rouch and Marceline Loridan, one of the film's subjects
New interview with anthropology professor Faye Ginsburg, organizer of several Rouch retrospectives
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by scholar Sam Di Iorio
Sansho the Bailiff
When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually separated by vicious slave traders. Under the dazzling direction of Kenji Mizoguchi, this classic Japanese story became one of cinema's greatest masterpieces, a monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil.
Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
Audio commentary by Japanese-literature professor Jeffrey Angles
Video interviews with critic Tadao Sato, assistant director Tokuzo Tanaka, and legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa, on the making of the film and its lasting importance
PLUS: A book featuring an essay by film writer Mark Le Fanu and two versions of the story on which the film was based: Ogai Mori's 1915 "Sansho Dayu" and a written form of an earlier oral variation
I'll pick up On the Waterfront. Brando's acting in that is still some of the best ever. Sansho the Bailiff is a solid samurai movie, an over-represented genre Criterion seems to have a real fetish for.
On the Waterfront is a blind buy for me. I Have waited a long time for it to go Blu and now it's joining the Criterion Collection, fantastic news! "Narayama" sounds very interesting, I will definitely add it to my wishlist.
I'm quite intrigued (though not very surprised) to see both The Kid with a Bike, easily one of the best films I've seen this year and On the Waterfront, one of the best films I've seen from any year, released by Criterion. I'll definitely pick each of them up on its release day.
Though I haven't yet seen the other films, I'm also very interested in The Ballad of Narayama and Sansho the Bailiff. Chronicle of a Summer could be of some interest as well. Another month to look forward to.
Sansho and On the Waterfront are great. Also did'nt expect The Kid with a Bike which was a fairly harrowing but great film. But still craving for the must needed titles like Badlands, Apu Trilogy, Ikiru.
If Criterion does go for a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, it would probably be one that isn't already on Blu-ray as Magnolia and There Will Be Blood are. I wouldn't be surprised if Punch-Drunk Love, or even his first film Hard Eight, get announced by Criterion sometime in the future.
This is arguably one of the strongest overall months in the Criterion catalogue. Dardenne + Mizoguchi + Kinoshita + Kazan + Morin? Holy freak. (Almost thought that was the Imamura version... that would have been crazy.)