I went to Barnes & Noble today and picked up two fantastic films, Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête and Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie during their 50% off Criterion and Art House films sale. I’ve been meaning to get La Belle et la Bête for a year or so, and I’m super glad that I finally own the film. I’ve only just come into contact with Vivre Sa Vie, but I’m pretty sure that it’s my second favorite Godard film (it may be tied with Bande à Part, though), so it was certainly a must-buy for me. Other films I was (and still am) considering: Anatomy of a Murder, Band of Outsiders, Cronos, Eating Raoul, M, On the Waterfront, Safety Last!, The Lady Vanishes, Tiny Furniture, and 12 Angry Men. (These ten films are absolutely awesome, too, but I only had enough for two films, unfortunately).
But, anyway, I picked up these two films, and I took a few pictures just in case anyone reading this ever wanted to see what a typical Criterion release looks like. Here’s the two films together:
First up is La Belle et la Bête:
And secondly is Vivre Sa Vie:
As can be seen by the pictures, Criterion certainly knows how to release films. Always included is a booklet with a critical essay or two; sometimes, however, Criterion also provides various other text-based information, such as script treatments, sketches, excerpts from books, interviews with the filmmakers, etc. The cases themselves are wider than normal Blu-ray releases (to hold the usually thick booklets), which certainly sets them apart from other companies. Criterion is also known for pressing films with fantastic restorations (in both the video and audio departments), along with providing an abundant amount of bonus features. For instance, La Belle et la Bête comes with two audio commentaries, an opera by American composer Phillip Glass as an alternate audio track, a restoration piece, a stills gallery, and three featurettes, amounting to hours of information about how La Belle et la Bête came into being.
Since I just got these Blu-rays, I’ll need to go through all of those bonus features again (I’ve seen them all previously when I borrowed the films from my local library), but I will doubtlessly write some more about these two releases, especially since I have already started a little something-something about Vivre Sa Vie.
Thanks for reading!