Criterion Announces November 2013 Titles

Well, here we are guys. Criterion has released the name and info of the films that are slated for November. Some of these titles have me very excited, and another one of these looks down right amazing (though I doubt that I’ll ever get it). It also looks like we’ll now be getting dual-format releases, with both Blu-ray and DVD! Take a look:

Frances Ha - Blu-ray Cover Art
Frances Ha – November 12, 2013

Greta Gerwig is radiant as a woman in her late twenties in contemporary New York, trying to sort out her ambitions, her finances, and, above all, her tight but changing bond with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). Meticulously directed by Noah Baumbach with a free-and-easy vibe reminiscent of the French New Wave’s most spirited films, and written by Baumbach and Gerwig with an effortless combination of sweetness and wit, Frances Ha gets at both the frustrations and the joys of being young and unsure of where to go next. This wry and sparkling city romance is a testament to the ongoing vitality of independent American cinema.

  • New high-definition digital master, with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and the film’s cowriter and director, Noah Baumbach
  • New conversation between actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley and the film’s cowriter and star, Greta Gerwig
  • New conversation about the look of the film between Baumbach, director of photography Sam Levy, and creative director Pascal Dangin
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker

City Lights - Blu-ray Cover Art
City Lights – November 12, 2013

The most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street (a magical Virginia Cherrill) and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form. The result was the epitome of his art and the crowning achievement of silent comedy.

  • New, restored 4K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance
  • Chaplin Today: “City Lights,” a 2003 documentary on the film’s production, featuring Aardman Animations cofounder Peter Lord
  • Chaplin Studios: Creative Freedom by Design, a new interview program featuring visual effects expert Craig Barron
  • Archival footage from the production of City Lights, including film from the set, with audio commentary by Chaplin historian Hooman Mehran; a costume test; a rehearsal; and a complete scene not used in the film
  • Excerpt from Chaplin’s short film The Champion (1915), along with footage of the director with boxing stars at Chaplin Studios in 1918
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins and a 1966 interview with Chaplin

Tokyo Story - Blu-ray Cover Art
Tokyo Story – November 19, 2013

A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, Tokyo Story is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple as they leave their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores. Featuring lovely performances from Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, Tokyo Story plumbs and deepens the director’s recurring themes of generational conflict, creating what is without question one of cinema’s mightiest masterpieces.

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Yasujiro Ozu scholar David Desser, editor of Ozu’s “Tokyo Story”
  • I Lived, But . . . , a two-hour documentary from 1953 about Ozu’s life and career, featuring interviews with critics and former cast and crew members

  • Talking with Ozu, a forty-minute tribute to the director from 1993, featuring the reflections of filmmakers Lindsay Anderson, Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Aki Kaurismäki, Stanley Kwan, Paul Schrader, and Wim Wenders
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Bordwell

Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman - Blu-ray Cover Art Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman - Blu-ray Unboxed
Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman – November 26, 2013

The colossally popular Zatoichi films make up the longest-running action series in Japanese history and created one of the screen’s great heroes: an itinerant blind masseur who also happens to be a lightning-fast swordsman. As this iconic figure, the charismatic and earthy Shintaro Katsu became an instant superstar, lending a larger-than-life presence to the thrilling adventures of a man who lives staunchly by a code of honor and delivers justice in every town and village he enters. The films that feature him are variously pulse-pounding, hilarious, stirring, and completely off-the-wall. This deluxe set features the string of twenty-five Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, collected in one package for the first time.

  • New digital restorations of all twenty-five films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
  • The Blind Swordsman, a 1978 documentary about Zatoichi portrayer and filmmaker Shintaro Katsu, along with a new interview with its director, John Nathan
  • New interview with Asian-film critic Tony Rayns
  • Trailers for all twenty-five films
  • New English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: A book featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien; synopses of the films by critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.; “The Tale of Zatoichi,” the original short story by Kan Shimozawa; and twenty-five new illustrations inspired by the films, by twenty-five different artists

Wow! What an incredible month! The Zatoichi box set is completely unbelievable; it has 27 discs! However, I doubt I’ll ever get it; even during a Barnes & Noble discount, it will still be pretty pricey (especially for a college student), and I haven’t seen any of the films so I don’t think it’s worth a blind-buy. However, I am really excited for Frances Ha and City Lights! I’ve been meaning to see both of them for awhile, and this may just be my opportunity to see them. I’ve heard of Tokyo Story (good things, too), but I’d need to watch it first.

I’ll keep everyone updated when I get more info (if there is any)!

Info courtesy of Blu-ray.com.

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