Well, it’s the middle of the month and the Criterion Collection has announced their December 2013 releases. They will continue with the dual format (both Blu-ray and DVD) on the new releases and will include the following films:
Investigations of a Citizen Above Suspicion – December 3rd
The provocative Italian filmmaker Elio Petri’s most internationally acclaimed work is this remarkable, visceral, Oscar-winning thriller. Petri maintains a tricky balance between absurdity and realism in telling the Kafkaesque tale of a Roman police inspector (Gian Maria Volonté, in a commanding performance) investigating a heinous crime—which he committed himself. Both a penetrating character study and a disturbing commentary on the draconian crackdowns by the Italian government in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Petri’s kinetic portrait of surreal bureaucracy is a perversely pleasurable rendering of controlled chaos.
- New 4K digital restoration by the Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Archival interview with director Elio Petri, conducted by critic and filmmaker Alexandre Astruc
- Elio Petri: Notes About a Filmmaker (2005), a ninety-minute documentary on the director’s career, featuring interviews with friends, collaborators, and filmmakers
- New interview with film scholar Camilla Zamboni
- Investigation of a Citizen Named Volonté (2008), a fifty-minute documentary about actor Gian Maria Volonté
- Music in His Blood, an interview with composer Ennio Morricone from 2010, conducted by film critic Fabio Ferzetti
- New English subtitle translation
- One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both formats
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Evan Calder Williams and excerpts from a 2001 book by author and screenwriter Ugo Pirro
Nashville – December 3rd
This cornerstone of 1970s American moviemaking from Robert Altman is a panoramic view of the country’s political and entertainment landscapes, set in the nation’s music capital. Nashville weaves the stories of twenty-four characters—from country star to wannabe to reporter to waitress—into a cinematic tapestry that is equal parts comedy, tragedy, and musical. Many members of the astonishing cast wrote and performed their own songs live on location, which lends another layer to the film’s quirky authenticity. Altman’s ability to get to the heart of American life via its eccentric byways was never put to better use than in this grand, rollicking triumph, which barrels forward to an unforgettable conclusion.
- New 2K digital film restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary featuring director Robert Altman
- New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with actors Keith Carradine, Michael Murphy, Allan Nicholls, and Lily Tomlin; assistant director Alan Rudolph; and screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury
- Archival interviews with Altman
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Demos of Carradine singing his songs from the film
- One Blu-ray and two DVDs, with all content available in both editions
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Molly Haskell
Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project Collection – December 10th
Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the World Cinema Project expands the horizons of moviegoers everywhere. The mission of the WCP is to preserve and present marginalized and infrequently screened films from regions of the world ill equipped to provide funding for major restorations. This collector’s set brings together six superb films from various countries, including Bangladesh/India (A River Called Titas), Mexico (Redes), Morocco (Trances), Senegal (Touki bouki), South Korea (The Housemaid), and Turkey (Dry Summer); each is a cinematic revelation, depicting a culture not often seen by outsiders.
- New high-definition digital restorations of all six films, undertaken by the World Cinema Project in collaboration with the Cineteca di Bologna, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
- New introductions to the films by World Cinema Project founder Martin Scorsese
- New interview programs featuring filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako (on Touki bouki), Kumar Shahani (on A River Called Titas), Metin Erksan and Fatih Akın (on Dry Summer), and Bong Joon-ho (on The Housemaid)
- New visual essay on Redes by filmmaker and critic Kent Jones
- New interview program on Trances featuring filmmaker Ahmed El Maânouni, producer Izza Génini, and musician Omar Sayed
- New English subtitle translations
- Three Blu-rays and six DVDs, with all content available in both formats
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays on the films by Charles Ramirez Berg, Bilge Ebiri, Kyung Hyun Kim, Adrian Martin, Richard Porton, and Sally Shafto
Grey Gardens – December 10th
Meet Big and Little Edie Beale: mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, and reclusive cousins of Jackie Onassis. The two manage to thrive together amid the decay and disorder of their East Hampton, New York, mansion, making for an eerily ramshackle echo of the American Camelot. An impossibly intimate portrait, this 1976 documentary by Albert and David Maysles, codirected by Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, quickly became a cult classic and established Little Edie as a fashion icon and philosopher queen. The Blu-ray edition features the 2006 follow-up to the film, The Beales of Grey Gardens, constructed from hours of extra footage in the filmmakers’ vaults.
- New 2K digital film restoration, approved by codirector Albert Maysles, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack (Blu-ray)
- New digital transfer (DVD)
- The Beales of Grey Gardens, the 2006 sequel to the film (Blu-ray)
- Audio commentary for Grey Gardens, featuring Maysles and codirectors Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, along with associate producer Susan Froemke
- Introduction to The Beales of Grey Gardens by Maysles (Blu-ray)
- Audio excerpts from a 1976 interview with Little Edie Beale, conducted by Kathryn G. Graham
- Interviews with fashion designers Todd Oldham and John Bartlett on the continuing influence of Grey Gardens
- Behind-the-scenes photographs
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Hilton Als
This looks like a pretty cool slate to me. Granted, I’ve only ever seen one of these films: The Housmaid (which I absolutely loved by the way). It’s sad, though, that two of the films from the World Cinema Project, that were released on Criterion’s Hulu Plus channel, are absent from the release. It’s also interesting to note that Grey Gardens will purely be Blu-ray since the DVD is still in print.
I’m running on a tight schedule today, so that’s all I’ve got for you all.
All info courtesy of Blu-ray.com