Criterion Announces September 2014 Titles

The news is here! The folks at Criterion have announced their 2014 titles. Something else is new as well. According to Criterion, the collection will return to Blu-ray or DVD releases; I personally loved the Blu-ray/DVD combo packs, as it gave me an option if I didn’t have a Blu-ray player around. Most people, I’ve realized, like the change though. Oh, well. Back to the good news! Here are the releases for September 2014:

Eraserhead

Eraserhead – September 16

David Lynch’s 1977 debut feature, Eraserhead, is both a lasting cult sensation and a work of extraordinary craft and beauty. With its mesmerizing black-and-white photography by Frederick Elmes, evocative sound design, and unforgettably enigmatic performance by Jack Nance, this visionary nocturnal odyssey remains one of American cinema’s darkest dreams.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • “Eraserhead” Stories, a 2001 documentary by David Lynch on the making of the film
  • New high-definition restorations of six short films by Lynch: Six Figures Getting Sick (1966), The Alphabet (1968), The Grandmother (1970), The Amputee, Part 1 and Part 2 (1974), and Premonitions Following an Evil Deed (1996), all with video introductions by Lynch
  • New and archival interviews with cast and crew
  • Trailer

Macbeth

Macbeth – September 23

Roman Polanski imbues his unflinchingly violent adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of ruthless ambition and murder in medieval Scotland with grit and dramatic intensity. Jon Finch and Francesca Annis are charged with fury and sex appeal as a decorated warrior rising in the ranks and his driven wife, scheming together to take the throne by any means. Coadapted by Polanski and the great theater critic and dramaturge Kenneth Tynan, and shot against a series of stunning, stark British Isle landscapes, this version of Macbeth is among the most atmospheric and authentic of all Shakespeare films.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New documentary about the making of the film, featuring interviews with director Roman Polanski, producer Andrew Braunsberg, assistant executive producer Victor Lownes, and stars Francesca Annis and Martin Shaw
  • Polanski Meets Macbeth, a 1971 documentary by Frank Simon featuring rare footage of the film’s cast and crew at work
  • Theatrical trailers
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Terrence Rafferty

The Innocents

The Innocents – September 23

This genuinely frightening, exquisitely made supernatural gothic stars Deborah Kerr as an emotionally fragile governess who comes to suspect that there is something very, very wrong with her precocious new charges. A psychosexually intensified adaptation of Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw, cowritten by Truman Capote and directed by Jack Clayton, The Innocents is a triumph of narrative economy and technical expressiveness, from its chilling sound design to the stygian depths of its widescreen cinematography by Freddie Francis.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring cultural historian Christopher Frayling
  • New interview with cinematographer John Bailey on director of photography Freddie Francis and the look of the film
  • Archival interviews with editor James Clark, Francis, and script supervisor Pamela Francis
  • Trailer
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Maitland McDonagh

Sundays And Cybele

Sundays and Cybele – September 30

In this provocative Academy Award winner from French director Serge Bourgignon, a psychologically damaged war veteran and a neglected child begin a startlingly intimate friendship—one that ultimately ignites the suspicion and anger of his friends and neighbors in suburban Paris. Bourguignon’s film makes thoughtful, humane drama out of potentially incendiary subject matter, and with the help of the sensitive cinematography of Henri Decaë and a delicate score by Maurice Jarre, Sundays and Cybèle becomes a stirring contemplation of an alliance between two troubled souls.

Special Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with director Serge Bourguignon and actor Patricia Gozzi
  • Le sourire (1960), Bourguignon’s Palme d’Or–winning short documentary
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Ginette Vincendeau

Ali - Fear Eats The Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul – September 30

The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker’s 1955 All That Heaven Allows. A lonely widow (Brigitte Mira) meets a much younger Arab worker (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise—and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies. In Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Fassbinder expertly uses the emotional power of classic Hollywood melodrama to expose the racial tensions underlying contemporary German culture.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Introduction from 2003 by filmmaker Todd Haynes
  • Interviews from 2003 with actor Brigitte Mira and editor Thea Eymèsz
  • Shahbaz Noshir’s 2002 short Angst isst Seele auf, which reunites Mira, Eymèsz, and cinematographer Jürgen Jürges to tell the story, based on real events, of an attack by neo-Nazis on a foreign actor while on his way to a stage performance of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s screenplay
  • Signs of Vigorous Life: New German Cinema, a 1976 BBC program about the national film movement of which Fassbinder was a part
  • Scene from Fassbinder’s 1970 film The American Soldier that inspired Ali
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Chris Fujiwara

I must confess that I haven’t seen any of these films, though they all look rather interesting. I did start watching Eraserhead, but I simply couldn’t get into it. I do believe it deserves a second chance, though (and, since it’s on Hulu Plus, I can easily watch it). I know that there are many fans of the film, so I’m sure they’re positively elated at this announcement. And The Innocents looks utterly fascinating, especially since I love The Turn of the Screw (and it’s written by Capote!). And, who doesn’t like Shakespeare? I’m sure Polanski’s version of Macbeth is great; though, I am partial to Kurosawa’s version, Throne of Blood.

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