The Criterion Collection titles for September are here, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a group of films so perfectly suited, and so desperately in need of being included in their (and my) collection. Each of these films, in their own right, are groundbreaking, revolutionary and immensely perfect. Here’s hoping everyone else is just as pleased as I am with these glorious films. As always, all of these films are available for pre-order at The Criterion Collection site.
September 10th, 2013:
- “La Cage Aux Folles” (1978): This French film directed by Edouard Molinaro is based on the stage play of the same name by Jean Poiret, and centers around a gay couple running a nightclub. Problems ensue when their son decides to marry a girl from a conservative family. This film has been critically acclaimed since its initially release, and spawned two less than adequate sequels and an American remake entitled, “The Birdcage” (1996), directed by Mike Nichols. Great comedy is hard to find, but “La Cage Aux Folles” makes it look easy.
- “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” (1965): Richard Burton had a long and glorious career, but when you sit down and examine each of his marvelous performances one by one, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” stands out above the rest. The plot, based on the novel of the same name by John le Carre, revolves around a British agent who goes into East Germany and becomes accepted as a communist. Directed by Martin Ritt (“The Outrage”, “Norma Rae”), and costarring Oskar Werner and Claire Bloom, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” is a piece of magnificent filmmaking. It, actually, is reminiscent of a James Bond film with a slightly higher quality attached.
September 17th, 2013:
- “Autumn Sonata” (1978): Unquestionably, the two greatest cinematic things that have ever come out of Sweden are director Ingmar Bergman and actress Ingrid Bergman. Throughout their illustrious careers, they only worked together once, but that film, “Autumn Sonata,” is one to be remembered. The story centers on a classical pianist who is reconnected with her estranged daughter (wonderfully portrayed by Liv Ullmann). This film was the last film released starring Ingrid Bergman, and earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
- “Slacker” (1991): Director Richard Linklater has made a career out of “unconventional” films. By that, I mean films that might not seems like something important or relevant, but believe me, they are. These films, such as “Dazed and Confused” (1993), “subUrbia” (1996), “School of Rock” (2003) and “Bernie” (2011) go beyond just being comical, because they have a serious and extremely important message to deliver. And don’t even get me started on how important “Before Sunrise” (1995), “Before Sunset” (2004) and “Before Midnight” (2013) are in today’s world. “Slacker” has often been called a “film with no plot”- a bunch of 30-something year-olds, living through one somewhat meaningless day doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it truly is remarkable!
September 24th, 2013:
- “3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman” (1950-1954): Alright, are you ready to be extremely excited? Here is the release to beat all releases! Roberto Rossellini made many great films, in fact, let’s just be honest, everything he touched is at least worth examining. In this collection, three hard to find films starring his wife, Ingrid Bergman, are being released. These three film are, “Stromboli” (1950), “Europe ’51” (1952) and “Journey to Italy“ (1954). All three of these films are “must-see” and should be held in higher esteem than they are, but because of a serious lack of availability, they have become somewhat overlooked. I can’t say enough about these films, and promise that you (as a lover of great classic films) will be thrilled with this investment. It is also worth mentioning that the bonus features for these films are unbelievable, including the English-Language version of “Journey to Italy,” featuring George Sanders!
I, of course, realize that I sound like an obsessed, slobbering fan right now, but I can’t wait until September to see these films. It doesn’t matter what The Criterion Collection has planned for October, because it will just be a let down compared to these films.