Friday, November 16, 2012

The Criterion Collection Sets February Release Slate

The Criterion Collection, with sales and distribution expertise provided by Image Entertainment, announced its Feb. ’13 line-up this past week … a delightful mix of foreign-language imports anchored by one all-American classic, auteur filmmaker Elia Kazan’s 1954 Best Picture winner, On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront is set for Feb. 19 (timed to take advantage of the Oscar telecast of Feb. 24) as both a double-disc Blu-ray edition and as a three-disc DVD collection, complete with a new digital restoration (and presented in two different aspect ratios 1.85:1 and 1.33:1 … which should raise a few eyebrows among cinefiles attracted to the Criterion brand since neither viewing choice is the “pure” 1.37 original theatrical aspect ratio), a newly-prepared commentary and more.

The commentary features the teaming of film critic Richard Schickel with Elia Kazan biographer Jeff Young (“Kazan: The Master Director Discusses His Film”), plus there is a separate “Conversation” (featurette) between fellow auteur Martin Scorsese and film critic Kent Jones.

Other bonus goodies include documentary filmmaker Annie Tresgot’s 1982 film, Elia Kazan: An Outsider, David Naylor’s 2001 short documentary titled Contender: Mastering the Method (an in-depth look at the pivotal scene between Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando) and four separate video interviews — one vintage: Elia Kazan in 2001 and three newly-minted, including one with Eva Maria Saint.

Kid With A Bike From the Criterion Collection, Feb. 12
Another award-winning film getting the Criterion treatment in February is that of the writing/directing team of Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne’s Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix-winner, The Kid With a Bike.

This French-language import (from Belgium actually) arrives in the domestic market as a stand alone Blu-ray SKU and as a double-disc DVD product offering on Feb. 12.  The ARR comes in at 333 days and the ticket sales were a very nice $1.4 million (a solid number for a foreign-language film).

What makes The Kid With a Bike and interesting — even riveting — piece of cinema is that the brothers Dardenne (L’Enfant, Rosetta, etc.) have deftly blended the elements of a classic British “Kitchen Sink” drama with those of a lyrical fairy tale.  

The focal character, 12-year-old Cyril (newcomer Thomas Doret), is cut from the same mold as Tom Courtenay’s character in director Tony Richardson’s 1962 film masterpiece, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.   Angry, alone and headed for a world of hard times and crime … he’s even a ward of the state (Cyril’s father has abandoned him).   

Instead of the dreary black and white world of those post-war British films, The Kid With a Bike has been infused with color and hope, which comes in the form of the beautiful 30ish Samantha (Cécile De France — Hereafter, Russian Dolls, etc.), who — for reasons that are never quite explained — takes an interest in the brutish, angry boy.  An “angel” of redemption and hope, perhaps.

Bonus features include interviews with the two stars, Cécile de France and Thomas Doret, a “Conversation” with the filmmakers and film critic Kent Jones and the half hour documentary titled Return to Seraing.

Rounding out February release calendar from the Criterion Collection are two Japanese film classics, Ballad of Narayama (Feb. 5 — director Keisuke Kinoshita, 1958 … 1961 release in the U.S.) and Sansho the Bailiff (Feb. 26 — director Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954 … 1955 domestically), plus the 1961 experimental cinéma vérité film from French filmmaker Jean Rouch, Chronicle of a Summer (also on Feb. 26).   

Blu-ray and DVD editions will be available for all three of these vintage foreign language imports.

For more information these February announcement, plus other Criterion Collection releases, please visit the company’s website at

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report:

No comments:

Post a Comment