The Criterion Collection closes out 2014 with an interesting selection of new DVD and Blu-ray product offerings.
Clustered as a group — with a delivery date of Dec. 9 — are a trio of films with both Blu-ray and double-disc DVD buying options. These are: The Night Porter, Safe and Time Bandits, but the far more interesting release is the DVD-only film collection titled Kinoshita and World War II, which has been a Dec. 16 release date.
More on this is in a moment, but the first the details on Dec. 9 array of films getting the Criterion treatment. Python, animator and filmmaker Terry Gilliam’s 1981 visual feast, Time Bandits, arrives with a new 2K digital restoration supervised by the filmmaker himself.
Bonus nuggets include a commentary track teaming Gilliam with fellow Monty Python members Michael Palin and John Cleese, who are joined by cast members David Warner and Craig Warnock, plus two vintage pieces (a 1998 video featuring Gilliam with film scholar Peter von Bagh and 1981 clip with Shelley Duvall on the Tomorrow Show) and a newly-prepared video “conversation” between Prof. David Morgan production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson.
Writer/director Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film erotica, The Night Porter, teaming Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde, also has a new 2K digital restoration, newly-prepared interviews with filmmaker Liliana Cavani and co-writers Barbara Alberti and Amedeo Pagani and a 1965 documentary by Cavani titled Women of the Resistance.
Rounding-out the Dec. 9 trio of new Blu-ray and DVD film offerings is writer/director Todd Haynes 1995 arthouse entry, Safe, starring Julianne Moore (fresh from her breakout performance the previous year in Vanya on 42nd Street) as an affluent housewife who retreats from the world around by becoming ill. A horror story of the mind with bonuses that include commentary from filmmaker Todd Haynes and producer Christine Vachon, who are joined by the film’s star, Julianne Moore, plus there is a newly-prepared video featuring Haynes and Moore and lastly, Hayes’ 1978 short film titled The Suicide.
The aforementioned collection titled Kinoshita and World War II streets on Dec. 16 and showcases five films from Japanese filmmaker Keisuke Kinoshita, including four directed by him during World War II — Port of Flowers (aka: A Blooming Port; The Blossoming Port), The Living Magoroku, Jubilaton Street and Army — which is remarkable in itself in that they were actually made and that they survived the war.
The fifth film in the collection was made during the immediate aftermath of World War II (during MacArthur’s reconstruction period) and is titled Morning for the Osone Family.
For film buffs, scholars and just the plain curious, this is an exceptional collection from Criterion.