6 posts categorized "Criterion"

August 18, 2020

COME AND SEE — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

Comeandsee

Stalingrad-born Elem Klimov's "Come and See" is an undiluted expression of cinematic poetry in the service of an unspeakably turbulent, fact-based, anti-war narrative about the 628 Belarusian villages burnt to the ground along with their inhabitants by the Nazis during World War II. The film is a disorienting vision of a genocide hell on Earth that would pale Hieronymus Bosch's most gruesome compositions.

Klimov derives the film's haunting title from the New Testament's Book of Revelations, The Gospel of St. John the Divine, "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, come and see."

Comeandsee

An electricity-buzzing stench of death and social decay hangs over the picture's constant volley between neo-realistic, formal, and documentary cinematic styles that Klimov uses to convert as wide a range of specific wartime experience as possible. The narrative explodes in all directions at once. The leftist filmmaker takes the viewer on a quicksilver descent into an existential madness of war through the eyes of his 14-year-old peasant protagonist Florya. 13-year-old (non-professional) actor Alexei Kravchenko's selfless performance as the film's subjective guide encompasses a lifetime of suffering over a period of a few brutal days of the Nazi invasion. His gut-wrenching portrayal is the traumatized soul of the movie.

Elem Klimov and Larisa Shepitko

Born into a communist family on July 9, 1933, Elem Klimov's parents constructed his first name as an acronym of Engels, Lenin, and Marx. In his 70 years, Elem Klimov made only five films: "Welcome, or No Trespassing" (1964), "The Adventures of a Dentist" (1965), "Agony" (1975) and "Farewell" (1981). The death of his much beloved filmmaker wife Larisa Shepitko in a car accident in 1979, eventually robbed Klimov of his artistic desire. Made in 1985, "Come and See" was Klimov's astounding final picture that would establish him as a filmic storyteller of untold narrative depth and intuitive sensitivity. The brave performances Klimov inspired in his actors in "Come and See" are in a class beyond any other.

For the film, Klimov fashioned a detailed visual vernacular of dialectic cinematic form. His unique, rigorous narrative format compresses the overwhelming heartbreak of Hitler's War as an earth-shattering visceral experience. We feel the war's many jolts, shocks, and horrors with a force that pries into our bones. By the film's end, we witness a young boy's spirit so terribly ravaged by the horrors of war that he resembles an old man nearing the end of his life.

Elemklimov

When Klimov sat down to write the script with his collaborator Ales Adamovich, the ardently intellectual filmmaker crafted an acutely personal story about a peasant boy who goes to fight against Nazi troops occupying his native Belarus in 1943, after joining up with a ragtag army of partisan soldiers taking shelter in the middle of a wooded area.

Elemklimov

Objectively, "Come and See" is Elem Klimov's brave attempt to cinematically compartmentalize and contextualize his own wartime experiences as a nine-year-old boy escaping the battle of Stalingrad in the company of his mother and baby brother by raft across the burning Volga river while the city collapsed to the ground behind them. 

Klimov said of the indelible event, in relation to "Come and See," "Had I included everything I knew, and shown the whole truth, even I could not have watched it."

Elemklimov

Klimov establishes the narrative's peculiar social parameters with an old man holding a horsewhip while calling for two boys guilty of incessantly "digging."

"Playing a game? Digging? Well, go on digging you little bastards," the old man shouts at the boys. Dig they do.

From the distance we witness what seems to be a short, stout military officer carrying a stick and frothing at the mouth with recriminations for the little old man that he approaches with measured steps. We realize that the apparent military officer is, in fact, one of the little boys — speaking in a raspy fake adult voice, playing his imaginary role as a menacing armed forces commander.

Exasperated, the old man who fathered at least one of the "bastards," gets on his horse and cart, telling his defiant son that if he won't listen to his father then he'll "listen to the cane." Klimov uses the vision of a young boy appearing as an old man to bookend the story as a manifestation of the war's aging effect on its survivors. No one will go unscathed. The once fresh-faced Florya will switch places with his young friend, whose fate falls to Nazi soldiers. Florya's young comrade deliberately chooses to comport himself as a veteran soldier. 

Elemklimov

Florya's smaller companion walks along the beach to find Florya laughing manically at nothing in particular while crouched down in the bushes. We are introduced to Florya as a child not in control of his behavior. There is already some madness present in his manic laughter. Florya is subordinate to his peer, who orders Florya to get back to work "digging." We, the audience, know already that everything is not right with the boys and their surroundings.

Klimov employs a powerful metaphor of the boys attempting to gain escape from the outside world by digging deeper into the earth. The oddly naturalistic scene exerts a primal human motivation at odds with the noisy warplanes that pass overhead.

Buried in the sand up to his shoulders, Florya struggles with both arms to pull something from under the sand — it appears as if an unseen monster is swallowing up the innocent boy, attempting to drag him to the depths of hell. After much struggle, Florya excitedly extracts a prized rifle that he believes will give him entree into joining a partisan troop of soldiers so that he can help battle Hitler's rampaging armies.     

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A German recon warplane flies overhead to the sound of German radio-broadcast propaganda. Klimov will reuse the same archive footage of the bomber plane many times over during the course of the film as a repeating motif of deadly menace from above. The authentic historical reference contributes to an unrelenting rhythm of sudden violence and brutal spatial dilemmas that come at asymmetrical angles throughout the film. We are submersed helplessly into Florya's dark journey with an all-consuming involuntary commitment.

Aleksey Kravchenko

The endemic breakdown of family and society is confirmed in the next scene where Florya's frantic mother pleas directly to Klimov's empathetic camera for her son to take the axe that she places in his hands. She begs her son to kill her and her twin daughters rather than abandon the family to certain death at the hands of the enemy. Better to die at the hands of a family member than to suffer torture and death from the Nazis. Florya's peasant mother is disconsolate as she beats him with a bundle of rope, refusing to allow him to leave. But Florya is immune to his mother's panic. He winks at his little sisters while he holds the axe, playing a secret game with them. He still has a fleeting sense of humor that he will soon lose forever. Klimov returns again and again to these formal fourth-wall breaking compositions that incite the viewer to question our own emotional and intellectual connection to the horrible struggle of empathetic characters we relate to more as family members than as mere victims of war.

Two protestant soldiers peer in through the family's window before entering the home to take Florya to join a nearby regiment of soldiers. It is the last time that we will feel any sense of home or normal life in the film. The soldiers' politeness turns abruptly to that of menacing authority figures taking Florya with them as a willing prisoner.

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In the military camp, Florya meets a lovely but deranged teenaged girl named Glasha (disconcertingly played by Olga Mironova). It would be the only film role that Mironova would ever play. The wild-eyed stare of her steel-gray eyes makes Glasha as much of a potential monster as that of a would-be love interest for Florya to gravitate toward. Her sensuality and charisma is undeniable. That Glasha, dressed in a pretty green party dress, is carrying on an affair with the troop's boorish military chief only momentarily distracts from the extent of her mental instability. Inasmuch as we subjectively bestow sanity to the Partisan group's leader, Glasha is already a casualty of war. There is a contagious insanity in the air that infiltrates every character that Klimov introduces. Even nature seems to be in revolt.

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The film's first act closes with a group photograph of the ragtag troop that provides a formal tableau of thick narrative subtext — witness a wounded soldier bandaged like a mummy and a black female cow with "Eat me before the Germans do," written in white on its side. Desperation is the coin of the day.

Upon their departure, the ragtag troop abandons the young boy that the military chief has quietly deemed unsuitable for the demands of battle. Florya's inconsolable anguish at being deserted by his surrogate family boils to a breaking point when he accidentally steps on a nest of eggs, killing the tiny birds in a glimpse of nature made horribly grotesque by his unavoidable human brutality. It's this violent and immediate style of detailed poetic storytelling that grips you and drags at your senses with an inescapable urgency of survival. Klimov's precise use of graphic symbolism will steadily increase to a fever pitch in the film's stunning postmodern climax where a backward moving collage collapses Hitler's Pandora's box of death and the war that determines Florya's survival.

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The soldiers also abandon Glasha, whose sole purpose was sex. The two adolescent refugees cry into each other's eyes in a heartbreaking expression of raw emotion that Klimov captures with extended fourth-wall-breaking close-ups that intuitively editorialize on their fragile mental states. Florya recognizes Glasha's strange psychosis, but is unable to evade her spell. The pity that the soldiers take on the pair, by leaving them behind, backfires when a rash of falling German artillery shells permanently robs Florya of his hearing. The bombings are especially shocking for their violent realism that arrives suddenly with large swaths of forest ripped apart by earthquaking explosions accompanied by a high-pitched ringing that destroys Florya's hearing with tinnitus and wrecks his conscious mind.  

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Klimov utilizes Florya's sensory deprivation with a twisted soundscape that indoctrinates us into Florya's pain and panic via a claustrophobic sonic space that increases our sense of being badly wounded. The next morning, Florya and Glasha frolic in the rain in a brief reverie where they momentarily forget the impending danger that awaits them. Under the muted sounds of sped up radio music, Glasha does an impromptu Charleston-styled flapper dance atop Florya's rain-soaked suitcase.

Comeandsee

There's a dreamlike quality to the couple's short-lived musical respite before an outlandish pelican-type bird conveys an unnerving omen of unexplained incidents to follow. Wild animal life will play an important part of the image system filigree that Klimov uses to regularly connect the story to its ecological foundation in the rugged landscape of war-torn Belarus. 

Florya and troops

Klimov is commanding in his willingness to create abstract visual motifs, as when Florya returns to his mother's house with Glasha as his partner. He peers at his reflection down in a well while looking for his family. We view Florya through the back end of an organic cinematic telescope through which he sees himself. His sense of personal recognition is all but lost. Florya doesn't see the mangled bloody bodies of his family and neighbors piled high against the backside of what was once his family's home. Glasha looks back and views the carnage as they walk away from the area but refrains from alerting Florya to the horror behind them for fear of his potential reaction.

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Florya runs into a thick muddy swamp that he is compelled to cross, believing that his family is hiding on a small island that he must trudge through quicksand-like mud to get to. Glasha follows Florya into the mud. She holds onto the back of his coat as the young couple painfully make their way through the thick brown sludge. Klimov layers on subdued layers of musical textures and ambient sound to weave a theme of self-flagellation as assisted by Belarusia's uncontrolled topography that threatens to swallow up our protagonist and his mentally devastated female companion.

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Glasha betrays Florya the first chance she gets when a Belarusian peasant helps her escape the mud. The traumatized Glasha loudly explains that Florya's family was killed, and that now he is deaf and out of his mind. Through his muted hearing, Florya hears Glasha's cruel words. He reacts with a pained cry that fully expresses a depth of agony that imprints the film with an indelible image of victimization. Moments later, Florya will be led by peasants to the badly burned body of his friend's father, who speaks his last words about how he begged the Germans that set him on fire to kill him. A crowd of desperate peasants chant under Klimov's soundscape of blowing wind. Florya sees a trench coat-dressed effigy of Hitler with a human skull head that the peasants put clay on to make more lifelike. A group cut off Florya's hair before burying it as part of a cleansing ritual that reinvents the traumatized Florya as a walking ghost. 

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In the film's unpredictable third act Florya becomes a roaming independent soldier with a knack for barely escaping Nazi attacks. Florya's participation in expediting the extermination of a cornered group of Nazis by handing a gasoline filled can to a Nazi collaborator, is as suggestive an act as it is a literal one, for the Belarusian peasants will open fire on the Nazis before the fuel is ignited. Florya gains an historic perspective of Hitler that knows only annihilation. His hatred and fury seeks to eradicate the world of Adolph Hitler and his armies with severe prejudice. With his brain and body irreversibly changed, Florya has become the only thing that he will ever be capable of being for the rest of his life, a horribly disfigured soldier. 

Come_and_see

"Come and See" won the Moscow Film Festival's Grand Prize in 1985. Afterward, Elem Klimov was elected as first secretary of the Soviet Filmmakers' Union. During his two years on the post, Klimov oversaw the release of more than a hundred previously banned Soviet films. Elem Klimov went on to struggle with the idea of creating a film version of Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita," and with making a film adaptation of Dostoevsky's "The Devils." However, in 2000, he gave up filmmaking because he felt that he had done "everything that was possible." The visionary Soviet filmmaker died on October 26, 2003 of cerebral hypoxia.

Elemklimov

Elem Klimov left behind a war film that accomplishes everything possible in cinema, and in so doing reinvents it. It eclipses every other war film by such a wide margin that there is no reason or impetus to watch any other. Come and see.

I first saw "Come and See" at the 1998 San Francisco Film Festival on advice from a pal who informed me that it was Sean Penn's favorite film. I can certainly see why Sean Penn feels the way he does about this brilliant movie.

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Criterion's stunning 2K digital restoration on Blu-ray gives "Come and See" the beauty that this remarkable 142 minute film deserves. The disc includes interviews and documentary films that shed further light on "Come and See." It is truly a must-own Blu-ray for cinephiles and movie lovers alike.

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

July 08, 2019

NEW BEVERLY PODCAST —Tarantino Tells Films to See Before July 26th

Cinema is dead. Good thing then that we have Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood" to serve as our mutual cinematic memorial service. QT says this is his last film. There's your proof that Cinema is truly over. I'll never forget meeting Quentin by the press lockers in the Palais in Cannes the day after the premiere of "Reservoir Dogs." I'd slept in my tux the night before when I shook T's hand and told him how his movie had kicked my ass. He said, "that's exactly what I wanted to hear."

Quentin was generous enough to record a three-hour podcast for his L.A. cinema The New Beverly. Check it out! 

QT on Set

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a bunch pal!

 

October 23, 2018

NOVEMBER PROGRAMMING ON THE CRITERION CHANNEL ON FILMSTRUCK!

       
 
NOVEMBER PROGRAMMING ON THE CRITERION CHANNEL ON FILMSTRUCK!
 
Includes Danny Boyle's Trainspottingnew restoration of David Byrne's True Stories, and Adventures in Moviegoing with Paul Dano.
 
Thursday, November 1
From the Archives: Trainspotting
Danny Boyle's electrifying 1996 adaptation of the cult novel by Irvine Welsh is a heady tour through Edinburgh's scuzzy 1980s underground, where Renton, an aimless young man, bounces from heroin highs to desperate lows as he tries, fails, and tries again to get his life on track. Starring Ewan McGregor in his breakout role and set to an iconic soundtrack that jumps from Iggy Pop and Brian Eno to Pulp and Primal Scream, Trainspotting is a rush of audacious, hyperinventive filmmaking. Released by the Criterion Collection only as a laserdisc, the film is presented here along with that edition's audio commentary, recorded in London in 1996 and featuring Boyle, McGregor, producer Andrew Macdonald, and screenwriter John Hodge.
Expires April 12, 2019
 
Friday, November 2
Friday Night Double Feature: Day of Wrath and The Devils
Carl Theodor Dreyer and Ken Russell conjure radically divergent visions of seventeenth-century mass hysteria in these tales of witchcraft, paranoia, and persecution. Made during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, Dreyer's Day of Wrath (1943) is a transcendent parable of totalitarian oppression exquisitely filmed with the director's signature austerity. On the other end of the stylistic spectrum, mad genius Ken Russell goes over-the-top bonkers in The Devils (1971), a delirious saga of demonic possession and sexual frenzy in a French convent that was censored around the world for its graphic, sacrilegious imagery. Despite their contrasting aesthetics, both films are searing statements on power and its abuse.
The Devils expires December 28, 2018
 
Monday, November 5
Adventures in Moviegoing with Paul Dano
In the latest episode of the Channel-exclusive guest-programmer series Adventures in Moviegoing, actor and Wildlife director Paul Dano revisits the films that have shaped him as an artist both in front of and behind the camera. Dano sheds light on his evolution from performer to acclaimed filmmaker by way of a conversation that touches upon revelatory viewings of classics by Robert Bresson, Yasujiro Ozu, and Jean-Pierre Melville; his experiences working with contemporary auteurs like Paul Thomas Anderson; and the reasons why movies about families resonate so strongly with him.
 
Monday, November 5
Shorts for Days: Women Auteurs
The first installment of this new series-which presents monthly programs of short films, each curated around a different theme-brings together early works by path-breaking artists working out the themes and aesthetics they would further explore in their celebrated features. Teen angst fuels both Sofia Coppola's first film, Lick the Star (1998), a stylish, punk rock-inflected forerunner to The Virgin Suicides, and Chantal Akerman's debut, Saute ma ville (1968), a blistering, anti-domestic yowl that laid the groundwork for her feminist landmark Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The complex family dynamics Jane Campion would investigate in Sweetie and The Piano are fully present in her enigmatic An Exercise in Discipline: Peel (1982), while Andrea Arnold displays her distinctive poetic-realist eye in her devastating, Academy Award-winning international breakthrough, Wasp (2003). Finally, Uncle Yanco (1967) is vintage Agnès Varda: a wonderfully sunny, bohemian documentary made during her California period.
 
Tuesday, November 6
Tuesday's Short + Feature: Kaiju Bunraku* and Mothra vs. Godzilla
Japan's second-most famous movie monster, Mothra, strikes twice in this fantastical pairing. Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva's psychedelic short Kaiju Bunraku (2017) blends traditional Japanese puppet theater and monster-movie mayhem into a feverishly original, surprisingly poignant tale of marital conflict. It screens with Ishiro Honda's 1964 kaiju classic Mothra vs. Godzilla, in which the winged avenger goes up against the King of the Monsters. The first-and perhaps finest-in a long line of films pitting Toho's iconic beasts against one another, it's a prime showcase for the studio's wildly imaginative creature effects and epically entertaining battle sequences.
*Premiering on the Channel this month. 
 
Wednesday, November 7
Day for Night: Edition #769
This affectionate farce from François Truffaut about the joys and strife of moviemaking is one of his most beloved films. Truffaut himself appears as the harried director of a frivolous melodrama, the shooting of which is plagued by the whims of a neurotic actor (Jean-Pierre Léaud), an aging but still forceful Italian diva (Valentina Cortese), and a British ingenue haunted by personal scandal (Jacqueline Bisset). An irreverent paean to the prosaic craft of cinema as well as a delightful human comedy about the pitfalls of sex and romance, Day for Night (1973) is buoyed by robust performances and a sparkling score by the legendary Georges Delerue. Supplemental features: A visual essay by filmmaker kogonada, interviews with cast and crew members, archival footage of Truffaut on the set, and more.
Expires December 28, 2018
 
Friday, November 9
Friday Night Double Feature: Rendez-vous and Clouds of Sils Maria
Juliette Binoche's evolution from breakout star to world-cinema icon is mirrored neatly by her roles in this week's double feature. In 1985, Binoche burst onto the scene with her fearless, César-nominated performance as an aspiring actor ruthlessly chasing stardom in André Téchiné's dark backstage drama Rendez-vous, coscripted by Olivier Assayas. Three decades later, Assayas directed Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)--a kind of spiritual companion to Rendez-vous in which she plays a renowned, middle-aged actor plagued by insecurity as she prepares to star opposite an up-and-coming Hollywood ingenue in a remake of the film that originally launched her career.
 
Tuesday, November 13
Tuesday's Short + Feature: Mammy Water and A River Called Titas
Master filmmakers chronicle the everyday dramas and rituals of ancient fishing communities in these far-flung investigations of vanishing ways of life. In his dynamic 1953 short Mammy Water, pioneering documentarian-anthropologist Jean Rouch travels to a village on the Gulf of Guinea, where inhabitants honor the water spirits with elaborate ceremonies and daring "surf boys" head out to sea on multi-day canoe excursions. Then, Bengali auteur Ritwik Ghatak portrays the interlacing lives of fishermen and villagers residing on the banks of Bangladesh's Titas River in his magisterial epic A River Called Titas (1973), which poignantly captures a society's disappearing traditions in gorgeous, painterly images.
Mammy Water expires January 4, 2019
 
Wednesday, November 14
Dheepan*: Edition #871
With this Palme d'Or-winning drama, which deftly combines seemingly disparate genres, French filmmaker Jacques Audiard cemented his status as a titan of contemporary world cinema. In an arresting performance, the nonprofessional actor Antonythasan Jesuthasan (himself a former child soldier) stars as a Tamil fighter who, along with a woman and a child posing as his wife and daughter, flees war-torn Sri Lanka only to land in a Paris suburb blighted by drugs. As the makeshift family embarks on a new life, Dheepan (2015) settles into an intimate social-realist mode before tightening into a dynamic turf-war thriller, as well as an unsettling study of the psychological aftereffects of combat. Searing and sensitive, Audiard's film is a unique depiction of the refugee experience as a continuous crisis of identity. Supplemental features: audio commentary featuring Audiard and coscreenwriter Noé Debré, interviews with Audiard and Jesuthasan, and deleted scenes.
*Premiering on the Channel this month. 

Friday, November 16
Friday Night Double Feature: Coma and Dead Ringers
The bill isn't the scariest thing about going to the doctor in these skin-crawling medical shockers from Michael Crichton and David Cronenberg, both featuring stand-out performances from Geneviève Bujold. In Crichton's 1978 sci-fi thriller Coma, she plays a surgeon who discovers disturbing goings-on at a Boston hospital-staffed by a cast that includes Michael Douglas, Richard Widmark, and Rip Torn-where patients keep mysteriously going brain-dead. Meanwhile, Cronenberg's 1988 body-horror classic Dead Ringers casts Bujold as an actress who unleashes a psychosexual maelstrom when she comes between a pair of identical-twin gynecologists, played by Jeremy Irons in a diabolical double role.
Expires February 22, 2019
 
Monday, November 19
Guillermo del Toro Presents: The Night of the Hunter
As a guest curator on the Channel-exclusive series Adventures in Moviegoing, Guillermo del Toro, the Oscar-winning director of Pan's Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, introduces Charles Laughton's 1955 masterpiece The Night of the Hunter. The renowned actor's only film as a director stars Robert Mitchum in a performance of towering menace as an ex-con turned sham preacher who terrorizes a widow (Shelley Winters) and her two children. Steeped in southern-gothic atmosphere and shot in striking, expressionist style by the great Stanley Cortez, the film has the dreamlike air of a sinister fairy tale, marking it as a forerunner to del Toro's similarly dark, fable-like fantasies.
Expires May 17, 2019
 
Tuesday November 20
Tuesday's Short + Feature: Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke* and La Jetée
Chris Marker's radically influential science-fiction classic is paired with a gonzo reimagining of its premise. Composed almost entirely of still images, Marker's La Jetée (1963) voyages through history and memory to evoke a time traveler's recollections of a pre-apocalyptic world. In Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke (2012), directors Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva - of Miami's celebrated indie-film collective Borscht Corporation - offer an outré spin on Marker's masterpiece. Starring Luther Campbell- aka 2 Live Crew's Luke Skyywalker-- this festival hit combines rainbow-colored animation, cartoonish live action sequences, and archival footage as it traipses through the hip-hop legend's memories and musings.
*Premiering on the Channel this month. 
 
Tuesday, November 20
True Stories*: Edition #951
Music icon David Byrne was inspired by tabloid headlines to make his sole foray into feature-film directing, an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life and a distillation of what was in his own idiosyncratic mind. The Talking Heads front man plays a visitor to Virgil, Texas, who introduces us to the citizens of the town during preparations for its Celebration of Specialness. As shot by cinematographer Ed Lachman, Texas becomes a hyperrealistic late-capitalist landscape of endless vistas, shopping malls, and prefab metal buildings. In True Stories (1986), Byrne uses his songs to stitch together pop iconography, voodoo rituals, and a singular variety show-all in the service of uncovering the rich mysteries that lurk under the surface of everyday experience. Supplemental features: a documentary about the film's production, deleted scenes, an homage to the town of Virgil, Texas, and more.
*Premiering on the Channel this month.
Expires December 28, 2018
 
Friday, November 23
Friday Night Double Feature: Les dames du Bois de Boulogne and Dangerous Liaisons
Sexual and psychological gamesmanship is the order of the day in these stylish, high-society-set tales of revenge based on classics of eighteenth-century French literature. The second feature made by Robert Bresson, Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) is an atypical masterwork in the director's oeuvre. Featuring dialogue by Jean Cocteau (adapting Denis Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist) and surprisingly opulent visuals, it tells the story of a spurned aristocrat who gets even with her ex-lover by orchestrating his affair with a prostitute. Similarly, Glenn Close is a scheming marquise spinning a web of erotic manipulation in Stephen Frears's deliciously decadent 1988 adaption of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' classic novel Dangerous Liaisons, acted to the hilt by a cast that includes John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, and Keanu Reeves.
Dangerous Liaisons expires December 28, 2018
 
Tuesday, November 27
Tuesday's Short + Feature: Sea Devil* and Dheepan*
The struggles of refugees are powerfully portrayed in these visceral looks at what happens when the dream of escaping to a better life becomes a harrowing fight to survive. Directed by Dean C. Marcial and Brett Potter of Miami's acclaimed Borscht Corporation, Sea Devil (2014) is a surreal, horror-laced allegory in which a father and daughter fleeing Cuba encounter something unsettling lurking at the bottom of the ocean. In his gripping 2015 Palme d'Or winner Dheepan, director Jacques Audiard traces the journey of a Tamil fighter who trades civil unrest in Sri Lanka for simmering violence on the streets of Paris.
*Premiering on the Channel this month. 
 
Wednesday, November 28
The Awful Truth: Edition #917
In this Oscar-winning farce, Cary Grant (in the role that first defined the Cary Grant persona) and Irene Dunne exude charm, cunning, and artless affection as an urbane couple who, fed up with each other's infidelities, resolve to file for divorce. But try as they might to move on, the mischievous Jerry can't help meddling in Lucy's ill-matched engagement to a corn-fed Oklahoma businessman (Ralph Bellamy), and a mortified Lucy begins to realize that she may be saying goodbye to the only dance partner capable of following her lead. Directed by the versatile Leo McCarey, a master of improvisation and slapstick as well as a keen and sympathetic observer of human folly, The Awful Truth (1937) is a warm but unsparing comedy about two people whose flaws only make them more irresistible. Supplemental features: an interview with critic Gary Giddins, a video essay on Grant's performance, a radio adaptation of the film starring Grant and Claudette Colbert, and more.
Expires May 24, 2019
 
Thursday, November 29
Observations on Film Art No. 25: Nonlinear Narrative- Lydia and the Power of Flashbacks
Julien Duvivier's haunting, exquisitely bittersweet 1941 romance Lydia stars Merle Oberon as an elderly woman who recalls her youthful relationships with three men-memories that unfold in intricate, subjective flashback sequences that were nearly unprecedented in early 1940s Hollywood (the film was released a mere two weeks after the similarly structured Citizen Kane). In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, a Channel-exclusive series that offers viewers a monthly dose of film school, Professor David Bordwell illuminates how this unsung melodrama helped redefine the art of cinematic flashbacks as we know them today and how the film's creative nonlinearity enhances its sublime emotional impact.
 
Friday, November 30
Friday Night Double Feature: Meantime and This Is England*
The desperation and rebellion of Thatcher-era England are vividly evoked in this week's double feature. One of the greatest of the pioneering films Mike Leigh made for British television, the darkly funny Meantime (1984) stars Tim Roth as an alienated East Londoner grappling with unemployment and ennui opposite Gary Oldman (in his first major role) as a nigh-psychotic skinhead. While Leigh's film reflects the turmoil of the era in which it was made, Shane Meadows' hard-hitting cult classic This Is England (2006) meticulously recreates 1980s Britain via a moving coming-of-age story to take stock of how the skinhead underground evolved from a working-class movement rooted in ska and West Indian culture to an emblem of white nationalism.
*Premiering on the Channel this month. 
This Is England expires May 29, 2019
 
Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:
 
November 6
Kaiju Bunraku, Lucas Leyva and Jillian Mayer, 2017
 
November 14
Dheepan, Jacques Audiard, 2015
 
November 20
Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, Lucas Leyva and Jillian Mayer, 2012
True Stories, David Byrne, 1986
 
November 27
Sea Devil, Brett Potter and Dean C. Marcial, 2014
 
November 30
This is England, Shane Meadows, 2006
 
ABOUT THE CRITERION CHANNEL ON FILMSTRUCK
 
The Criterion Channel offers the largest streaming collection of Criterion films available, including classic and contemporary films from around the world, interviews and conversations with filmmakers and never-before-seen programming. The channel's weekly calendar features complete Criterion editions, thematic retrospectives, live events, short films, and select contemporary features, along with exclusive original programming that aims to enhance the Criterion experience for the brand's dedicated fans as well as expanding its reach to new audiences. It is presented as part of FilmStruck, a subscription streaming service that is the exclusive home of the Warner Bros. classic film library and the Criterion Collection. FilmStruck was developed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and is managed by TCM in partnership with Warner Bros. and the Criterion Collection.

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