Posted Mon Nov 19, 2018 at 09:15 PM PST by Steven Cohen
Ingmar Bergman’s Shame, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, and more are all in the works for Blu-ray.
In an early announcement to retailers, Criterion is preparing Shame, La vérité, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Death in Venice, and To Sleep with Anger for Blu-ray throughout the month of February.
Shame (February 5) - Ingmar Bergman’s Shame is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote island farm, until the civil war that drove them from the city catches up with them there. Amid the chaos of the military struggle, vividly evoked by pyrotechnics and by Sven Nykvist’s handheld camera work, the two are faced with impossible moral choices that tear at the fabric of their relationship. This film, which contains some of the most devastating scenes in Bergman’s oeuvre, shows the impact of war on individual lives.
La vérité (February 12) - Beautiful, troubled Dominique Marceau (Brigitte Bardot) came to bohemian Paris to escape the suffocation of provincial life, only to wind up in a courtroom, accused of a terrible crime: the murder of her lover (Sami Frey). As the trial commences and the lawyers begin tangling over Dominique’s fate, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Oscar-nominated La vérité delves into her past, reconstructing her struggle to find a foothold in the city. What emerges is a nuanced portrait of an impulsive young woman misunderstood and mistreated by those around her, and of her ultimately tragic affair with an up-and-coming conductor. With an astonishing performance by Bardot, Clouzot’s affecting and intricately constructed film—a huge late-career success for the French master—renders a harsh verdict against a hypocritical and moralistic society.
Berlin Alexanderplatz (February 12) - Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s fifteen-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz, based on Alfred Döblin’s great modernist novel, was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made over thirty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Günter Lamprecht) as he attempts to “become an honest soul” amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time.
Death in Venice (February 19) - Based on the classic novella by Thomas Mann, this late-career masterpiece from Luchino Visconti is a meditation on the nature of art, the allure of beauty, and the inescapability of death. A fastidious composer reeling from a disastrous concert, Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde, in an exquisitely nuanced performance) travels to Venice to recover. There, he is struck by a vision of pure beauty in the form of a young boy (Björn Andrésen), his infatuation developing into an obsession even as rumors of a plague spread through the city. Setting Mann’s story of queer desire and bodily decay against the sublime music of Gustav Mahler, Death in Venice is one of cinema’s most exalted literary adaptations, as sensually rich as it is allegorically resonant.
To Sleep with Anger (February 26) - A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, this third feature by Charles Burnett is a singular piece of American mythmaking. In a towering performance, Danny Glover plays the enigmatic southern drifter Harry, a devilish charmer who turns up out of the blue on the South Central Los Angeles doorstep of his old friends. In short order, Harry’s presence turns a seemingly peaceful household upside down, exposing smoldering tensions between parents and children, tradition and change, virtue and temptation. Interweaving evocative strains of gospel and blues with rich, poetic-realist images, To Sleep with Anger is a sublimely stirring film from an autonomous artistic sensibility, a portrait of family resilience steeped in the traditions of black mysticism and folklore.
You can find the latest specs for all of the titles listed above linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where they're indexed throughout February.
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