AUGUST PROGRAMMING ON THE CRITERION CHANNEL
Includes the Pre-Code films of Barbara Stanwyck, Jackie Chan’s Police Story and Police Story 2, directed by Frank Borzage, a tribute to Jonas Mekas and more
Wednesday, August 14
Heart of a Dog: Criterion Collection Edition #846
Heart of a Dog marks the first feature film in thirty years by multimedia artist Laurie Anderson. A cinematic tone poem that flows from a sustained meditation on death and other forms of absence, the film seamlessly weaves together thoughts on Tibetan Buddhism, reincarnation, the modern surveillance state, and the artistic lives of dogs, with an elegy for the filmmaker’s beloved rat terrier, Lolabelle, at its heart. Narrated by Anderson with her characteristic wry wit, and featuring a plaintive, free-form score by the filmmaker, the tender and provocative Heart of a Dog continues Anderson’s four-and-a-half-decade career of imbuing the everyday with a sense of dreamlike wonder. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A conversation between Laurie Anderson and coproducer Jake Perlin, footage of Anderson’s 2016 Concert for Dogs, deleted scenes, and more.
Thursay, August 15
Three by Frank Borzage
Featuring a new introduction by critic Farran Smith Nehme
Golden-age Hollywood’s great romanticist, Frank Borzage directed over one hundred films in a career that stretched from 1913 to 1961. Renowned for his sensitive touch, humanist sincerity, and unparalleled ability to cast a spell of dreamy eroticism, his films are ecstatic paeans to exalted love frequently informed by his pacifist worldview. Made at the height of Borzage’s powers, these early jewels—a swooning Depression-era love story starring Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young, a deliriously romantic Hemingway adaptation, and a unique and unforgettable antiwar allegory—are among the master director’s finest works.
A Farewell to Arms, 1932
Man’s Castle, 1933
No Greater Glory, 1934
Friday, August 16
Double Feature: Lovers and Bullfighters
Blancanieves and Talk to Her
Swirling 1920s cinema, fairy-tale lore, and a healthy dose of surrealism into a spellbinding cinematic potion, Pablo Berger’s sumptuous 2012 black-and-white silent film Blancanieves reimagines the story of Snow White with a bullfighting heroine and a band of toreador dwarfs. Its brand of dizzying melodrama is not too far removed from the deliriously over-the-top sensibility of fellow Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar, whose masterful Talk to Her—an audacious soap opera about two comatose women and the men who love them—similarly features matadors, inflamed passions, and its own outrageously Freudian silent film homage.
Saturday, August 17
Saturday Matinee: The Three Musketeers
Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, and Frank Finlay step into the knee-high boots of Alexandre Dumas’s iconic swashbucklers in this boisterous take on the adventure classic, in which the heroic trio take Michael York’s country-bumpkin swordsman D’Artagnan under their wing. Infused with the same freewheeling spirit that director Richard Lester brought to his Beatles classics A Hard Day’s Night and Help! (indeed the film was originally planned as a vehicle for the Fab Four), The Three Musketeers combines rousing action, period spectacle, and rumbustious humor into what is often cited as the all-time best screen adaptation of the beloved tale.
Sunday, August 18
Pre-Code Barbara Stanwyck
With a new introduction featuring film scholar Catherine Russell and critic Imogen Sara Smith
Brassy yet vulnerable, tough but tender, equally adept at drama, comedy, and romance: Barbara Stanwyck had an edgy, refreshingly naturalistic screen presence that made her a perfect star for the early sound era, when sex, sin, and vice were splashed across the screen with abandon, as yet unrestrained by the strictures of the Hays code. Her Brooklyn-bred authenticity and remarkable versatility made her a favorite of major directors like Frank Capra, who cast her as a charlatan preacher in The Miracle Womanand as the sympathetic “other woman” in Forbidden, and William A. Wellman, who directed her in the risqué romp Night Nurse and the Edna Ferber family drama So Big!These films—along with jaw-droppers like Baby Face and Ladies They Talk About—showcase the thoroughly modern quality that would make Stanwyck one of classic Hollywood’s most beloved and enduring screen legends.
Ladies of Leisure, Frank Capra, 1930
Night Nurse, William A. Wellman, 1931
The Miracle Woman, Frank Capra, 1931
Illicit, Archie Mayo, 1931
Forbidden, Frank Capra, 1932
So Big!, William A. Wellman, 1932
The Purchase Price, William A. Wellman, 1932
Baby Face, Alfred E. Green, 1933
Ever in My Heart, Archie Mayo, 1933
Ladies They Talk About, William Keighley and Howard Bretherton, 1933
Gambling Lady, Archie Mayo, 1934
Monday, August 19
Police Story/Police Story 2: Criterion Collection Edition #971/972
The jaw-dropping set pieces fly fast and furious in Jackie Chan’s breathtakingly inventive action comedies, two smash hits that made him a worldwide icon of daredevil spectacle. The director/star/one-man stunt machine plays Ka-kui, a Hong Kong police inspector whose methods are, ahem, unorthodox; the phenomenal Maggie Cheung, in a star-making role, plays his much-put-upon girlfriend, May. Packed wall-to-wall with astoundingly acrobatic fight choreography, epic explosions, charmingly goofball slapstick, and awesomely 1980s electro soundtracks, Police Story and Police Story 2 set a new standard for rock-’em, sock-’em mayhem that established Chan as a performer of unparalleled grace and daring and would influence a generation of filmmakers, from Hong Kong to Hollywood. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Alternate English-dubbed soundtracks; a conversation between Jackie Chan and filmmaker Edgar Wright; excerpts from Jackie Chan: My Stunts, a 1999 documentary codirected by Chan; and more.
Tuesday, August 20
Short and Feature: Women’s Pictures
You Can’t Do Everything at Once, But You Can Leave Everything at Once and One Sings, the Other Doesn’t
Unfolding in a kaleidoscopic rush of free-associative archival footage, Marie-Elsa Sgualdo’s You Can’t Do Everything at Once, But You Can Leave Everything at Once charts her family’s history through the shared and divergent experiences of her mother and herself from the prewar years to the dawning of feminism. As a document of the female experience it makes for a perfect companion to Agnès Varda’s One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, a luminous pastel dream musical that traces the journeys of two activists and their changing relationships to each other and their bodies over the course of the women’s movement.
Wednesday, August 21
Meet the Filmmakers: Athina Rachel Tsangari
“Since I don’t do psychoanalysis, I do cinema,” explains Athina Rachel Tsangari, who, over the last decade, has become one of the foremost figures of the so-called “Greek Weird Wave”—a movement characterized by its fascination with human behavior, bitingly absurdist humor, and arresting visual style—both as a director and as a producer for contemporaries such as Yorgos Lanthimos. Her films, however, showcase a bold vision that goes way beyond the merely “weird,” offering a provocative perspective on family, sexuality, power dynamics, and the inherent strangeness of human interaction. In this edition of Meet the Filmmakers, David Thompson travels to the Greek island of Hydra to meet up with Tsangari and discuss her directorial philosophy and what it means to “live cinema.”
Fit, 1994
The Slow Business of Going, 2000
Attenberg, 2010
The Capsule, 2012
24 Frames Per Century, 2013
Chevalier, 2015
Thursday, August 22
Three by André Téchiné
One of the most unjustly overlooked giants of contemporary French cinema, André Téchiné began his career—like many of his New Wave forebears—as a critic for the esteemed Cahiers du cinéma before making the leap to filmmaking in the late sixties. Since then, he has emerged as a master of emotionally intricate dramas that explore sexuality, race relations, recent French history, and the complexities of human connection. This sampler trio—featuring the sultry neo-noir Rendez-vous (starring Juliette Binoche in her star-making role), the deeply personal queer coming-of-age saga Wild Reeds, and the urgent AIDS drama The Witnesses—displays Téchiné’s artistic evolution over the course of three decades of his remarkable career.
Rendez-vous, 1985
Wild Reeds, 1994
The Witnesses, 2007
Thursday, August 22
Diary of a Country Priest: Criterion Collection Edition #222
A new priest (Claude Laydu) arrives in the French country village of Ambricourt to attend to his first parish. The apathetic and hostile rural congregation rejects him immediately. Through his diary entries, the suffering young man relays a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from the village and from God. With his fourth film, Robert Bresson began to implement his stylistic philosophy as a filmmaker, stripping away all inessential elements from his compositions, the dialogue and the music, exacting a purity of image and sound. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie.
Friday, August 23
Double Feature: Bon Voyage Blues
Unrelated and The Green Ray
Featuring an interview with Unrelated director Joanna Hogg
Two women search for human connection in sunnier climes in these quietly revelatory tales of summertime ennui and self-discovery. Heralding the arrival of one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary British cinema, Joanna Hogg’s feature debut Unrelated follows a discontented middle-aged woman as she leaves her husband behind for a trip to Italy where hedonism and melancholy mingle in sun-dappled Tuscany. With their blend of light-filled naturalism and casually profound insights into the human condition, the films of Eric Rohmer have been cited by Hogg as a key influence, and his masterpiece The Green Ray concerns a similarly adrift young woman attempting to restart her life during a transformative solo holiday on the coast of France.
Saturday, August 24
Saturday Matinee: The Triplets of Belleville
Sylvain Chomet’s wondrous homage to antique animation blends Jazz Age whimsy with retina-tickling surrealism for a one-of-a-kind, Oscar-nominated confection. When her cyclist grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, the intrepid Madame Souza embarks on a madcap quest to the city of Belleville, where she joins forces with a trio of scat-singing faded flappers to rescue him. Achieving its stunning visuals through a mix of hand-drawn and computer animation, The Triplets of Belleville conjures an anything-goes universe where canine dreams, musical vacuum cleaners, and man-eating tap shoes are all part of the fun.
Sunday, August 25
British Hitchcock
Featuring a documentary on Alfred Hitchcock’s early career
Before he took Hollywood by storm, Alfred Hitchcock was already renowned as a master stylist and storyteller in his native Britain, where he was perhaps the leading director of the late silent and early sound eras. Strongly influenced by German Expressionism, Hitchcock’s silent films are triumphs of visual invention, pushing the medium to new expressive heights in works like The Lodger, his atmospheric take on the Jack the Ripper tale, and the sparkling comedy Champagne. With his first sound film Blackmail, Hitchcock kicked off a run of early masterpieces including the train-set mystery The Lady Vanishes,the man-on-the-run thriller The 39 Steps, and the underrated nail-biter Sabotage.Foreshadowing many of the themes and tropes he would rework obsessively throughout his American career, Hitchcock’s British films display the keen psychological insight, dazzling stylistic innovation, dark wit, and virtuoso set-pieces that would earn him the moniker “the Master of Suspense.”
Downhill, 1927
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, 1927
Champagne, 1928
Blackmail, 1929
Murder!, 1930
The Skin Game, 1931
Rich and Strange, 1931
The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1934
The 39 Steps, 1935
Sabotage, 1936
Young and Innocent, 1937
The Lady Vanishes, 1938
Jamaica Inn, 1939
Monday, August 26
Observations on Film Art No. 30: The Long Take in Shock Corridor
Pitched at screaming, full-throttle intensity, Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor plunges headlong into the delirium of a psych ward, finding in it a daring metaphor for the anxieties consuming early-sixties America, from racism and xenophobia to sexual politics and nuclear paranoia. In this episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor Jeff Smith explores how Fuller and his cinematographer, the great Stanley Cortez, make use of dynamic long takes to enhance the film’s searing social critique and shattering psychological impact.
Tuesday, August 27
Short + Feature: There’s a Riot Goin’ On
Sacrilège and La haine
Two immigrant communities are rocked to their core in these gut-punching looks at life on the margins on France. Christophe M. Saber’s Sacrilège explores the tenuous bonds that hold a Muslim neighborhood together when one of the community’s leaders is accused of a scandalous crime. Then, tensions boil over further in Mathieu Kassovitz’s La haine, an explosively stylish portrait of French racial unrest in which three defiant young men become caught up in a wave of anti-police protests sweeping the streets of Paris.
Wednesday, August 28
Sweetie: Criterion Collection Edition #356
Though she went on to create a string of brilliant films, Jane Campion will always be remembered for her stunning debut feature, Sweetie, which focuses on the hazardous relationship between the buttoned-down, superstitious Kay and her rampaging, devil-may-care sister, Sweetie—and on their family’s profoundly rotten roots. A feast of colorful photography and captivating, idiosyncratic characters, the tough and tender Sweetieheralded the emergence of this gifted director, as well as a renaissance of Australian cinema, which would take the film world by storm in the nineties. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An audio commentary featuring Jane Campion, cinematographer Sally Bongers, and screenwriter Gerald Lee; three early short films by Campion; a conversation between actors Genevieve Lemon and Karen Colston; and more.
Thursday, August 29
Jonas Mekas
Featuring a tribute to Mekas by filmmaker Jem Cohen
The godfather of American experimental film, Jonas Mekas (1922–2019) dedicated his life to liberating cinema from the constraints of the mainstream, forging his own artistic language in which fleeting, autobiographical impressions of the everyday yield moments of ecstatic truth and beauty. Born in Lithuania, he was displaced by World War II before landing in New York, where he quickly established himself as one of the pillars of the city’s avant-garde scene, becoming a tireless champion of small-gauge, independent filmmaking through his work as a critic, curator, and cofounder of Anthology Film Archives and the influential journal Film Culture. This tribute to a true poetic visionary brings together two of Mekas’s most miraculous diary films—the epic “home movie” Walden and Lost Lost Lost, a reflection on his early years as an immigrant in New York—alongside a selection of his freewheeling shorts.
Walden, Jonas Mekas, 1969
Lost Lost Lost, Jonas Mekas, 1976
Cassis, Jonas Mekas, 1966
Hare Krishna, Jonas Mekas, 1966
Notes on the Circus, Jonas Mekas, 1966
Report from Millbrook, Jonas Mekas, 1966
Travel Songs, Jonas Mekas, 1981
Time & Fortune Vietnam Newsreel, Jonas Mekas, 1968
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Jonas Mekas, 2003
Jonas Mekas in Kodachrome Days, Ken Jacobs, 2009
Friday, August 30
Double Feature: Mysterious Mason
The Wicked Lady and Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
With his silver-toned voice, matinee-idol good looks, and air of brooding mystery, James Mason could play the dashing antihero better than anyone, exuding a dark, troubled sophistication that made him a star in both Britain and Hollywood. He puts his dangerous charm to good use as an ignoble highwayman who embarks on a torrid affair with Margaret Lockwood’s scheming aristocrat in the deliciously lurid pulp melodrama The Wicked Lady. Then he plays a doomed ship’s captain opposite a breathtaking Ava Gardner in the dreamlike romantic fantasy Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, a deliriously stylized slice of Technicolor surrealism stunningly shot by the great Jack Cardiff.
Saturday, August 31
Saturday Matinee: Jungle Book
This Korda brothers film is the definitive version of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of fables. Sabu stars as Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves, who can communicate with all the beasts of the jungle, friend or foe, and who gradually reacclimatizes to civilization with the help of his long-lost mother and a beautiful village girl. Deftly integrating real animals into its fanciful narrative, Jungle Book is a shimmering Technicolor feast, and was nominated for four Oscars, including best cinematography, art direction, special effects, and music.
Complete list of films premiering on the Criterion Channel this month:
24 Frames Per Century, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2013
Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Werner Herzog, 1972
America America, Elia Kazan, 1963
American Gigolo, Paul Schrader, 1980
And You Act Like One Too, Susan Seidelman, 1976
Angst Isst Seele Auf, Shahbaz Noshir, 2002
Aria Diva, Agnieszka Smoczyńska, 2007
Ars, Jacques Demy, 1959
Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010
Baby, D. A. Pennebaker, 1954
Baby Face, Alfred E. Green, 1933
Ballad of the Little Soldier, Werner Herzog, 1984
Beauty and the Devil, René Clair, 1950
Best Offer, Lisa Krueger, 1993
Bezhin Meadow, Sergei Eisenstein, 1937
Black Jack, Ken Loach, 1979
Blackmail, Alfred Hitchcock, 1929
Blancanieves, Pablo Berger, 2012
The Capsule, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2012
Cassis, Jonas Mekas, 1966
A Chairy Tale, Claude Jutra and Norman McLaren, 1957
Champagne, Alfred Hitchcock, 1928
Chevalier, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015
Chiefs, Richard Leacock and Noel E. Parmentel Jr., 1968
Close to Home, Erik Skjoldbjærg, 1994
Cobra Verde, Werner Herzog, 1987
Creative Nonfiction, Lena Dunham, 2009
Crisis, Ingmar Bergman, 1946
Diary of a Country Priest, Robert Bresson, 1951
Diary of Yunbogi, Nagisa Oshima, 1965
Dog, Andrea Arnold, 2001
The Emigrants, Jan Troell, 1971
The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, Werner Herzog, 1974
Entr’acte, René Clair, 1924
Europa—The Faecal Location, Thomas Gislason, 2005
Even Dwarfs Started Small, Werner Herzog, 1970
Ever in My Heart, Archie Mayo, 1933
The Face, Piotr Studzinski, 1966
A Farewell to Arms, Frank Borzage, 1932
The Fat and the Lean, Roman Polanski, 1961
Fata Morgana, Werner Herzog, 1971
Fatherland, George Sikharulidze, 2017
Female Trouble, John Waters, 1974
Fit, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 1994
Fitzcarraldo, Werner Herzog, 1982
For Me and My Gal, Busby Berkely, 1942
Forbidden, Frank Capra, 1932
The Fountain, Lena Dunham, 2007
Gambling Lady, Archie Mayo, 1934
Geometria, Guillermo del Toro, 1987
A Girl’s Own Story, Jane Campion, 1983
Godard 1980, Jon Jost, Donald Ranvaud, and Peter Wollen, 1980
The Hall Runner, Guy Maddin, 2014
Hare Krishna, Jonas Mekas, 1966
Heart of Glass, Werner Herzog, 1976
Hooker on Campus, Lena Dunham, 2007
Illicit, Archie Mayo, 1931
The Immigrant, Charlie Chaplin, 1917
Interlude in the Marshland, Jan Troell, 1965
Jamaica Inn, Alfred Hitchcock, 1939
Jonas Mekas in Kodachrome Days, Ken Jacobs, 2009
L’amour existe, Maurice Pialat, 1960
La luxure, Jacques Demy, 1962
La villa Santo-Sospir, Jean Cocteau, 1951
Ladies of Leisure, Frank Capra, 1930
Ladies They Talk About, Howard Bretherton, 1933
Land of Silence and Darkness, Werner Herzog, 1971
Le coup du berger, Jacques Rivette, 1956
Le sabotier du Val de Loire, Jacques Demy, 1956
Les escargots, Rene Laloux and Roland Topor, 1966
Les horizons morts, Jacques Demy, 1951
Les temps morts, Rene Laloux and Roland Topor, 1965
Lessons of Darkness, Werner Herzog, 1992
Letter to Jane, Jean-Luc Godard, 1972
Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Werner Herzog, 1997
Lost Lost Lost, Jonas Mekas, 1976
Louis Riel for Dinner, Guy Maddin, 2014
M le maudit, Claude Chabrol, 1982
Mammals, Roman Polanski, 1962
The Manchurian Candidate, John Frankenheimer, 1962
Man’s Castle, Frank Borzage, 1933
Manny & Lo, Lisa Krueger, 1996
Marseille, Marcel Pagnol, 1935
Max by Marcel, Marcel Ophuls, 2009
Milk, Andrea Arnold, 1998
The Miracle Woman, Frank Capra, 1931
Murder, Roman Polanski, 1957
Murder!, Alfred Hitchcock, 1930
The Musicians, Kazimierz Karabasz, 1960
My Best Fiend, Werner Herzog
Near Winter, Erik Skjoldbjærg, 1993
The New Land, Jan Troell, 1972
Nice and Friendly, Charlie Chaplin, 1922
A Night in the Show, Charles Chaplin, 1915
Night Nurse, William A. Wellman, 1931
No C4 for Daniel-Daniel, Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and Benoit Poelvoorde, 1989
No Greater Glory, Frank Borzage, 1934
Nosferatu the Vampyre, Werner Herzog, 1979
Notes on the Circus, Jonas Mekas 1966
On purge bébé, Jean Renoir, 1931
Only Dream Things, Guy Maddin, 2012
Open the Door, Lena Dunham, 2007
Paradise: Faith, Ulrich Seidl, 2012**
Paradise: Hope, Ulrich Seidl, 2013**
Paradise: Love, Ulrich Seidl, 2012**
Physical Pinball, David Gordon Green, 1998
Pleasant Grove, David Gordon Green, 1996
Police Story 1, Jackie Chan, 1985
Police Story 2, Jackie Chan, 1988
Pressure, Lena Dunham, 2006
The Purchase Price, William Wellman, 1932
Report from Millbrook, Jonas Mekas, 1966
Rich and Strange, Alfred Hitchcock, 1931
The Rink, Charles Chaplin, 1916
Sacrilège, Christophe M. Saber
Sculptures by Sofu—Vita, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1963
Shall We Go to Your or My, Place or Each Go Home Alone?, Lasse Hallström, 1973
Sinclair, Guy Maddin, 2010
The Skin Game, Alfred Hitchcock, 1931
The Slow Business of Going, Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2000
So Big!, William A. Wellman, 1932
Spanky: To the Pier and Back, Guy Maddin, 2008
Stereo, David Cronenberg, 1969
Stroszek, Werner Herzog, 1977
Teeth Smile, Roman Polanski, 1957
Time and Fortune Vietnam Newsreel, Jonas Mekas, 1969
Trainspotting, Danny Boyle, 1996
Travel Songs, Jonas Mekas, 1981
The Triplets of Belleville, Sylvain Chomet, 2003**
True Stories, David Byrne, 1986
Two Men and a Wardrobe, Roman Polanski, 1958
Viva Maria!, Agnieszka Smoczyńska, 2010
Waiting Women, Ingmar Bergman, 1952
Walden, Jonas Mekas, 1968
When Angels Fall, Roman Polanski, 1959
Where the Green Ants Dream, Werner Herzog, 1984
Wild Reeds, André Téchiné, 1994
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Jonas Mekas, 2003
The Witnesses, André Téchiné, 2007**
Women of the Resistance, Liliana Cavani, 1965
Woyzeck, Werner Herzog, 1979
You Can’t Do Everything at Once, But You Can Leave Everything at Once, Marie-Elsa Sgualdo, 2013
Yours Truly, Andrea G. Stern, Susan Seidelman, 1979
Zorgon: The H-Bomb Beast from Hell, Kevin Feman, 1972
**Not available in Canada
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