What are you watching on the Criterion Channel?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Electric, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    Part way through this. Phenomenal!

    The Cremator
    Directed by Juraj Herz • 1969 • Czechoslovakia

    Czechoslovak New Wave iconoclast Juraj Herz’s terrifying, darkly comic vision of the horrors of totalitarian ideologies stars a supremely chilling Rudolf Hrušínský as the pathologically morbid Karel Kopfrkingl, a crematorium manager in 1930s Prague who believes fervently that death offers the only true relief from human suffering. When he is recruited by the Nazis, Kopfrkingl’s increasingly deranged worldview drives him to formulate his own shocking final solution. Blending the blackest of gallows humor with disorienting expressionistic flourishes—queasy point-of-view shots, distorting lenses, jarring quick cuts—the controversial, long-banned masterpiece THE CREMATOR is one of cinema’s most trenchant and disturbing portraits of the banality of evil.

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  2. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    This is great!

    The White Balloon
    Directed by Jafar Panahi • 1995 • Iran
    Starring Aida Mohammadkhani, Mohsen Kafili, Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy

    Jafar Panahi’s revelatory debut feature is a child’s-eye adventure in which a young girl’s quest to buy a goldfish leads her on a detour-filled journey through the streets of Tehran on the eve of the Iranian New Year celebration. Cowritten by Panahi with his mentor Abbas Kiarostami, this beguiling, prizewinning fable unfolds in documentary-like real time as it wrings unexpected comedy, suspense, and wonder from its seemingly simple premise.

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  3. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

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    Out of My Element
    I watched another of the Czech new wave films today since “The Cremator” was so good. “Black Peter” (chosen on a whim since it shares its title with a Grateful Dead song) was not nearly as good - never quite adding up to much, IMO.
     
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  4. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    I haven't seen that one yet and am now distracted by Jafar Panahi, who is/was under house arrest in Iran and banned from making films.
    Jafar Panahi - Wikipedia
     
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  5. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    I've seen "Taxi", which was very good.
     
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  6. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    The Dardenne Brothers are amongst my favorite contemporary filmmakers and this film is another example of why.

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    Young Ahmed
    Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne • 2019 • Belgium, France
    Starring Idir Ben Addi, Olivier Bonnaud, Myriem Akheddiou

    Winner of the best director award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the latest social-realist triumph from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne finds the pair applying their patented brand of heartrendingly empathetic humanism to an explosive subject. Under the sway of his radical imam, Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi, in a revelatory debut performance), a thirteen-year-old Muslim boy growing up in a small Belgian town, becomes increasingly enamored with the tenets of violent religious extremism—a rejection of his family and society that has shocking consequences. Resisting both easy answers and the urge to sensationalize, the Dardenne brothers offer a clear-eyed, grippingly naturalistic portrait of a young life in crisis graced with the expansive compassion that has made them among the most consistently lauded cinematic voices of our time.
     
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  7. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, CANADA
    Another one not available in Canada. Pity.
     
  8. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, CANADA
    Watching this very silly movie. Way, way better than I thought it would be. Actually pretty good. From Ted Kotcheff, the Canadian director who made The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and this is another collaboration with Mordecai Richler.

    Fun with Dick and Jane
    Directed by Ted Kotcheff • 1977 • United States
    Starring George Segal, Jane Fonda, Ed McMahon

    Dick (George Segal) and Jane (Jane Fonda) are an upwardly mobile young couple building a picture-perfect life for themselves. They have an eleven-year-old son named Billy, a dog named Spot, a fine house in the suburbs, and a mailbox crammed with bills. When Dick’s boss (Ed McMahon) lays him off from his job, the two hit upon a most unconventional scheme—armed robbery—in order to maintain their comfortable lifestyle. This wicked satire from director Ted Kotcheff delivers uproarious comic set pieces alongside a barbed takedown of bourgeois values.

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  9. peteham

    peteham Forum Resident

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    Simcoe County
    Saw that with my parents at the cinema.
     
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  10. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    Just watched. What a great director! On to The Mirror tonight.
     
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  11. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    Definitely surprising.

    The Mirror
    Directed by Jafar Panahi • 1997 • Iran
    Starring Mina Mohammad Khani, Aida Mohammadkhani, Kazem Mojdehi

    Iranian master Jafar Panahi explores the interplay of imagination and reality in this slyly inventive meta-film marvel. When her mother is late to pick her up from school, first grader Mina (Mina Mohammad Khani) takes matters into her own hands, navigating the public transportation and bustling traffic of Tehran on a precarious adventure of the everyday. But what begins as a charming child’s-eye portrait of Iranian society soon reveals itself to be something even richer and more surprising, as Panahi turns the conventions of narrative filmmaking inside out.

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  12. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    This is a good story:

    California Typewriter
    Directed by Doug Nichol • 2016 • United States

    A love letter to the analogue pleasures of an increasingly niche technology, this thought-provoking documentary is a rich, affectionate portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse. Featuring interviews with high-profile enthusiasts like Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard, David McCullough, John Mayer, and others, it also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging contraptions clicking. As the digital age’s emphasis on speed and convenience reshapes our relationship to technology, CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER asks us to consider who’s serving whom: human or machine?

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  13. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    I can't wait to see all these again. Been years.

    Four Documentaries by Ron Mann
    Essential records of North America’s pop-culture underground, the documentaries of Ron Mann are deep dives into some of the most vital and often overlooked artistic movements of the twentieth century. Finding offbeat inspiration in the creativity that flourishes outside the mainstream, he has chronicled everything from free jazz (IMAGINE THE SOUND) to modern poetry (POETRY IN MOTION) to comic books (COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL), along the way capturing invaluable interviews with cult luminaries like musicians Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp, writers William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, and cartoonists Jack Kirby and Robert Crumb. Made in the same outsider spirit as the subjects he chronicles, Mann’s films are engagingly idiosyncratic odes to iconoclasts and visionaries bold enough to follow their own muses.

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  14. j.barleycorn

    j.barleycorn Forum Resident

    Watched Comic Book Confidential last night. Believe I saw it when it came out. Far prefer the coverage of the early years, Golden and Silver Age. Wished they had spent more time on those eras. And definitely not enough Jack Kirby screen time.
     
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  15. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
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    Cameraperson
    Criterion Collection Edition #853

    A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home with the director: Kirsten Johnson weaves these scenes and others into her film CAMERAPERSON, a tapestry of footage captured over her twenty-five-year career as a documentary cinematographer. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality with crafted narrative. A work that combines documentary, autobiography, and ethical inquiry, CAMERAPERSON is a moving glimpse into one filmmaker’s personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world.
     
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  16. Tanx

    Tanx Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
     
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  17. j.barleycorn

    j.barleycorn Forum Resident

    The Killers w/ Burt Lancer, Ava Gardner and Edmund O’Brien.

    First time seeing it. Very good noir. The beginning is great. But I don’t think as a whole it’s as great as it’s rep.
     
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  18. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    And, of course:

    Brazil
    Directed by Terry Gilliam • 1985 • United Kingdom
    Starring Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Kim Greist

    In the dystopian masterpiece BRAZIL, Jonathan Pryce plays a daydreaming everyman who finds himself caught in the soul-crushing gears of a nightmarish bureaucracy. This cautionary tale by Terry Gilliam, one of the great films of the 1980s, has come to be esteemed alongside antitotalitarian works by the likes of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And in terms of set design, cinematography, music, and effects, BRAZIL is a nonstop dazzler.

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  19. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    This is some wild ride:

    Burden of Dreams
    Directed by Les Blank • 1982 • United States

    For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, FITZCARRALDO, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made more perilous by Herzog’s determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of native Indians to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded mission of one of cinema’s most fearless directors.

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  20. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    This film conclusive evidence that both Herzog and Kinski are/were clinically insane (not that I hold it against them in the least.) Anyway, terrific film by the great Les Blank, he is absolutely a national treasure.
     
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  21. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    This is so great!

    The Sheltering Sky
    Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci • 1990 • United Kingdom, Italy
    Starring Debra Winger, John Malkovich, Campbell Scott

    Paul Bowles’s haunting novel receives a rich, sensuous adaptation courtesy of master director Bernardo Bertolucci. Looking to rekindle their lost passion, American couple Kit (Debra Winger) and Port Moresby (John Malkovich) venture to the Sahara Desert. Along for the journey is the pair’s friend George Tunner (Campbell Scott), who soon begins an affair with Kit. As they contend with the numbing heat of the desert and the fallout of an unexpected love triangle, the trio find their lives and beliefs challenged in unexpected ways.

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  22. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Remember this?

    The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
    Directed by Roy Rowland • 1953 • United States
    Starring Peter Lind Hayes, Mary Healy, Hans Conried

    One of the most outrageous acts of cinematic surrealism ever to emanate from Hollywood’s dream factory, the only film written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) is a riotous Technicolor fantasy in which a young boy (Tommy Rettig) dreams himself into an imaginary world ruled by a diabolical piano teacher (Hans Conried) who forces five hundred children to practice an enormous keyboard for eternity. With its outlandish sets, eccentric musical numbers (with lyrics also penned by Dr. Seuss), and vaguely unsettling tone, THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T. was met with incomprehension upon its release but has since taken its place as a beloved cult favorite, a one-of-a-kind children’s film that doubles as a triumph of genuine avant-garde imagination.

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  23. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I just saw 5000 Fingers. The Dr. Seuss visuals are great, especially at the outset. I think it got dragged down though by the production numbers. I know it's for kids but they were still pretty blah and tepid. I love the hype Criterion whips up for it, but I'm not sure it really lives up to all that. Each to their own though, of course.
     
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  24. JAuz

    JAuz Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    I noticed the forced subtitles too. Is this different depending on title? I tried 4 or 5 and they were all burned-in. Can you guys give one example of optional subtitles?

    I also saw this happening on HBO Max. All of the non-English content that I tried has forced English subtitles. What a weird thing to do.
     
  25. j.barleycorn

    j.barleycorn Forum Resident

    Past week ‘20s German Expressionism for me before they leave the channel.

    Nosferatu
    The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
    The Golem
    Metropolis

    Most of these have had extensive restorations, especially Metropolis, since I first saw them in the mid70s in film class , but usually not the whole film. Then these were roughly 50 years old. Now some like The Golem are 100 years. I find that amazing.

    When I first saw them in my early 20s they seemed ancient. Now they don’t seem to have such a distance to me. And I am more impressed & awed by the craft that went into the creation of these films now than I was when I first experienced them.
     

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