Canadian director Allan King is one of cinema’s best-kept secrets. It was with his cinema-verité-style documentaries that King left his greatest mark on film history. These startlingly intimate studies of people whose lives are in flux are riveting and at times emotionally overwhelming.
Of all the cinematic New Waves that broke over the world in the 1960s, the one in Czechoslovakia was among the most fruitful, fascinating, and radical.
Criterion is proud to present these Dreyer masterpieces on DVD for the first time, with brand new digital transfers. Each is an intense exploration of the clash between individual desire and social expectations, with Dreyer’s famously perfectionist attention to detail shining throughout.
In these three films, something like social-realist farces, Kaurismäki surveys the working-class outcasts of his native Finland with detached yet disarming amusement.
In the late eighties, Aki Kaurismäki, a master of the deadpan, fashioned a waggish fish-out-of-water tale about a U.S. tour by “the worst rock-and-roll band in the world.”
Spine: #418 Edition: DVD
Agnès Varda used the skills she honed early in her career as a photographer to create some of the most nuanced, thought-provoking films of the past fifty years.
Spine: #387 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
One of the most influential, radical science-fiction films ever made and a mind-bending free-form travelogue, La Jetée and Sans Soleil couldn’t seem more different—yet they’re the twin pillars of an unparalleled and uncompromising career in cinema.
Spine: #66 Edition: DVD
In The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus, Cocteau utilizes the Orphic myth to explore the complex relationships between the artist and his creations, reality and the imagination.
Spine: #185 Edition: DVD
With The Adventures of Antoine Doinel, Criterion is proud to present François Truffaut’s celebrated saga in its entirety: the feature films The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run, and the 1962 short subject, Antoine and Colette, in a special edition box set.
Spine: #327 Edition: DVD
Laced with autobiographical details, Murmur of the Heart; Lacombe, Lucien; and Au revoir les enfants tell stories of youth, set against the tumult of World War II and postwar France.
Spine: #342 Edition: DVD
Eric Rohmer stood apart from his New Wave contemporaries, like François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, with his patented brand of gently existential, hyperarticulate character studies set against vivid seasonal landscapes. The “Six Moral Tales” unleashed a new voice onto the film world.
One of the greatest and least-known directors of all time, Raymond Bernard helped shape French cinema into a truly formidable industry at the dawn of the sound era. Wooden Crosses and Les misérables exemplify the formal and narrative brilliance of an unjustly overshadowed cinematic trailblazer.
In his three fiction features—Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, Mr. Freedom, and The Model Couple—William Klein skewers the fashion industry, American empire, and governmental mind control with hilarious, cutting aplomb.
Spine: #241 Edition: DVD
Near the end of his long and celebrated career, master filmmaker Jean Renoir indulged his lifelong obsession with life-as-theater and directed three majestic films infatuated with the past, love, and artifice.
Sacha Guitry was once a household name. Something of a Gallic Noël Coward, this disarming, multitalented artist served up some of 1930s French cinema’s tastiest dishes.
Even among cinema’s legends, Jean Vigo stands apart. The son of a notorious anarchist, Vigo had a brief but brilliant career making poetic, lightly surrealist films before his life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis at age twenty-nine.
Spine: #587 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
This boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss from Krzysztof Kieślowski was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s.
Though little known outside of France, Jean Grémillon was a consummate filmmaker from his country’s golden age.
Spine: #655 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
A French comedy master whose films went unseen for decades as a result of legal tangles, director-actor Pierre Etaix is a treasure the cinematic world has rediscovered and embraced with relish.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
From the very beginning of his incandescent career, the New German Cinema enfant terrible Rainer Werner Fassbinder refused to play by the rules.
This selection of Rossellini’s history films presents Blaise Pascal, the three-part The Age of the Medici, and Cartesius—works that don’t just enliven the past but illuminate the ideas that brought us to where we are today.
These haywire hits about splintered love affairs and broken homes, all starring mustachioed matinee idol Amedeo Nazzari and icon of feminine purity Yvonne Sanson, luxuriate in delirious plot twists and overheated religious symbolism.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Spine: #631 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of medieval literature.
Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring the inimitable Toshiro Mifune, was one of Japan’s most successful exports of the 1950s, a rousing, emotionally gripping tale of combat and self-discovery.
Spine: #232 Edition: DVD
An aging actor returns to a small town with his troupe and reunities with his former lover and illegitimate son, a scenario that enrages his current mistress and results in heartbreak for all, in Yasujiro Ozu’s 1934 silent classic and his 1959 color remake.