Over the past four decades, Belgian director Chantal Akerman has created one of cinema’s most distinctive bodies of work—formally daring, often autobiographical films about people and places, time and space.
Spine: #261 Editions: DVD, Blu-ray
Ingmar Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality.
Legendary auteur Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) emerged in the 1950s as an art-house icon and remained one for more than four decades. Here, together in one box set, Criterion presents four of the unforgettable works that helped establish his international preeminence.
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.
Spine: #518 Edition: Blu-ray
Working outside the mainstream, the wildly prolific, visionary Stan Brakhage made more than 350 films over a half century. Challenging all taboos in his exploration of “birth, sex, death, and the search for God,” he turned his camera on explicit lovemaking, childbirth, even autopsy.
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: #508 Edition: DVD
These are the three films that put Portuguese director Pedro Costa on the map: spare, painterly portraits of battered, largely immigrant lives in the slums of Fontainhas, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon.
In the late fifties and early sixties, Basil Dearden created a series of gripping, groundbreaking, even controversial films that dealt with racism, homophobia, and the lingering effects of World War II, noir-tinged dramas that burrowed into corners of London rarely seen on-screen.
Spine: #86 Edition: DVD
This trio of rousing action epics reveals a deeply unsettling portrait of the Soviet Union under Stalin, and provided battle-scene blueprints for filmmaking giants from Laurence Olivier in Henry V to Akira Kurosawa in Seven Samurai.
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
Spine: #203 Edition: DVD
Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, Lola, and Veronika Voss—the BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Trilogy—would garner him the international acclaim he had always yearned for and place his name foremost in the canon of New German Cinema.
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.
These three independent films showed off Samuel Fuller’s genre diversity, gutter wit, and subversive force, and pointed the way to a controversial career in studio moviemaking.
Jean-Pierre Gorin established
his personal voice with this trio of fascinating,
Though little known outside of France, Jean Grémillon was a consummate filmmaker from his country’s golden age.
A supreme technician and innovative stylist, Alfred Hitchcock always left his indelible stamp on his productions.
Spine: #471 Edition: DVD
With the three films in this set, Shoehi Imamura, one of the leading figures of the Japanese new wave, truly emerged as an auteur, bringing to his national cinema an anthropological eye and a heretofore unseen taste for the irreverent.
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.
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: #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.
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.
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.
These are unforgettable depictions of a postwar Japan troubled by identity crises and moral corruption on scales both intimate and institutional.
Koreyoshi Kurahara’s free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the radical spirit of the 1960s, when he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studios.