One of the most controversial films to premiere at Cannes in the past ten years, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist makes its Criterion Channel debut as our spotlight edition this week. Starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a man and woman who come face to face with the terror of nature while mourning the accidental death of their infant son, this graphic psychodrama is now available to stream alongside the complete supplements from our release, including several behind-the-scenes videos and a documentary on the film’s notorious Cannes screening.
Also new this week: intimate portraits of two cinema icons, a pair of classic comedies we programmed for Tax Day, and a moody, environmental-themed double bill.
Legendary Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai recently stopped by Criterion to discuss his storied career, sharing some of the lessons he learned from working with luminaries Akira Kurosawa, Mikio Naruse, Masaki Kobayashi, Kihachi Okamoto, and Hiroshi Teshigahara. Along with the interview, we present a genre-hopping selection of films that feature his most pivotal roles, including Kurosawa’s Sanjuro, whose bloody climax the actor discusses in this clip.
On the heels of Tax Day, this week’s Short + Feature pairs two playful films that follow the money: Charlie Chaplin’s 1922 Pay Day, a silent short about the wage-related bickering of a bricklayer and his wife, and Juzo Itami’s 1987 A Taxing Woman, a tax-collector comedy that the Tampopo director was inspired to make after joining a higher tax bracket himself.
As part of our ongoing presentation of episodes from Cinéastes de notre temps (1964–72), a French television series that profiled filmmakers from around the world, we’re spotlighting one of the show’s first installments. In this 1964 documentary, French New Wave director Jacques Rozier chronicles the life of one of cinema’s great enfants terribles, Jean Vigo, who died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine after making just a handful of films, including the redoubtable masterpiece L’Atalante (1934). Compiling interviews with a variety of friends and collaborators of Vigo’s, this program attests to the rebellious and poetic spirit the director brought to his work. Programmer Michael Sragow chats about the series’s legacy with former Film Society of Lincoln Center program director Richard Peña in this interview.
Environmental threats hang over these two atmospheric masterpieces, featured on the Channel just in time for Earth Day. Antonioni’s first color film evokes the creeping malaise that comes with industrialization, while the apocalypse itself looms nigh in Peter Weir’s beguiling mystery, a dreamlike investigation of the fissures between colonial and aboriginal Australia.