Dive into the cinematographer’s craft in one of this week’s Criterion Channel highlights: a featurette in which veteran DP John Bailey shares his memories of working with Terrence Malick and Nestor Almendros on Malick’s 1978 sophomore feature, Days of Heaven. A period drama of extraordinary visual beauty, the film captures moments of labor and leisure amid the wheat fields of the Texas panhandle in ravishing magic-hour images that won Almendros an Oscar for best cinematography.
Also up this week on FilmStruck: breakthrough films by a Senegalese master; a richly layered portrait of the immigrant experience in France; and a Mother’s Day–themed double feature.
The most renowned figure of twentieth-century African cinema, Senegalese writer-director Ousmane Sembène crafted stark, stirring dramas that addressed urgent social and political concerns. This week’s Short + Feature shows that his mastery of the form came early: his acclaimed short Borom sarret (1963), about a luckless cart driver on the streets of Dakar, bears witness to the personal effects of the postcolonial order, as does his harrowing first feature, Black Girl (1966), about a Senegalese woman mistreated by her white employers in a small town on the French Riviera.
Six years before winning the Palme d’Or in 2013 for his controversial coming-of-age romance Blue Is the Warmest Color, Tunisian French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche delivered this bustling, multigenerational saga about family and food. Our complete edition of the film arrives this week on the Channel, complete with Sueur, Kechiche’s reedit of the climactic belly-dancing sequence, as well as interviews with the writer-director and many of his key collaborators.
In celebration of Mother’s Day this weekend, we’ve paired two moving portraits of maternal love. Stig Björkman’s 2015 documentary Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words assembles Super 8 and 16 mm home-movie footage, taken by the icon herself, into an intimate view of her complex life as an artist, wife, and mother. Chantal Akerman’s melancholy 1976 urban portrait News from Home pairs meditative shots of New York City, where the director relocated in the early seventies, with readings of letters from her mother on the voice-over.