This week on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, we zoom in on the artistry of two very different cinematographers. In Craig McCall’s 2010 Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff, viewers get an intimate look at one of cinema’s supreme visual stylists, who in 2001 became the first honorary Oscar recipient to win primarily for his work as a DP. Alongside this documentary portrait, we’re also streaming Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, Cardiff’s most exquisite Technicolor collaborations with iconic British duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
For a more contemporary perspective on life behind the lens, check out one of last year’s most acclaimed films, Cameraperson, which reflects on the complexities of truth and representation through outtake footage gathered over the course of veteran documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s twenty-five-year career.
Also up this week: one of the most legendary independent-film double bills of the 1970s, our complete edition of Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line, and two classic literary adaptations.
Reuniting two movies that made a mark playing back-to-back on the midnight-movie circuit, this week’s Short + Feature pairs off David Lynch’s unnerving black-and-white family nightmare Eraserhead with Suzan Pitt’s colorful animated short Asparagus, a psychosexual phantasmagoria that, like Lynch’s film, goes all in on surrealist imagery. In her introduction, Channel programmer Penelope Bartlett discusses the thematic ties that bind these two cult favorites.
A watershed work in the history of the documentary form, and a stylistically influential film featuring staged reenactments and a swirling score by Philip Glass, Errol Morris’s 1988 true-crime masterpiece The Thin Blue Line closely examines the case of a man on death row for the murder of a police officer—a crime he may not have committed. New interviews with Morris and The Act of Killing director Joshua Oppenheimer are among the supplements on our director-approved edition.
The young British actor John Howard Davies headlines two classic literary adaptations about the fickle fortunes of boyhood: Anthony Pelissier’s 1949 The Rocking Horse Winner, a little-known gem based on a short story by D. H. Lawrence, tells the tale of a child who discovers a magical talent for predicting the outcomes of horse races; David Lean’s 1948 masterpiece Oliver Twist, based on the Dickens novel, tags along with the titular orphan as he lands in a den of thieves in the notorious underworld of nineteenth-century London.