One of our recent releases makes its way to the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck this week, and we’re spotlighting a must-see supplemental feature from the disc. For our edition of Meantime, Mike Leigh’s unrelenting, often blisteringly funny look at life on the dole in Thatcher’s England, we brought together the British master with beloved singer-songwriter and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. In this new interview, the two discuss the origins of the film, which features scene-stealing performances by Tim Roth and Gary Oldman in two of their earliest screen roles, and the wave of provocative British television from which it emerged. Watch Leigh and Cocker’s conversation now on the Channel along with the film and other supplements from the edition.
Also up this week: a monumental immigration saga, a pair of biting satires, a tour-de-force look at the Mafia underworld in Naples, and a double bill of films adapted from the work of Guy de Maupassant.
The Emigrants/The New Land: Criterion Collection Edition #796/797
Perhaps the greatest screen drama about the settling of America, this mid-nineteenth-century epic from Jan Troell charts, over the course of two films, a Swedish farming family’s efforts to put down roots in this beautiful but forbidding new world. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann give remarkably authentic performances as a couple who meet with one physical and emotional trial after another on their arduous journey. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: a conversation between Troell and film scholar Peter Cowie; an interview with Ullmann; and To Paint with Pictures, an hour-long documentary on the making of the films featuring archival footage and interviews with the cast and crew.
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: You Owe Me One and Divorce Italian Style
This week we’re serving up two ribald farces. First up, Carlos Cuarón (who cowrote Y tu mamá también with his brother, Alfonso) peeks behind the closed doors of a bourgeois family to uncover a game of musical beds. Then, in Pietro Germi’s Oscar-winning study of male chauvinism, a Sicilian baron (Marcello Mastroianni) plots to kill his wife (Daniela Rocca) and bed his nubile young cousin (Stefania Sandrelli). Cutting his irresistible screen presence down to a pathetic size even as he charms the audience into complicity, Mastroianni delivers one of his most unforgettable performances in this murderously funny black comedy.
Gomorrah: Criterion Collection Edition #493
One of cinema’s most authentic depictions of organized crime, this adaptation of undercover Italian reporter Roberto Saviano’s best-selling exposé of gangsterdom in Naples interweaves five disparate tales, following men and children caught up in a corrupt system that extends from the housing projects to the world of haute couture. Imbued with an exquisite detachment interrupted by bursts of violence, Gomorrah is a shattering, socially engaged true-crime story from a major voice in contemporary Italian cinema. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: interviews with Garrone, Saviano, and actor Tony Servillo; a sixty-minute documentary on the making of Gomorrah; and deleted scenes.
Friday Night Double Feature: A Day in the Country and Le plaisir
Escape into the world of French writer Guy de Maupassant with two films adapted from his work. Jean Renoir’s lyrical 1936 idyll A Day in the Country follows a series of romantic encounters during a family picnic along the Seine one summer afternoon. Max Ophuls’s 1952 belle epoque vision Le plaisir, a star-studded showcase for the likes of Jean Gabin and Simone Simon, brings a tender sophistication to three Maupassant stories that hinge on the ironies of life and romance.