Still reeling from this year’s Twin Peaks revival? We just released our complete edition of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, his prequel to the cult series, and now it’s available to stream in its entirety on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. In this nightmarish vision, Lynch resurrects Laura Palmer, the teenager found wrapped in plastic at the beginning of the show, following her through the last week of her life and teasing out the enigmas that surround her murder. The result is as eerie as any of the director’s great works, but it’s also one of his most humane films, aching with compassion for its tortured heroine—a character as enthralling in life as she was in death. Watch Fire Walk with Me now along with a host of supplemental features, including ninety minutes of deleted and alternate takes, cast interviews, and more.
Also up this week: a tender character study from a master of Swedish cinema, a look at the weird bond between animals and the humans who love them, a pioneering work of queer cinema, a sci-fi epic from Andrei Tarkovksy, and a double bill of dark detective stories.
Everlasting Moments: Criterion Collection Edition #520
Swedish master Jan Troell, director of the beloved classics The Emigrants and The New Land, illuminates the heartrending story of a woman liberated by art at the beginning of the twentieth century. Though poor and abused by her alcoholic husband, Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen, in a beautifully nuanced portrayal) finds an outlet in photography, which opens up her world for the first time. With a burnished bronze tint that evokes faded photographs, and a broad empathetic palette, Everlasting Moments—based on a true story—is a miraculous tribute to the power of image making. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Troell Behind the Camera, a short documentary made during production; The True Story of Maria Larsson, a collection of photographs by Larsson, with narration by writer Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell; Troell’s Magic Mirror, an hour-long documentary on the director’s career; and a trailer.
Tuesday’s Short + Feature: Pickle and Gates of Heaven
Do all dogs go to heaven? Two documentary filmmakers explore mortality and mourning through the experiences of pet owners. In Pickle, Amy Nicholson profiles a couple of extreme animal lovers, interviewing them about the menagerie they’ve cared for and buried over the years, including paraplegic possums, emaciated cats, and morbidly obese chickens. Errol Morris’s debut feature, Gates of Heaven, immerses viewers in the community surrounding two pet cemeteries in Napa Valley, California, blending sincerity and satire to spin its quirky subject into a surprisingly expansive study of human nature.
Desert Hearts: Criterion Collection Edition #902
Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first narrative feature was groundbreaking upon its release in 1985: a love story about two women, made entirely independently, on a shoestring budget, by a woman. In this 1959-set film, adapted from a beloved novel by Jane Rule, a straitlaced East Coast professor arrives in Reno to file for divorce but winds up catching the eye of a free-spirited young woman, touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against a breathtaking desert landscape. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: an audio commentary from 2007 featuring director Donna Deitch; a conversation between Deitch and actor Jane Lynch; interviews with actors Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau; a new program featuring Deitch, director of photography Elswit, and production designer Jeannine Oppewall; and an excerpt from Fiction and Other Truths: A Film About Jane Rule, a 1994 documentary about the author of Desert of the Heart, the 1964 novel on which the film is based.
Stalker: Criterion Collection Edition #888
A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, and a meditation on film itself, Andrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature takes a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, where a hired guide leads a writer and a professor into a restricted disaster site known as the Zone. There the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere, enveloping the viewer in a multitude of possible meanings. SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: an interview with Geoff Dyer, author of Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room, and interviews from 2002 with cinematographer Alexander Knyazhinsky, set designer Rashit Safiullin, and composer Eduard Artemyev.
Friday Night Double Feature: Police, Adjective and Insomnia
Moral ambiguities abound in these unconventional detective stories from Romania and Norway. In Corneliu Porumboiu’s low-key procedural Police, Adjective, a cop has a crisis of conscience as he struggles with an assignment to book a high-school kid for smoking pot. Reluctant to ruin the boy’s life with a jail sentence, he starts to question the letter of the law, leading to an unforgettable climax in which a dictionary becomes the ultimate instrument of power. And in Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Nordic thriller, a disgraced detective (Stellan Skarsgård, in one of his most magnetic performances) investigating the death of a teenage girl becomes uneasily complicit with her killer as the Arctic midnight sun erodes his sense of reality.