On a beautiful June weekend in 1967, at the beginning of the Summer of Love, the Monterey International Pop Festival roared forward, capturing a decade’s spirit and ushering in a new era of rock and roll. With career-making performances by Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, and many other music luminaries, this event was brought to the big screen by documentary pioneer D. A. Pennebaker, and the result became the blueprint for generations of concert films to come. Our complete Monterey edition made its debut this week on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, featuring three films—Monterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey—along with rare outtakes, interviews, and every available complete performance filmed by the director and his crew.
Also up this week:
Train cars set the scene for nightmares and mysteries in this locomotive pairing. In Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski’s painstakingly animated short, a timid woman sets off on a bizarre train journey that descends into terror. Five years in the making, Madame Tutli-Putli has an eerie tone that owes much to its innovative compositing process, which allowed the filmmakers to merge live-action footage of actors’ eyes with stop-motion puppets. In Alfred Hitchcock’s quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, a plucky young woman on a trip across Europe meets a kindly spinster, who then seems to vanish into thin air. The master of suspense brings a light touch to this scenario, ingeniously orchestrating a breathless adventure within the confines of a train.
Genius provocateur Nagisa Oshima, an influential figure in the Japanese New Wave of the 1960s, made one of his most startling political statements with the compelling pitch-black satire Death by Hanging. In this macabre farce, a Korean man is sentenced to death in Japan but survives his execution, sending the authorities into a panic about what to do next. At once disturbing and oddly amusing, Oshima’s constantly surprising film is a subversive and surreal indictment of both capital punishment and the treatment of Korean immigrants in his country. Supplemental features: an interview with critic Tony Rayns, Oshima’s 1965 short Diary of Yunbogi, and more.
Remote Scottish locales are disrupted and transformed by the outside world in a boozy Ealing comedy and an underappreciated Vincente Minnelli masterpiece. Alexander Mackendrick (Sweet Smell of Success) made his directing debut with Whisky Galore!, a gleefully antiauthoritarian comedy in which a sinking ship loaded with 50,000 barrels of whisky breaks the wartime alcohol shortage on a Scottish island. Adapted from the Broadway hit by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, Minnelli’s stunning CinemaScope musical Brigadoon stars Gene Kelly as an American on a hunting trip in Scotland who discovers a magical village lost in time and falls in love with one of its inhabitants.