I’ve done more than a few pieces for Criterion over the years, but Alfred Hitchcock’s spy-noir masterwork Notorious was on an entirely different level from the previous films I’ve worked on. Notorious was the very first Hitchcock I ever saw as a TV/movie-obsessed eight-year-old, and it remains my favorite, largely because of that lifelong nostalgia and the crush on Ingrid Bergman it gave me. It’s an exquisite story told deftly and brilliantly, and I love the volcanic suaveness of Cary Grant, the thorny elegance of Ingrid Bergman, the childlike danger of Claude Raines, and the spider-like manipulations of his ferocious mother, played by Leopoldine Konstantin. Notorious wasn’t my first noir, but it was the one that made me realize there was a whole world of film shot in rich and shadowy depths and anchored by pinhole shafts of light. At the time, I was getting interested in storytelling as my true passion, and I remember thinking, “I want to make something as good as this.”
Now, professionally, I’m not a film guy per se. I’m primarily an artist and a writer who uses his artwork to tell stories. When I’m working on a graphic novel or a children’s book, the depth and seriousness needed to execute the world I’m creating is definitely rewarding. But interpreting a film I adore is the joy work, the pure playground, and it’s far simpler. In many ways, it means surrendering the responsibility for it all and essentially becoming a cheerleader of the movie. Another reason working on Notorious was special for me was because the previous edition was the very first Criterion disc I ever bought. And I bought it for the cover—that black field with Bergman gingerly holding her poisoned tea cup . . . To be given the opportunity to improve upon that was both a terrific thrill and a profound challenge.
Artist Victo Ngai Captures the Lush, Enigmatic Layers of Flowers of Shanghai
For the cover image of our edition of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s opulent masterpiece, the award-winning illustrator combined traditional Chinese figure-drawing styles with a distinctly modern approach to color and composition.
An Inside Look at Brooklyn-Based Artist Juan Miguel Marin’s Meditative Process
The man behind the artwork for our releases of The Cremator, Man Push Cart, and Chop Shop talks with us about how his Ecuadorian roots and his love of performance inform his enigmatic images.
The Intricate Portraiture at the Heart of Our Mandabi Release
New York–based artist Ify Chiejina walks us through the multifaceted process of creating four new pieces inspired by Ousmane Sembène’s 1968 satire.
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