Channel Calendars

The Criterion Channel’s April 2020 Lineup

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Mar 26, 2020

Great movies can be a balm for the soul in these troubled times. This April, as the Criterion Channel marks its first anniversary, we’re presenting one of our most packed lineups yet. There’s something for every movie lover to enjoy, cherish, and share, including a centennial retrospective of Japanese cinema icon Toshiro Mifune; a celebration of 1970s style; a second installment of our Columbia Noir series; spotlights on Jean Arthur, Gary Cooper, and Maurice Pialat; and audacious works by contemporary auteurs Yorgos Lanthimos, Jafar Panahi, Rungano Nyoni, and Alain Guiraudie.

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* indicates programming available starting June 1

** indicates programming available only in the U.S.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1

Toshiro Mifune Turns 100
Featuring a new introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith and the 2015 documentary Mifune: The Last Samurai 

Akira Kurosawa once said, “The ordinary Japanese actor might need ten feet of film to get across an impression. Toshiro Mifune needed only three feet.” Discovered by Kurosawa during an open audition at Toho Studios, Mifune would go on to inhabit a wide variety of roles—from gangsters to samurai to salarymen—in the director’s greatest films, masterpieces like Stray Dog, Rashomon, Seven Samurai, The Bad Sleep Well, and High and Low. Further cementing his status as an icon of Japanese cinema with his commanding turns in classics by Kenji Mizoguchi, Keisuke Kinoshita, and Hiroshi Inagaki, Mifune left behind a formidable legacy as one of the most electrifying performers of the twentieth century.

Featuring: Snow Trail (Senkichi Taniguchi, 1947), Drunken Angel (Akira Kurosawa, 1948), Stray Dog (Akira Kurosawa, 1949), Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950), Wedding Ring (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1950), Scandal (Akira Kurosawa, 1950), The Idiot (Akira Kurosawa, 1951), The Life of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1952), Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954), Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1954), Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1955), I Live in Fear (Akira Kurosawa, 1955), Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1956), The Lower Depths (Akira Kurosawa, 1957), Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957), The Hidden Fortress (Akira Kurosawa, 1958), Muhomatsu, the Rickshaw Man (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1958), The Bad Sleep Well (Akira Kurosawa, 1960), Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961), Sanjuro (Akira Kurosawa, 1962), High and Low (Akira Kurosawa, 1963), Red Beard (Akira Kurosawa, 1965), The Sword of Doom (Kihachi Okamoto, 1966), Samurai Rebellion (Masaki Kobayashi, 1967), Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (Kihachi Okamoto, 1970), Red Sun (Terence Young, 1971), Mifune: The Last Samurai (Steven Okazaki, 2015)

Europa Europa (Agnieszka Holland, 1990)
Criterion Collection Edition #985


THURSDAY, APRIL 2

Kinetta
Streaming premiere

The first feature from Yorgos Lanthimos is a darkly comic and insinuatingly hypnotic puzzle film that finds the director working through his regular themes of power and control.

Three by Yorgos Lanthimos

The unofficial leader of the so-called “Greek Weird Wave,” Yorgos Lanthimos helped put the country’s cinema on the international map with these darkly funny, startlingly surreal explorations of human relationships at their most extreme and unsettling.

Featuring: Kinetta (2005), Dogtooth (2009)**, Alps (2011)**


FRIDAY, APRIL 3

From the Archive: Raging Bull
With an archival laserdisc commentary featuring director Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker

Arguably the definitive boxing movie and one of the most stunningly visceral films ever made, Martin Scorsese’s lacerating vision of self-destructive machismo stars an Academy Award–winning Robert De Niro in an intensely physical, career-best performance.

Double Feature: Deep, Dark Welles 
The Stranger and The Lady from Shanghai

Orson Welles steps into the shadows in these masterfully moody noir classics.


SATURDAY, APRIL 4

Saturday Matinee: Captains Courageous

An all-star cast hits the high seas in this rollicking Rudyard Kipling adventure.


SUNDAY, APRIL 5

’70s Style Icons

Way more than just bell bottoms, peasant blouses, and platform shoes, 1970s fashion was as eclectic as it was adventurous, an explosion of me-generation individualism turned outward in a profusion of head-turning styles that ranged from timeless to funky to far out. This collection brings together some of the quintessential films of the era featuring the stars who defined its most iconic looks. 

Featuring: Performance (Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg, 1970), Klute (Alan J. Pakula, 1971), Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971), What’s Up Doc? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972), Foxy Brown (Jack Hill, 1974), Shampoo (Hal Ashby, 1975), Three Days of the Condor (Sydney Pollack, 1975), The Man Who Fell to Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976), A Star Is Born (Frank Pierson, 1976),  Welcome to L.A. (Alan Rudolph, 1976), Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977), Eyes of Laura Mars (Irvin Kershner, 1978), Thank God It’s Friday (Robert Klane, 1978)


MONDAY, APRIL 6

World Cinema Project: Pixote 
Featuring a new introduction by filmmaker Mira Nair

Balancing its shocking brutality with moments of tenderness, this stunning journey through Brazil’s underworld from Héctor Babenco is an unforgettable cry from the lower depths that has influenced multiple generations of filmmakers, including Spike Lee, Harmony Korine, and the Safdie brothers.


TUESDAY, APRIL 7

Short + Feature: Human Tides
8th Continent and Fire at Sea

These haunting, poetic meditations on the European refugee crisis speak eloquently and urgently to the harrowing human cost of a global tragedy.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8

Columbia Noir  
Featuring an introduction by film scholars Farran Smith Nehme and Imogen Sara Smith

One year ago, the Criterion Channel launched with a journey into the dark side of the Columbia Pictures catalog, and we’re pleased to bring it back with an expanded lineup of classic noir deep cuts. The Columbia lot was where auteurs like Fritz Lang, Nicholas Ray, and Orson Welles realized pulp-poetry perfection in masterpieces like The Big Heat, In a Lonely Place, and The Lady from Shanghai. It was also where resourceful genre specialists could overcome budgetary constraints through sinister, stylized atmosphere and directorial vision in killer Bs like the gothic mystery My Name Is Julia Ross, the minimalist-cool hitman thriller Murder by Contract, and the lurid taboo-buster The Crimson Kimono. Starring genre icons like Humphrey Bogart, Rita Hayworth, Gloria Grahame, and Glenn Ford, these shadowy gems epitomize the hard-boiled essence of noir.

Featuring: Blind Alley (Charles Vidor, 1939), My Name Is Julia Ross (Joseph H. Lewis, 1945), Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946), So Dark the Night (Joseph H. Lewis, 1946), Dead Reckoning (John Cromwell, 1947), Johnny O’Clock (Robert Rossen, 1947), The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1947), In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950), The Mob (Robert Parrish, 1951), Affair in Trinidad (Vincent Sherman, 1952), The Sniper (Edward Dmytryk, 1952), The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953), Drive a Crooked Road (Richard Quine, 1954), Human Desire (Fritz Lang, 1954), Pushover (Richard Quine, 1954), Tight Spot (Phil Karlson, 1955), 5 Against the House (Phil Karlson, 1955), Nightfall (Jacques Tourneur, 1956), The Harder They Fall (Mark Robson, 1956), The Brothers Rico (Phil Karlson, 1957), The Burglar (Paul Wendkos, 1957), The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958), Murder by Contract (Irving Lerner, 1958), The Crimson Kimono (Samuel Fuller, 1959), Experiment in Terror (Blake Edwards, 1962)

I Am Not a Witch**
Featuring Listen, a 2014 short film codirected by Rungano Nyoni

Winner of a BAFTA award for outstanding debut, the acclaimed first feature from Rungano Nyoni is a visually imaginative, socially incisive commentary on the clash between tradition and modernity from one of contemporary cinema’s most exciting new voices.


THURSDAY, APRIL 9

The Two of Us (Claude Berri, 1967)
Criterion Collection Edition #388


FRIDAY, APRIL 10

Double Feature: Dark Desires
Stranger by the Lake and Staying Vertical

Delve into the kinky, dangerous, dreamlike world of the transgressive master Alain Guiraudie.


SATURDAY, APRIL 11

Saturday Matinee: Watership Down

Martin Rosen brings Richard Adams’s classic novel to life in this emotionally arresting adaptation.


SUNDAY, APRIL 12

Starring Gary Cooper

For over three decades, Gary Cooper was Hollywood’s consummate everyman, a refreshingly sincere, unaffected screen presence who imbued his common heroes with authenticity and simple dignity.  Emerging as a star in the late silent era, the lanky, strikingly handsome Cooper established himself as a  western hero and romantic leading man. But it was with the coming of sound that Cooper truly came into his own, embodying all-American decency and courage in iconic films across genres while remaining inimitably himself, making Cooper one of classic Hollywood’s most enduring stars.

Featuring: The Winning of Barbara Worth (Henry King, 1926), Lilac Time (George Fitzmaurice, 1928), A Farewell to Arms (Frank Borzage, 1932), The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, 1936), The Adventures of Marco Polo (Archie Mayo, 1938), The Cowboy and the Lady (H. C. Potter, 1938), The Real Glory (Henry Hathaway, 1939), The Westerner (William Wyler, 1940), Ball of Fire (Howard Hawks, 1941), Sergeant York (Howard Hawks, 1941)*, The Pride of the Yankees (Sam Wood, 1942), The Fountainhead (King Vidor, 1949), Task Force (Delmer Daves, 1949), Vera Cruz (Robert Aldrich, 1954), Friendly Persuasion (William Wyler, 1956), Love in the Afternoon (Billy Wilder, 1957), Man of the West (Anthony Mann, 1958), The Hanging Tree (Delmer Daves, 1959)


MONDAY, APRIL 13

Three by Otto Preminger

Renowned for his coolly objective style, daringly ambiguous moral complexity, and willingness to tackle taboo themes, classic Hollywood titan (or tyrant, to many of those who worked under him) Otto Preminger pushed the boundaries of the Production Code to create some of the most sophisticated and provocative films of the studio era.

Featuring: Bonjour tristesse (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)


TUESDAY, APRIL 14

Short + Feature: Blowups
Neighbours and Dr. Strangelove
Featuring an introduction by Criterion Channel programmer Penelope Bartlett

Norman McLaren and Stanley Kubrick take aim at the appalling carnage of the twentieth century in these visually inspired satires.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

The Fits
With an audio commentary featuring director Anna Rose Holmer, writer-producer Lisa Kjerulff, and writer-editor Saela Davis

A wash of stunningly visceral images set to a mesmerizing score, the tour-de-force feature debut from Anna Rose Holmer is a transfixing sensory experience and a potent portrait of adolescent turmoil, starring a showstopping Royalty Hightower.


THURSDAY, APRIL 16

45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015)
Criterion Collection Edition #861


FRIDAY, APRIL 17

Double Feature: Great Heavens!
Here Comes Mr. Jordan and Down to Earth

The gods are crazy—and Rita Hayworth is divine—in a supernatural charmer and its bewitching sequel.


SATURDAY, APRIL 18

Saturday Matinee: Little Lord Fauntleroy

The definitive screen adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic, oft-filmed rags-to-riches tale follows the fortunes of the young Ceddie (the delightful Freddie Bartholomew), a precocious boy being raised by his single mother in late-nineteenth-century Brooklyn.


SUNDAY, APRIL 19

Directed by Maurice Pialat

“What I mean by realism goes beyond reality,” declared French master Maurice Pialat, whose at once raw and rigorous films capture all the intensity, vivid humanity, brutality, and tenderness of life itself. Though he was a contemporary of the nouvelle vague, Pialat stood apart from the movement, pursuing an uncompromising personal vision that had more in common with his artistic forebear Jean Renoir. Though he may not be as well known internationally as many of his contemporaries, Pialat’s cinema has had an incalculable effect on a generation of post–New Wave directors like Catherine Breillat, Leos Carax, Philippe Garrel, and Arnaud Desplechin, who has said, “The filmmaker whose influence has been the strongest and most constant on the young French cinema isn’t Jean-Luc Godard but Maurice Pialat.”

Featuring: L’amour existe (1960), L’enfance nue (1968), We Won’t Grow Old Together (1972), The Mouth Agape (1974), Graduate First (1979), Loulou (1980), À nos amours (1983), Police (1985), Under the Sun of Satan (1987), Van Gogh (1991)


MONDAY, APRIL 20

Salesman (David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin)
Criterion Collection Edition #122


TUESDAY, APRIL 21

Short + Feature: Hair Pieces
The Short and Curlies and Shampoo

From blue-collar Britain to jet-set Beverly Hills, hair salons provide the colorful backdrops to these trenchantly funny social studies from Hal Ashby and Mike Leigh.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22

Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May, 1976)
Criterion Collection Edition #957


THURSDAY, APRIL 23

Early Douglas Sirk

Before he became known as the king of the subversive, lavishly overwrought 1950s melodrama, German émigré director Douglas Sirk made his mark in Hollywood with a string of historical dramas, film noirs, comedies, and musicals. Displaying his sophistication, cutting intelligence, and visual flair, these unsung 1940s works paint a fuller picture of one of the studio era’s most intriguing and endlessly analyzed auteurs.

Featuring: A Scandal in Paris (1946), Lured (1947), Shockproof (1949), Slightly French (1949)


FRIDAY, APRIL 24

Double Feature: C’est Seberg
Bonjour tristesse and Breathless

Witness the inimitable Jean Seberg’s transformation from Hollywood ingenue to French New Wave icon.


SATURDAY, APRIL 25

Saturday Matinee: Paper Moon

Peter Bogdanovich recaptures a lost America in this lovingly nostalgic Depression-era road comedy.


SUNDAY, APRIL 26

Starring Jean Arthur

Though she came up through the silent era, Jean Arthur was truly made for talkies. With her wonderfully expressive voice, offbeat delivery, and impeccable comic timing, she quickly emerged as one of the greatest stars of the screwball genre and a particular favorite of director Frank Capra. A famously private figure who shunned the spotlight throughout her career, Arthur endures as one of the most beloved and enigmatic personalities of Hollywood’s Golden Age, a singular star whose eccentric charm was the very essence of screwball.

Featuring: Whirlpool (Roy William Neill, 1934), Party Wire (Erle C. Kenton, 1935), If You Could Only Cook (William A. Seiter, 1935), Public Hero Number 1 (J. Walter Ruben, 1935), The Whole Town’s Talking (John Ford, 1935), The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (Stephen Roberts, 1936), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, 1936), History Is Made at Night (Frank Borzage, 1937), You Can’t Take It With You (Frank Capra, 1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939), Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939), Arizona (Wesley Ruggles, 1940), The Devil and Miss Jones (Sam Wood, 1941), The Talk of the Town (George Stevens, 1942), The More the Merrier (George Stevens, 1943), The Impatient Years (Irving Cummings, 1944)


MONDAY, APRIL 27

Observations on Film Art No. 36: Musical Motifs in The Battle of Algiers

Ennio Morricone is perhaps the preeminent film composer of the last half century, an enormously influential artist whose iconic melodies and imaginative orchestrations grace some of the greatest films ever made. In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Jeff Smith analyzes Morricone’s masterful score for Gillo Pontecorvo’s revolutionary bombshell The Battle of Algiers, an explosive portrait of the Algerian struggle for independence from France.


TUESDAY, APRIL 28

Short + Feature: Lost Highways
The Strange Ones and Paris, Texas

Lost souls embark on haunting journeys through the run-down motels and blinking neon of middle-American mythology in these evocative reimaginings of the classic road movie.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29

Wadjda**

The first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first made by a female Saudi director, Haifaa al-Mansour’s landmark narrative debut is a work of defiant humanism that follows the coming-of-age journey of a ten-year-old girl (Waad Mohammed) as she mounts a subtle rebellion against the social forces that constrain women, testing—and at times bumping up against—the limits of her freedom in a quest to obtain a bicycle.


THURSDAY, APRIL 30

Three by Jafar Panahi

The brilliant, fearless Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi has been under house arrest and banned from filmmaking since 2010 on the grounds of political dissent, but that has not stopped him from producing some of the most vital, urgent, and slyly perceptive works of the last decade. Shot under clandestine circumstances—and, in the case of This Is Not a Film, almost entirely in the director’s own apartment—these three films are by turns witty and cuttingly incisive commentaries on contemporary Iranian society that speak to the defiance and persistence of a courageous artist who has refused to be silenced.

Featuring: This Is Not a Film (2011)**,  Taxi (2015),  3 Faces (2018)