The Criterion Channel’s August 2022 Lineup

On the Channel

Jul 27, 2022

The Criterion Channel’s August 2022 Lineup

The Criterion Channel’s August 2022 Lineup

On the Channel

Jul 27, 2022

This August on the Criterion Channel, beat the heat with one of our most refreshing lineups yet. We’ve got tributes to acting legends Yaphet Kotto and David Gulpilil, a sparkling selection of Myrna Loy classics, and ear-catching soundtracks by Henry Mancini. And don’t miss Hollywood Chinese, an extensive critical survey of how Chinese people have been (mis)represented in American film, centering on Arthur Dong’s acclaimed documentary of the same name. That’s just the beginning of a month that also includes newly restored classics from Stanley Kwan and Béla Tarr, gripping dispatches from Ukraine, the extraordinary documentaries of Jessica Oreck, and so much more.

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* indicates programming available September 1
** indicates programming available only in the U.S.

TOP STORIES
PREMIERING AUGUST 1

Starring Myrna Loy

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Featuring a new introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith

Wickedly witty and effortlessly elegant, Myrna Loy embodied 1930s romantic comedy at its most urbane. American audiences in 1937 voted her “Queen of the Movies,” and she has enchanted ever since with her lively intelligence and sly humor, her cool poise and warm heart. Loy and William Powell formed one of the screen’s greatest couples, and in the Thin Man movies they pioneered an ideal of modern marriage as a partnership of equals, nourished by a ceaseless flow of jokes and martinis. A passionate activist for social justice throughout her life, Myrna Loy brought substance and spirit to every film, elevating melodramas, crime thrillers, and comedies with her subtle underplaying, unaffected honesty, and timeless sense of style.

FEATURING: Love Me Tonight (1932), Penthouse (1933), The Thin Man (1934)**, Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Stamboul Quest (1934), Whipsaw (1935), Libeled Lady (1936), After the Thin Man (1936)**, Double Wedding (1937), Test Pilot (1938), I Love You Again (1940), Love Crazy (1941), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), The Red Pony (1949)

The Swinging Soundtracks of Henry Mancini 

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Henry Mancini combined elements of jazz, pop, easy listening, and exotica into lush, loungey scores that all but defined space-age, cocktail-shaker sophistication. Bright, breezy, and casually inventive, Mancini’s music lends that little something extra to works by Orson Welles (Touch of Evil), Stanley Donen (Charade, Two for the Road), and especially Blake Edwards, with whom Mancini collaborated on twenty-seven films, including the classics Days of Wine and Roses and Victor/Victoria.

FEATURING: Touch of Evil (1958), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Experiment in Terror (1962), Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), Charade (1963), Arabesque (1966), Two for the Road (1967), Sunflower (1970), Once Is Not Enough (1975), Silver Streak (1976), Little Miss Marker (1980), Victor/Victoria (1982), That’s Life! (1986)

Hollywood Chinese

WATCH NOW

Featuring a new introduction by filmmaker Arthur Dong

As long as Hollywood has existed, Chinese and Chinese American lives and artists have been an integral part of its story—though their contributions have often been marginalized, erased, and complicated by a tangled history of racism and (mis)representation. Presented alongside curator Arthur Dong’s illuminating documentary Hollywood Chinese, this program spans cinema’s first hundred years to explore the ways in which the Chinese have been imagined in American feature films, confronting an often grotesque legacy of stereotypes (exemplified by the practice of white actors portraying Asian characters in yellowface) and spotlighting the indelible contributions of trailblazing talents like stars Anna May Wong (Daughter of the Dragon) and Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong), directors Wayne Wang (Chan Is Missing) and Ang Lee (The Wedding Banquet), and cinematographer James Wong Howe (Sweet Smell of Success). What emerges is a fascinating cross-cultural mosaic shaped by both racist histories and groundbreaking artistry.

Please be advised: Some films include racist stereotypes and tropes, including yellowface and offensive slurs. For context, we recommend watching the series introduction by curator Arthur Dong and his documentary Hollywood Chinese.

FEATURING: Massacre of the Christians by the Chinese (1900), The Heathen Chinese and the Sunday School Teachers (1904), The Curse of Quon Gwon (1916), Broken Blossoms (1919), The Letter (1929), Daughter of the Dragon (1931), The Cat’s Paw (1934), The Good Earth (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938), King of Chinatown (1939), China Sky (1945), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), China Doll (1958), The World of Suzie Wong (1960), Flower Drum Song (1961), Rider on a Dead Horse (1962), 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964), The Sand Pebbles (1966), Chan Is Missing (1982), Year of the Dragon (1985), M. Butterfly (1993), The Wedding Banquet (1993), Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998), Hollywood Chinese (2007)

Starring David Gulpilil

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Featuring the documentaries Gulpilil—One Red Blood and My Name Is Gulpilil

“I know how to walk across the land in front of a camera, because I belong there,” said  David Gulpilil, the late, legendary Yolngu actor who, beginning as a teenager with his very first film role in Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout, redefined the the way that Indigenous people were represented in Australian cinema and became an international ambassador for the resilience and dignity of his culture. His physical grace (he was an equally celebrated dancer) and intense charisma made him a defining face of the Australian New Wave in classics such as Storm Boy and The Last Wave, while acclaimed personal projects like Ten Canoes and Charlie’s Country—which he cowrote and for which he won an acting award at the Cannes Film Festival—allowed him to explore Australian history and society from an Aboriginal perspective.

FEATURING: Walkabout (1971), Storm Boy (1976), Mad Dog Morgan (1976), The Last Wave (1977), Gulpilil—One Red Blood (2002), Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), Mimi (2002), The Tracker (2002), The Proposition (2005)**, Ten Canoes (2006), Charlie’s Country (2013), Another Country (2015), My Name Is Gulpilil (2021)

Starring Yaphet Kotto

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Featuring a new introduction by journalist Jamelle Bouie

With his powerful presence and refusal to take on roles he deemed demeaning, the late Yaphet Kotto left behind a legacy of dynamic performances that helped blaze a new trail for Black actors on-screen. Intense, fearless, and committed, Kotto often lent his passion and intelligence to finely shaded characters distinguished by their moral ambiguity and psychological complexity. Whether playing a villain for the ages in Larry Cohen’s ruthlessly subversive racial satire Bone, an autoworker fed up with the indignities of working-class life in Paul Schrader’s piercing drama Blue Collar, or an unsung American hero in the stirring historical drama A House Divided: Denmark Vesey’s Rebellion, Kotto was never less than electric.

FEATURING: Across 110th Street (1972)*, Bone (1972), Truck Turner (1974), Friday Foster (1975), Blue Collar (1978), A House Divided: Denmark Vesey’s Rebellion (1982), Midnight Run (1988)

CRITERION COLLECTION EDITIONS
PREMIERING AUGUST 1

The Asphalt Jungle** (John Huston, 1950)

WATCH NOW
Criterion Collection Edition #847

One of the all-time great heist films offers an uncommonly naturalistic, detailed view of a seamy criminal underworld.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by film historian Drew Casper; a documentary about actor Sterling Hayden; interviews with director John Huston, film noir historian Eddie Muller, and cinematographer John Bailey; and more.

Husbands (John Cassavetes, 1970)

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Criterion Collection Edition #1029

John Cassavetes pushes his raw, uncompromising emotional realism to its electrifying limit in this unflinching portrait of masculinity in crisis.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A television appearance by Cassavetes and actors Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk, audio commentary by critic Marshall Fine, interviews with producer Al Ruban and actor Jenny Runacre, and more.

Rouge (Stanley Kwan, 1987)

WATCH NOW
Criterion Collection Edition #1129

Cantopop superstars Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung share a love that transcends death in this lush, opium-wreathed ghost story that movingly bridges Hong Kong’s past and present.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Two documentaries by director Stanley Kwan, on queer representation in Chinese cinema and his Hong Kong identity, and a conversation between Kwan and filmmaker Sasha Chuk.

Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)

WATCH NOW
Criterion Collection Edition #555

Burt Lancaster oozes venom as a vicious Broadway gossip columnist in this cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Documentaries on director Alexander Mackendrick and cinematographer James Wong Howe, audio commentary by film scholar James Naremore, an interview with critic and historian Neal Gabler about the inspiration for Lancaster’s character, and more.

STREAMING PREMIERES

Donbass

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In the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine during the mid-2010s, a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies perpetrated by Russian-separatist gangs. In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth, and hatred is declared to be love. Life is suffused with fear and suspicion. What is real and what is fake news? This scathing, powerfully prescient satire from director Sergei Loznitsa is both a crucial interpretation of the Russo-Ukrainian war and a dark portrait of a world lost in post-truth distortions and fake identities.

The Earth Is Blue as an Orange

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Krasnohorivka: a town on the front lines of the war-torn region of Eastern Ukraine. When poet and filmmaker Iryna Tsilyk first visits the Trofymchuk-Gladky family home, she is surprised by what she finds: while the outside world is riven by bombings and chaos, single mother Anna and her four children are managing to keep their home a safe haven, full of life and light. Every member of the family has a passion for cinema, so they begin to shoot a film inspired by their own lives during wartime. The creative process raises questions about what kind of impact cinema might have during times of disaster, and how to picture war through the camera’s lens. For Anna and the children, transforming trauma into a work of art is the ultimate way to stay human. The Earth Is Blue as an Orange stands not only as a remarkable document of the Russo-Ukrainian War through the lens—literally—of this family’s creative process, but as an optimistic testament to the power of art and beauty in the face of destruction.

Wood and Water

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In one of the most arresting feature debuts of recent memory, director Jonas Bak journeys halfway across the world to spin a delicate, quietly revelatory meditation on time and distance, alienation and connection. Facing the void of retirement after leaving her job at a church in Germany’s Black Forest, Anke (played by the director’s real-life mother, Anke Bak) looks forward to reconnecting with her adult children. When her estranged son, who has been living in Hong Kong, announces that he is unable to visit because of the ongoing prodemocracy protests, Anke makes the decision to go and see him herself. Adrift in an unfamiliar city rocked by social unrest, Anke moves through a series of experiences and encounters that begin to point the way toward a new chapter in her life. Sublimely shot on 16 mm, Wood and Water astutely subverts travelogue clichés to evoke a woman’s interior journey.

Damnation

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This newly restored midcareer masterwork by legendary Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, the first of his internationally acclaimed collaborations with author László Krasznahorkai, chronicles the doomed affair between bar Titanik regular Karrer (Miklós B. Székely) and the cruel cabaret singer (Vali Kerekes) he pines for while scheming to displace her brutish husband (György Cserhalmi). A poignant political allegory that solidified Tarr’s arresting aesthetic, Damnation features the exquisite black-and-white cinematography and mesmerizing long takes that would come to be the director’s trademark.

CRITERION ORIGINALS

Spotlight on Great Expectations

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In the latest installment of our Spotlight series, critic and novelist Grady Hendrix finds an unlikely favorite horror movie in David Lean’s adaptation of a Charles Dickens classic.

WOMEN FILMMAKERS

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3

Two vastly different women form a surprising connection in Toronto’s 1980s art scene in this charming, whimsical, and much-loved lesbian classic by Patricia Rozema.

Valley Girl

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10

Before there was Clueless, there was Valley Girl: Martha Coolidge’s SoCal romantic comedy is a sincere, authentic portrayal of 1980s teenage life refreshingly devoid of cliché.

Directed by Gurinder Chadha

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17

Best known for her breakout sensation Bend It Like Beckham, prolific filmmaker Gurinder Chadha has been exploring the intricacies of British-Indian identity for more than three decades, bringing a playful and personal perspective to the experiences of women navigating questions of tradition and change within the South Asian diaspora. These early short documentary and narrative films—including I’m British But . . . , a firsthand look at second-generation Asians in late-1980s Britain, and A Nice Arrangement, a wry tale of a bride preparing for her arranged marriage—balance warm humor with thought-provoking insight in order to challenge and expand ideas of what constitutes “British” identity.

FEATURING: I’m British But . . . (1989), A Nice Arrangement (1990), Acting Our Age (1992), What Do You Call an Indian Woman Who’s Funny? (1994)

Fran

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24

A compassionate social realism suffuses Glenda Hambly’s candid, funny, unflinching portrait of a woman struggling to balance the demands of single motherhood with her own desires.

Three by Marguerite Duras

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31

Having revolutionized French literature with her spare yet haunting prose, novelist Marguerite Duras next turned her attention to cinema, the rules of which she rewrote just as radically with her groundbreaking screenplay for Alain Resnais’s influential Hiroshima mon amour and in more than a dozen entrancingly enigmatic films that she directed herself. Experimenting daringly with narrative construction, temporality, and the relationship between sound and image, Duras’s films—including her masterpiece India Song, a mesmerizing evocation of colonial guilt and ennui—rank among the most fascinating and neglected works of twentieth-century cinema.

FEATURING: India Song (1975), Baxter, Vera Baxter (1977), Le navire Night (1979)

More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming: Under the Magnifying Glass: Three Documentaries by Jessica Oreck, From Spikes to Spindles (1976), Mississippi Masala (1991), Fresh Kill (1994), Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998), The Betrayal (2008), Another Country (2015), Les 3 boutons (2015), The Wolfpack (2015), Mizuko (2019), Stay Close (2019), The Earth Is Blue as an Orange (2020), August Sky (2020), Queenie (2020), Flatbush! Flatbush! (2021), My Name Is Gulpilil (2021), Life Without Dreams (2022)

THREE DIMENSIONS

Three Starring Anna May Wong

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11

The first Chinese American movie star, a Jazz Age style icon, and an undeniably magnetic screen presence, Anna May Wong both defied the prejudices of her time and languished under them, charting a trailblazing career at a time when Asian characters were still typically played by white actors in yellowface, while often finding herself reduced to “exotic” and stereotypical roles unworthy of her talents. Nevertheless, her cool glamor elevated every project she appeared in, as seen in this selection of films from her heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, including her finest on-screen hour, Piccadilly, an ultrastylish silent sizzler and one of a string of films that Wong made in England and Europe, where she found the kind of serious dramatic roles that had eluded her in Hollywood.

FEATURING: Piccadilly (1929), Daughter of the Dragon (1931), King of Chinatown (1939)

SATURDAY MATINEES

We Are the Best!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6

Punk is alive and well in this exuberant ode to nonconformity from Swedish auteur Lukas Moodysson.

Misty

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13

A brother and sister form a bond with a beautiful, elusive mare in this heartwarming horse’s tale based on a classic children’s novel.

Brigadoon**

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20

Vincente Minnelli’s sublime musical is an enchantingly poignant expression of the allure of imaginative fantasy as an escape from everyday life.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27

The fifth and final installment of the original blockbuster science-fiction series balances exciting action with thought-provoking social commentary.

TRUE STORIES

Under the Magnifying Glass: Three Documentaries by Jessica Oreck

WATCH NOW

Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker

The mystery and history of Japan’s love affair with insects; the starkly beautiful lives and routines of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland; and the haunted, fairy-tale forests of Eastern Europe—these are just some of the surprising subjects that globe-trotting filmmaker Jessica Oreck has explored in her wondrously idiosyncratic, perception-altering documentaries. Fascinated by ethnobiology—the exchange between human beings and the natural world—Oreck draws on diverse cultural traditions, mythologies, and philosophies to reveal the sublime in the everyday world.

FEATURING: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009), Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys (2013), The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga (2014)

Portrait of Kaye

MONDAY, AUGUST 8

A seventy-four-year-old agoraphobic widow explores personal and sexual freedoms that have long been hidden away in this bittersweet study of a woman in the process of reshaping her identity.

The Betrayal

MONDAY, AUGUST 15

Filmed over the course of twenty-three years, this haunting documentary follows a refugee family’s epic journey from war-torn Laos to New York City.

The Wolfpack

MONDAY, AUGUST 22

Not since Grey Gardens has a documentary brought us inside the secret, troubling world of an unconventional family with such gripping, powerful results.

A Place of Our Own

MONDAY, AUGUST 29

Director Stanley Nelson explores the complex history, significance, and changing landscape of an African American resort community on Martha’s Vineyard.

More documentaries featured in this month’s programming:  From Spikes to Spindles (1976), I’m British But . . . (1989), Acting Our Age (1992), What Do You Call an Indian Woman Who’s Funny? (1994), Gulpilil—One Red Blood (2002), Hollywood Chinese (2007), Another Country (2015), Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy (2016), The Earth Is Blue as an Orange (2020), My Name Is Gulpilil (2021)

SHORT-FILM PROGRAMS

IF/Then Presents

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2

Dedicated to supporting documentary storytellers whose voices have long been marginalized within the film industry, IF/Then Shorts breaks down barriers to access, exposure, and funding in the media landscape. To date, IF/Then has been instrumental in bringing more than fifty projects from across the globe to the screen, including a mesmerizing exploration of insomnia set in the outer space of consciousness (Life Without Dreams), an intimate portrait of a Black lesbian elder fighting for access to housing in New York City (Queenie), and an animated meditation on the relationship between Japanese philosophy and abortion (Mizuko).

FEATURING: Mizuko (2019), Stay Close (2019), Queenie (2020), Flatbush! Flatbush! (2021), Nonstop (2021), Life Without Dreams (2022)

Crossing Borders with Christine Choy
Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy and From Spikes to Spindles

TUESDAY, AUGUST 9

Trailblazing activist filmmaker Christine Choy narrates an extralegal animated adventure and documents awakening political consciousness in New York’s Chinatown.

Toxic Environments
August Sky and Red Desert

TUESDAY, AUGUST 16

Two atmospheric explorations of environmental catastrophe are filtered through the fractured psyches of their protagonists.

Age of Anxiety
Past Perfect and All These Sleepless Nights

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23

The millennial generation confronts the existential void in a pair of blissfully melancholic reveries steeped in the pop-culture aesthetics of their time.

Les 3 boutons

TUESDAY, AUGUST 30

Agnès Varda replaces fantasy wish fulfillment with feminist self-empowerment in this playfully imaginative anti-Cinderella fairy tale.

DOUBLE FEATURES

Cocktail Hour with Nick and Nora
The Thin Man** and After the Thin Man**

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5

Mix up a martini and settle in with William Powell and Myrna Loy as everyone’s favorite boozy, bantering, crime-solving couple.

Très Audrey
Charade and Two for the Road

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12

Audrey Hepburn displays the elegance and trendsetting taste that made her a fashion icon in a pair of stylish, French-set charmers directed by Stanley Donen.

Love and Apocalypse
Mississippi Masala and Fresh Kill

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19

The luminous Sarita Choudhury finds love and a sinister corporate conspiracy in a pair of early-nineties touchstones by trailblazing Asian American women filmmakers.

Outback in the Saddle Again
The Proposition** and Sweet Country

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26

Two gorgeously shot Australian revisionist westerns explore the country’s cruel and troubled past.

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