This January, it’s time to get real. Our Cinema Verité collection looks back at the movement that revolutionized documentary filmmaking, producing some of the most adventurous and captivating nonfiction films of all time. We’re taking a closer look at formative moments in two of our favorite filmmakers’ careers, spotlighting the time that Mike Leigh spent making extraordinary teleplays at the BBC and Abbas Kiarostami’s work crafting films for and about children. And that’s just the beginning of a month that’s packing genre thrills (courtesy of Fernando Di Leo), Hollywood classics (starring Joan Bennett), unforgettable suspense (Hitchcock, anyone?), and so much more!
If you haven’t signed up yet, head to CriterionChannel.com and get a 7-day free trial.
* indicates programming available only in the U.S.
PREMIERING JANUARY 1
In the 1960s, filmmakers on both sides of the Atlantic spilled into the streets in search of cinematic truth, armed with lightweight cameras that allowed for an unprecedented level of intimacy and liberated documentary from the conventions of voice-over narration and talking-head interviews. Today the term cinema verité (“cinema of truth”) is used as a catchall for both the philosophical and ethnographic inquiries of Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin—who coined the term—and the Direct Cinema movement in the U.S., which revolutionized and popularized the documentary form by attempting to capture, with startling immediacy, the truth of everyday life, often finding it in the era’s churning counterculture. This program features defining works by Rouch and Morin (Chronicle of a Summer), D. A. Pennebaker (Dont Look Back), the Maysles brothers (Salesman), and Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA) that display the myriad contrasting methods these filmmakers employed to capture truth on film.
FEATURING: Primary (1960), Chronicle of a Summer (1961), Crisis (1963), Dont Look Back (1967), Portrait of Jason (1967), Warrendale (1967), Monterey Pop (1968), Salesman (1969), Woodstock (1970), Gimme Shelter (1970), Nationtime (1972), A Poem Is a Naked Person (1974), Grey Gardens (1976), Harlan County USA (1976), Running Fence (1977), Always for Pleasure (1978), Burden of Dreams (1982), American Dream (1990), The War Room (1993), Kings of Pastry (2009)
Plus: Cinema Verité Shorts
FEATURING: Daybreak Express (1953), Baby (1954), Islands of Fire (1954), Sea Countrymen (1955), Christopher and Me (1960), Happy Mother’s Day (1963), Lambert & Co. (1964), Uncle Yanco (1967), Chiefs (1968), Black Panthers (1970), The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins (1970), Spend It All (1971), Christo’s Valley Curtain (1974), Italianamerican (1974), Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980)
Starring Joan Bennett
Born into a show-business family, Joan Bennett became one of Hollywood’s most versatile and endlessly watchable stars, collaborating with directors as legendary and varied as Fritz Lang, George Cukor, Jean Renoir, and Douglas Sirk. Starting out as a baby-faced blonde, she brought relaxed and charming sass to a pair of boisterous Raoul Walsh vehicles, including the irresistible waterfront romp Me and My Gal. In the late 1930s she darkened both her hair and her roles, soon embarking on a multifilm partnership with Lang and revealing deadly allure in a string of noir classics. Over the course of a career spanning half a century, she played working girls, femmes fatales, wives, and mothers, gracing all of her performances with dry wit, subtle intelligence, and a hint of mystery.
FEATURING: Wild Girl (1932), Me and My Gal (1932), Little Women (1933), Big Brown Eyes (1936)*, Man Hunt (1941), The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), The Woman on the Beach (1947), We’re No Angels (1955)*, There’s Always Tomorrow (1956)*
Mike Leigh at the BBC
Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker
In the seventeen years between his first two theatrical features (1971’s Bleak Moments and 1988’s High Hopes), Mike Leigh, the great humanist of British cinema, sharpened his distinctive voice and famously improvisatory process at the BBC, where he directed a string of striking, bittersweet slice-of-life dramas built around sharply etched characters. Infused with Leigh’s trademark humor, empathy, and incisive class and social critiques, these oft-neglected early works are blueprints to Leigh’s illustrious later career and brilliant showcases for many of the legendary actors who would become his most important collaborators, including Alison Steadman, Lesley Manville, Brenda Blethyn, and Timothy Spall.
FEATURING: Hard Labour (1973), Nuts in May (1976), Abigail’s Party (1977), The Kiss of Death (1977), Who’s Who (1979), Grown-Ups (1980), Home Sweet Home (1982), Four Days in July (1984)
Abbas Kiarostami’s Childhood Film
Featuring a new introduction by critic Godfrey Cheshire, author of In the Time of Kiarostami
Long before he became one of the most renowned artists in world cinema, the great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami began his cinematic career at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (a.k.a. Kanoon) in Tehran, where he honed his distinctive style and themes and initiated a three-decade-long string of films made about or for children. From his very first short, The Bread and Alley (which the director called the “mother of all my films”), to underseen early revelations like Experience and The Traveler to his beloved international breakthrough Where Is the Friend’s House?, these graceful, playful, and deceptively simple works use the small, relatable struggles of children to point to major universal truths about society, ethics, morality, and the human condition.
FEATURES: The Traveler (1974), First Graders (1984), Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987), Homework (1989), And Life Goes On (1992), ABC Africa (2001)
MIDLENGTH: Experience (1973), A Wedding Suit (1976), First Case, Second Case (1979)
SHORTS: The Bread and Alley (1970), Breaktime (1972), So Can I (1975), Two Solutions for One Problem (1975), The Colors (1976), Tribute to Teachers (1977), Toothache (1980), Orderly or Disorderly (1981)
Fernando Di Leo’s Italian Crime Thrillers
European exploitation cinema doesn’t get any more exhilarating than the furious crime sagas of Italian cult auteur Fernando Di Leo, a maestro of pulp whose hard-boiled thrillers deliver both explosively stylized violence and subversive social commentary underpinned by a righteous moral worldview. Championed by Quentin Tarantino, who has cited Di Leo as a key influence, these crackling tales of gangsters, crooked cops, and vigilantes—including the hard-hitting Milieu Trilogy (Caliber 9, The Italian Connection, The Boss), which explores the corrosive effects of the mafia and police corruption on Italian society—are blistering expressions of rage against injustice.
FEATURING: Caliber 9 (1972), The Italian Connection (1972), The Boss (1973), Shoot First, Die Later (1974), Kidnap Syndicate (1975)
By the 1960s, with multiple masterpieces already to his name, Alfred Hitchcock kept on innovating, pushing the boundaries of on-screen violence and harnessing his technical mastery to create commercial entertainment that doubled as a vehicle to explore his darkest and most personal obsessions. The shocking modernism of Psycho, the unfathomable existential terror of The Birds, and the perverse psychological mystery of Marnie—each is among the Master of Suspense’s most stylistically and thematically complex films and a key to understanding his career-long fascination with the links between sex, violence, guilt, and voyeurism.
FEATURING: Psycho (1960)*, The Birds (1963)*, Marnie (1964)*
Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker
On the occasion of the release of his latest film, the powerful, audacious EO, revisit three of the most acclaimed works by the ever-fascinating, unfailingly original Polish veteran Jerzy Skolimowski. Made in England yet infused with a mordant irony that is distinctively Central European, these films—the unsettling coming-of-age portrait Deep End, the mesmerizing psychosexual horror reverie The Shout, and the cunning social satire Moonlighting—display the innovative approach to narrative and subtly destabilizing sense of surrealism that run throughout Skolimowski’s work.
FEATURING: Deep End (1970), The Shout (1978), Moonlighting (1982)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Sight and Sound’s Greatest Films of All Time: Critics’ Poll
Once every decade, Sight and Sound magazine has polled film critics from around the world and issued a list of the 100 greatest films of all time. Ever since the first poll in 1952, the Sight and Sound list has played a central role in film culture, sending movie lovers on obsessive viewing quests to watch them all, as well as catalyzing debates around the assumptions and biases that shape the canon. With over 1,600 critics contributing ballots, 2022’s edition is the most expansive yet, resulting in a list that includes old favorites like Tokyo Story, The Rules of the Game, and Seven Samurai and new entries such as Wanda and Chungking Express—as well as a new champion in the number-one spot, now occupied by Chantal Akerman’s singular masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Drawing from Janus Films’s library of essential art-house classics, we’re pleased to be able to present so many of the poll’s selections—you won’t find as many of the consensus greats on any other streaming service.
FEATURING: Battleship Potemkin (1925), The General (1926), Metropolis (1927), The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), City Lights (1931), M (1931), L’Atalante (1934), Modern Times (1936), The Rules of the Game (1939), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), Bicycle Thieves (1948), The Red Shoes (1948), Late Spring (1949), The Third Man (1949), Rashomon (1950), The Earrings of Madame de . . . (1953), Tokyo Story (1953), Journey to Italy (1954), Sansho the Bailiff (1954), Seven Samurai (1954), Ugetsu (1953), Pather Panchali (1955), Ordet (1955), A Man Escaped (1956), The 400 Blows (1959), L’avventura (1960), Breathless (1960), Psycho (1960), Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), 8½ (1963), Contempt (1963), La Jetée (1963), Andrei Rublev (1966), Au hasard balthazar (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), Persona (1966), Black Girl (1966), Daises (1966), PlayTime (1967), Wanda (1970), The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Touki bouki (1973), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974), Mirror (1974), Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), News from Home (1976), Stalker (1979), Sans Soleil (1983), Close-up (1990), A Brighter Summer Day (1991), Chungking Express (1994), Beau travail (1999), The Gleaners and I (2000), In the Mood for Love (2000), Yi Yi (2000)
Sight and Sound’s Greatest Films of All Time: Directors’ Poll
Alongside its legendary once-a-decade critics’ poll, Sight and Sound magazine conducts a parallel survey of filmmakers to produce a collective list of the 100 greatest films of all time. 2022’s edition polled 480 directors, producing a selection that includes many surprises not present on the critics’ list, such as Come and See, Eraserhead, and La Ciénaga.
FEATURING: Battleship Potemkin (1925), The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), City Lights (1931), L’Atalante (1934), Modern Times (1936), The Rules of the Game (1939), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), Bicycle Thieves (1948), The Red Shoes (1948), Late Spring (1949), Tokyo Story (1953), Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952), La strada (1954), Seven Samurai (1954), Ordet (1955), Pather Panchali (1955), A Man Escaped (1956), The Seventh Seal (1957), Throne of Blood (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The 400 Blows (1959), Pickpocket (1959), L’avventura (1960), Breathless (1960), Psycho (1960), La notte (1961), Viridiana (1961), Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), 8½ (1963), Contempt (1963), La Jetée (1963), Andrei Rublev (1966), Au hasard balthazar (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), Persona (1966), PlayTime (1967), The Color of Pomegranates (1969), Wanda (1970), The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Touki bouki (1973), Mirror (1974), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), News from Home (1976), The Ascent (1977), Eraserhead (1977), Stalker (1979), Fanny and Alexander (1982), L’argent (1983), Sans Soleil (1983), Come and See (1985), Vagabond (1985), Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987), Close-up (1990), A Brighter Summer Day (1991), Taste of Cherry (1997), Beau travail (1999), In the Mood for Love (2000), Yi Yi (2000), La Ciénaga (2001), A Separation (2011)
EXCLUSIVE STREAMING PREMIERES
During the economic boom of the 1960s, Europe’s highest building is being constructed in Italy’s prosperous North. At the other end of the country, young speleologists explore Europe’s deepest cave in the untouched Calabrian hinterland. The bottom of the Bifurto Abyss, 700 meters below Earth, is reached for the first time. The intruders’ venture goes unnoticed by the inhabitants of a small neighboring village, but not by the old shepherd of the Pollino plateau whose solitary life gradually becomes entwined with the group’s journey. A work of nearly wordless organic beauty from visionary director Michelangelo Frammartino that Bong Joon Ho has hailed as “a mystical cinematic experience,” Il buco chronicles a visit through unknown depths of life and nature and parallels two great voyages to the interior.
Juliet Bashore’s quasi-documentary plunge into the 1980s porn industry takes an unsparing look at issues of misogyny, drug abuse, and exploitation via the story of two women—the naive Tigr and the magnetic, imperious Sharon Mitchell—caught in a toxic romance. By turns mesmerizing and unsettling, Kamikaze Hearts is both a fascinating record of pregentrification San Francisco’s X-rated underground and an intense, searing lesbian love story that offers a disturbing glimpse of the modification of bodies, feelings, and lives.
Cyrano de Bergerac
Gérard Depardieu delivers a towering performance as the immortal hero of hopeless romantics everywhere—he of the legendary long schnoz who selflessly uses his verse to help a friend woo the woman he himself secretly loves. Exquisite Academy Award–winning costumes, elegant cinematography, and a superlative screenplay adaptation by Jean-Claude Carrière and director Jean-Paul Rappeneau come together in a period piece par excellence that captures the wit, heart, and, yes, panache of Edmond Rostand’s beloved play.
Lodge Kerrigan’s stunningly immersive portrait of a father in crisis is one of the most searing and unforgettable independent films of the early 2000s. William Keane (Damian Lewis in a tour-de-force performance) is barely able to cope. It has been six months since his six-year-old daughter was abducted from New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal. Repeatedly drawn to the site of the abduction, Keane wanders the bus station, compulsively replaying the events of that fateful day, as if hoping to change the outcome. One day he meets a financially strapped woman, Lynn (Amy Ryan), and her seven-year-old daughter, Kira (Abigail Breslin), at a transient hotel. As Keane becomes increasingly attached to Kira in an attempt to fill the void left by his daughter’s disappearance, Kerrigan guides this harrowing psychological study toward a climax of overwhelming emotional power.
CRITERION COLLECTION EDITIONS
PREMIERING JANUARY 1
3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977)
Criterion Collection Edition #230
Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall share a strange connection in Robert Altman’s gauzy, dreamlike drift through the mysteries of identity and femininity.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Altman.
Art-House America: Maysles Documentary Center
Founded in 2005 by pioneering nonfiction filmmaker Albert Maysles, the Harlem-based Maysles Documentary Center has fostered an incredible sense of community through its diverse, thought-provoking, and often challenging programming; classes that teach the fundamentals of documentary storytelling to a new generation of filmmakers; and annual events like the Black Panther Film Festival and Congo in Harlem celebration that honor the neighborhood’s Black roots. The MDC’s commitment to showcasing experimental and politically engaged documentary filmmaking is on display in the selection of films they have curated, which include Cinda Firestone’s revolutionary exposé of the prison-industrial complex Attica, Leo Hurwitz’s galvanizing antifascist landmark Strange Victory, and Kirsten Johnson’s profoundly moving and personal essay-travelogue Cameraperson.
FEATURING: Strange Victory (1948), The House Is Black (1963), Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968), Salesman (1969), Attica (1974), India Cabaret (1985), The Gleaners and I (2000), still/here (2001), Cameraperson (2016), INAAT/SE/ (2016), Shakedown (2018), A Night of Knowing Nothing (2021)
Taboo-breaking artist Leigh Ledare stages a radical, nearly impossible-to-describe social experiment and documents the explosive fallout.
The Day After Trinity
The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer—enigmatic mastermind of the Manhattan Project that gave birth to the atomic bomb—offers an urgent warning from history about the dangers of nuclear warfare.
The Village Detective: A Song Cycle
MONDAY, JANUARY 16
First time streaming on any platform!
An unexpected cinematic discovery on the shores of Iceland becomes a jumping-off point for a ghostly meditation on forgotten Soviet film history and celluloid survival.
The American Sector
A journey in search of the fragments of the Berlin Wall that dot the United States becomes a thought-provoking window into America’s social and political present.
The Reagan Show
Composed entirely of archival footage, this ingenious work of media analysis dissects the original performer-president’s role of a lifetime.
More documentaries featured in this month’s programming: Cinema Verité, Cinema Verité Shorts, Art-House America: Maysles Documentary Center, First Graders (1984), Homework (1989), ABC Africa (2001)
Márta Mészáros’s Diary Films
With this extraordinary trilogy, trailblazing Hungarian auteur Márta Mészáros fused the personal and the political, entwining her country’s turbulent post–World War II history with a heartrending story drawn from her own life experiences. Tracing the journey of a strong-willed orphan named Juli as she navigates the terror of rising Soviet repression while attempting to assert her creative voice as a filmmaker, these films—Diary for My Children, Diary for My Lovers, and Diary for My Mother and Father—sketch an at once epic and intimate portrait of history as Mészáros experienced it, bearing witness to both the horrors of totalitarianism and the courage of those who resist.
FEATURING: Diary for My Children (1984), Diary for My Lovers (1987), Diary for My Mother and Father (1990)
Nineties indie queen Parker Posey is at her effortlessly cool best in this irresistible comic time capsule of the era’s Manhattan club scene.
Beauty and the Dogs
A Tunisian rape survivor embarks on a fearless fight for justice against all odds in this urgent, powerfully immersive feminist cri de coeur.
More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming: The House Is Black (1963), Portrait of Jason (1967), Salesman (1969), Gimme Shelter (1970), Attica (1974), Grey Gardens (1976), Harlan County USA (1976), Running Fence (1977), India Cabaret (1985), Kamikaze Hearts (1986), American Dream (1990), The War Room (1993), The Gleaners and I (2000), Kings of Pastry (2009), Cameraperson (2016), The Reagan Show (2017), Shakedown (2018), The American Sector (2020), Masquerade (2021), A Night of Knowing Nothing (2021)
“Oh, what a beautiful moooornin’!” It is indeed, when Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical hits the screen in glorious color CinemaScope.
This animated noir caper is a stylish, heart-thumping adventure that prowls the shadowy streets and alleyways of New York and swoops and soars above the greatest skyline in the world.
The Clay Bird
A family grapples with the divisions of religion and war in this lyrical drama set during the turbulent late-1960s period leading up to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan.
A New Year and Floating Weeds
Sons grapple with their complicated feelings for their absent fathers in these sensitive portraits of fractured families.
Lover, Come Back to Me
Successful Thawing of Mr. Moro and Phoenix
Things get complicated when long-dormant relationships are suddenly brought back to life in a surreal science-fiction love story and a mesmerizing mystery of identity and deception.
Stories from the Street
Nina and Pixote
Two kids are forced to grow up before their time in these raw, bracingly unsentimental depictions of hardscrabble childhoods forged on the streets.
Spend It All and Belizaire the Cajun
The vibrancy of Cajun culture is on display in these celebrations of the food and music of Southwestern Louisiana, as well as the staunch resiliency, strength, and humor of the region’s people.
A young queer woman’s return to her hometown in Nigeria reawakens the embers of a first, impossible love in this psychologically immersive exploration of desire and dislocation.
3 Women and Persona
The boundaries between self and other dissolve in these enigmatic explorations of female relationships and identity.
Election and Election 2
Johnnie To’s magnum opus is a boldly deromanticized vision of power, ambition, and greed run amok in a changing Hong Kong underworld.
From Ingenue to Icon
Rendez-vous and Clouds of Sils Maria
Trace Juliette Binoche’s evolution from breakout star to world-cinema legend in these provocative backstage dramas about actors on the edge from André Téchiné and Olivier Assayas.
Le quattro volte and Il buco
Discover the hypnotic rhythms and mysterious beauty of Michelangelo Frammartino’s transfixing meditations on the cycles of life and the marvels of nature.
AVAILABLE JANUARY 1
Back by Popular Demand
Don’t miss these viewer favorites, returning to the Channel in January!
FEATURING: The Talk of the Town (1942), The Hitch-Hiker (1953), The Long Goodbye (1973), Variety (1983), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Lady Vengeance (2005), Dogtooth (2009)