The Criterion Channel’s March 2023 Lineup

On the Channel

Feb 27, 2023

The Criterion Channel’s March 2023 Lineup
The Heroic Trio

The Criterion Channel’s March 2023 Lineup

On the Channel

Feb 27, 2023

This month on the Criterion Channel, dive into the career of Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), whose martial-arts prowess and megawatt charisma made her one of Hong Kong’s greatest action heroes. From there, head back to the anything-goes exuberance of early Hollywood with our Buster Keaton retrospective and a lineup of pre-Code Paramount classics, or spend some time with one of contemporary cinema’s most captivating actors, the legendary Isabelle Huppert. There’s plenty more in store this March, including a spotlight on visionary Czechoslovak New Wave multihyphenate Ester Krumbachová, the radical documentaries of Deepa Dhanraj, and a pair of essential showcases for Jayne Mansfield. Happy viewing!

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* indicates programming available only in the U.S.

All programming premieres March 1 unless noted otherwise.


Michelle Yeoh Kicks Ass


As she reaches new heights of acclaim for her dazzling, Oscar-nominated performance in the breakout smash Everything Everywhere All at Once, now is the perfect time to revisit the sensational career of Michelle Yeoh. Before conquering Hollywood, the Malaysian-born actor established herself as one of Hong Kong cinema’s fiercest action heroes—performing whirlwind martial-arts choreography with an acrobatic grace that reflected her early training as a dancer. Whether executing superhero stunts in Johnnie To’s action classic The Heroic Trio or propelling the wuxia genre to unprecedented international success with the megahit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Yeoh commands the screen with astonishing power and charisma.

FEATURING: Yes, Madam! (1985)*, Royal Warriors (1986), Magnificent Warriors (1987), Police Story 3: Supercop (1992), The Heroic Trio (1993), Executioners (1993), The Stunt Woman (1996)*, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Pre-Code Paramount


Featuring an introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith

In the era before the enforcement of the Hollywood Production Code—when sex, sin, and sleaze were splashed across the screen with abandon, and chiselers and gold diggers were cinematic staples—Paramount Pictures stood out for the sophisticated amorality and continental flair it brought to its productions. Among the uncensored wonders that emanated from the studio’s back lots during the early years of talkies: the worldly wit of Ernst Lubitsch (Trouble in Paradise), the luxuriant exoticism of Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich (Shanghai Express), the jaw-dropping double entendres of Mae West (She Done Him Wrong), the stylish musical rapport between Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier (Love Me Tonight), and the subversive feminist sensibility of trailblazing director Dorothy Arzner (Merrily We Go to Hell). This collection of pre-Code classics and rarities spotlights the delightfully risqué side of a studio that knew how to be naughty while (almost) always keeping it classy.

FEATURING: Honor Among Lovers (1931), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), Broken Lullaby (1932), If I Had a Million (1932), Love Me Tonight (1932), Merrily We Go to Hell (1932), Night After Night (1932), One Hour with You (1932), Shanghai Express (1932), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Design for Living (1933)*, She Done Him Wrong (1933), Cleopatra (1934)

Starring Isabelle Huppert


Seemingly ageless even as she turns seventy this March, the incomparable French actor Isabelle Huppert is something of a paradox: an enigma who lives in front of the camera, inviting our gaze while maintaining a sense of deep, unknowable mystery. Specializing in portrayals of complex women who transgress social, moral, and sexual boundaries, she has delivered fearless performances for uncompromising auteurs such as Jean-Luc Godard (Every Man for Himself), Maurice Pialat (Loulou), Claude Chabrol (La cérémonie), Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher), Claire Denis (White Material), and Mia Hansen-Løve (Things to Come). Each is a captivating display of the singular performance style—so nuanced, ambiguous, and elusive that it’s barely discernible as acting—that has made her a legend in her time.

FEATURING: Every Man for Himself (1980), Heaven’s Gate (1980), Loulou (1980), Coup de torchon (1981), La truite (1982), Entre nous (1983), The Bedroom Window (1987), Story of Women (1988), Amateur (1994), La cérémonie (1995), The Piano Teacher (2001), Home (2008)*, White Material (2009), In Another Country (2012)*, Abuse of Weakness (2013)*, Things to Come (2016), EO (2022)



Featuring an introduction by Criterion curatorial director Ashley Clark

Coined in 1994 by critic Mark Dery, the term “Afrofuturism” has become an essential framework for art about imagined and alternative Black experiences. As the author Ytasha Womack writes, “Afrofuturism combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western beliefs.” Afrofuturist ideas have found fertile ground in film, and this expansive, newly refreshed collection takes viewers on an international, intergalactic journey that stretches back long before the term existed, and far into the future. Spanning animation, documentary, musical odyssey, and genre spectacle, these exuberant visions of Black creativity, resistance, and freedom zigzag across the African diaspora from New York to Burundi to Kinshasa to worlds unknown. 

FEATURES: Space Is the Place (1974), Ornette: Made in America (1985), Welcome II the Terrordome (1995), The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry (2008), Milford Graves Full Mantis (2018), Neptune Frost (2021)

SHORTS: Odds and Ends (1993), The Changing Same (2001), Planet X (2006), Dark Matters (2010), The Becoming Box (2011), Twaaga (2013), Public Service Announcement (2014), You and I and You (2015), The Golden Chain (2016), Relic 0 (2017), Relic 1 (2017), Relic 2 (2017), Relic 3 (2017), 1968 < 2018 > 2068 (2018), Zombies (2019), T (2019)

Ester Krumbachová: Phantom of the Czechoslovak New Wave


One of the key, unsung visionaries of the Czechoslovak New Wave of the 1960s and early ’70s, Ester Krumbachová left an indelible imprint on some of the movement’s defining films—including A Report on the Party and Guests, Daisies, and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders—through her inimitable work as a costume designer, art director, and screenwriter, forging a boldly anarchic, surreal, often defiantly feminine aesthetic to match the freewheeling spirit of the times. Her sole directorial effort, the satanic feminist farce The Murder of Mr. Devil, is as wickedly subversive as anything the New Wave produced, so it’s little wonder that she was one of many artists effectively banned from filmmaking by the Communist authorities. Her legacy lives on, however, in the iconoclastic words and images that gave shape to one of the most radical creative eruptions in the history of cinema.  

FEATURING: Diamonds of the Night (1964), Coach to Vienna (1966), A Report on the Party and Guests (1966), Daisies (1966), All My Good Countrymen (1969), Fruit of Paradise (1970), The Murder of Mr. Devil (1970), Witchhammer (1970), Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)

Starring Buster Keaton


Arguably the greatest comic genius of the silent era, Buster Keaton turned the adage “less is more” into slapstick gold, using his perpetually passive, poker-faced visage to wring laughs from the most absurd situations. A child of vaudeville, he transferred the knockabout style of physical comedy he honed on the stage to the nascent medium of cinema in a string of increasingly brilliant two-reel shorts, distinguishing himself both in front of and behind the camera with his audacious, often genuinely dangerous set pieces and innate understanding of the possibilities of cinema. With features like The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr., Keaton took silent comedy to new heights of astonishing ambition—all the while remaining, thanks to that immovable countenance, touchingly human.

FEATURES: Three Ages (1923), Our Hospitality (1923), The General (1926), College (1927), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

SHORTS: One Week (1920), Convict 13 (1920), The Scarecrow (1920), Neighbors (1920), The Haunted House (1921), Hard Luck (1921), The High Sign (1921), The Goat (1921), The Playhouse (1921), The Boat (1921), Cops (1922), My Wife’s Relations (1922), The Blacksmith (1922), The Frozen North (1922), The Electric House (1922), Day Dreams (1922), The Balloonatic (1923), The Love Nest (1923)


Featuring a new making-of program with director Jerzy Skolimowski and producer Ewa Piaskowska

With his first feature in seven years, legendary filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski (Deep End, Moonlighting) directs one of his most free and visually inventive films yet, following the travels of a nomadic gray donkey named EO. After being removed from the traveling circus, which is the only life he’s ever known, EO begins a trek across the Polish and Italian countryside, experiencing cruelty and kindness in equal measure, all the while observing the follies and triumphs of humankind. During his travels, EO is both helped and hindered by a cast of characters including a young Italian priest (Lorenzo Zurzolo), a countess (Isabelle Huppert), and a rowdy Polish soccer team. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature, and featuring immersive, stunning cinematography by Michal Dymek coupled with Pawel Mykietyn’s resonant score, Skolimowski’s film puts the viewer in the perspective of its four-legged protagonist on a quest for freedom.

Loving Highsmith


The life and work of celebrated American writer Patricia Highsmith are revealed through her diaries and notebooks and the intimate reflections of her lovers, friends, and family in this fascinating documentary. While many of her most famous novels—including Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and the partly autobiographical lesbian love story The Price of Salt (a.k.a. Carol)—were adapted into acclaimed films, Highsmith herself was forced to lead a double life and had to hide her vibrant same-sex affairs from her family and the public. Only in her unpublished writings did she reflect on her rich private life. Excerpts from these notes voiced by Gwendoline Christie are beautifully interwoven with archival materials to create a vivid, touching portrait of a complex artist.

So Late So Soon


Half a century into their marriage, Chicago artists Jackie and Don Seiden approach the fragility of old age in their own distinct ways. Jackie, notorious for her unbounded energy, is constantly on the move, inspired to create works of art while also maintaining the couple’s multistory, brightly painted Victorian home. Don steadily sketches in his notebook while confronting alarming realities about his health. Director Daniel Hymanson filmed the Seidens on and off for five years, capturing the hardships of aging as well as a view into enduring companionship. The result is a charming and intimate study of a unique couple facing mortality together.

Mother, I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You.


Featuring an introduction by the filmmaker

Part poetic essay, part documentary, this rapturous film by director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection) analyzes the complexities of his relationship to his native country of Lesotho from his new home in Berlin. Addressing a mother figure who embodies the idea of home, the narration unfolds over an elegiac procession of gorgeous black-and-white images. Exploring the links between land, history, and spirituality, this stunningly assured vision announces the arrival of a major filmmaker.


This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, 2019)

Criterion Collection Edition #1169

With a poet’s eye for place, light, and the spiritual dimensions of everyday existence, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese crafts a meditation on the concept of homeland.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Mosese and producer Cait Pansegrouw and three films by Mosese.

Lars von Trier’s Europe Trilogy (Lars von Trier)

Criterion Collection Edition #1168

With his dazzling first three features, Lars von Trier sought nothing less than to map the soul of Europe—its troubled past, anxious present, and uncertain future. 

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries by von Trier and others; Tranceformer: A Portrait of Lars von Trier (1997), a documentary by Stig Björkman; making-of documentaries; interviews with von Trier; and more.

Forty Guns (Samuel Fuller, 1957)

Criterion Collection Edition #954


Barbara Stanwyck saddles up with Samuel Fuller for this audacious pulp western that puts a boldly feminist spin on the genre.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: The feature-length documentary A Fuller Life, interviews with Fuller and critic Imogen Sara Smith, and more.


Two Starring Jayne Mansfield


A herald of America’s sexual revolution, Jayne Mansfield had a brief but sensational career as one of the original blonde bombshells of the 1950s, with her penchant for outrageous publicity stunts sometimes overshadowing her formidable talent. Her magnetic presence and natural charm light up two of her finest films: Frank Tashlin’s cartoon-crazy (bordering on the avant-garde) advertising satire Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and the torrid John Steinbeck adaptation The Wayward Bus, which gave Mansfield a rare chance to display her dramatic prowess.

FEATURING: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), The Wayward Bus (1957)


Life Is Cheap . . . But Toilet Paper Is Expensive


Exploding a seemingly simple premise—a nameless “cowboy” courier (Spencer Nakasako) arrives in Hong Kong to deliver a mysterious briefcase to a mercurial mob boss and becomes entangled with his femme fatale mistress (Cora Miao)—this long-unavailable triumph from Wayne Wang barrels through inspired genre deconstruction, guerrilla docu-fiction, and fierce political jeremiad, creating a unique amalgam of American avant-garde and Hong Kong New Wave sensibilities. Tracking the courier’s increasingly byzantine mission across every level of the city’s social strata, Wang introduces us to cabdrivers, hustlers, butchers, and more—each punctuating the high-octane neonoir narrative with instantly memorable monologues that capture a now-distant era in Hong Kong history.

The Intruder


Rich, strange, and tantalizingly enigmatic, Claire Denis’s uncanny odyssey is a mesmeric sensory experience that haunts like a half-remembered dream. Inspired by a book by philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, The Intruder skips across time and continents—from the Alpine wilds to a neon-lit Korea to a tropical Tahiti suffused with languorous melancholy—as it traces the journey of an inscrutable, ailing loner (Michel Subor) seeking both a black-market heart transplant and his long-lost son. An impressionist wash of hallucinations, memories, and dreams are borne along on the lush textures of Agnès Godard’s shimmering cinematography.

Made in Hong Kong


The first Hong Kong independent film released after the island’s handover from the UK to China, this intoxicating vision of nihilistic youth explores the era’s disillusionment via a portrait of Autumn Moon (Sam Lee), an aimless young gangster searching for meaning in a world seemingly without a future. When he meets and falls in love with the terminally ill Ping (Neiky Yim Hui Chi), he makes it his mission to save her—a quest that only leads him deeper into a violent underworld. Shooting on a minuscule budget on strands of leftover film stock, director Fruit Chan crafts a stylistic tour de force bursting with woozy, dreamily desaturated images that evoke a sense of both heady abandon and overpowering ennui.


Observations on Film Art No. 50
Rock and Roll Style: Costumes and Props in Quadrophenia

Driven by the music of the Who’s classic rock opera from which it takes its name, Franc Roddam’s Quadrophenia is an exhilarating expression of youthful rebellion and a quintessential snapshot of the defiant, drug-fueled mod subculture of early-1960s London. In this edition of Observations on Film Art, Professor Jeff Smith examines the very specific role that clothing and fashion play in the film—how they served as cultural and class signifiers at a time when proclaiming one’s group identity (are you a mod, or a rocker?) was a matter of existential importance.

Spotlight on The Organizer


In the latest installment of our Spotlight series, critic Imogen Sara Smith examines Mario Monicelli’s politically engaged comedy The Organizer, a film that asks whether comedy can find room for such serious subject matter as trade unionism and class struggle.


Boy and the World


A riotous explosion of music and color depicts the wonders and struggles of the modern world as seen through the eyes of a young boy.


Labor and Love: 8 Documentaries by Deepa Dhanraj


Deepa Dhanraj’s films are decolonial feminism in action. A filmmaker whose intersectional view of gender oppression and collaborative approach to documentary were far ahead of their time, Dhanraj has dealt frankly with issues of class, caste, labor, patriarchy, and state violence over the course of a long and fiercely engaged career. In 1980, she founded the Yugantar Film Collective along with cinematographer Navroze Contractor, activist Abha Bhaiya, and writer Meera Rao, and the group went on to create a series of works that spoke to working-class women’s experiences, struggles, and strategies of resistance within Indian society. Curated by Devika Girish, this series brings the Yugantar films together with some of Dhanraj’s later documentaries, all of them invaluable, on-the-ground records of India’s feminist movement that still serve as models for how to forge a vital activist cinema.

FEATURING: Maid Servant (1981), Tobacco Embers (1982), Is This Just a Story? (1983), Sudesha (1983), What Happened to This City? (1986), Something Like a War (1991), Love in the Time of AIDS (2006), Invoking Justice (2011)

Spring Blossom*


This unusually honest, perceptive account of adolescent yearning is the rare coming-of-age tale crafted by an actual teenager.

The Last Days of Chez Nous


Writer Helen Garner and director Gillian Armstrong chart a family’s dissolution in this complex, bittersweet look at the subtle tectonic shifts that rock a household.

More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming: Ester Krumbachová: Phantom of the Czechoslovak New Wave, Honor Among Lovers (1931), Merrily We Go to Hell (1932), Entre nous (1983), Ornette: Made in America (1985), Welcome II the Terrordome (1995), The Stunt Woman (1996), The Intruder (2005), Home (2008), White Material (2009), Abuse of Weakness (2013), Things to Come (2016), Lady of the Night (2017), Ala Kachuu – Take and Run (2020), The Couple Next Door (2020), Bleue (2021), Neptune Frost (2021), Loving Highsmith (2022)


Buster’s Beginnings


Before he established himself as the most daring director-star of the silent era, Buster Keaton got his start in films as a sidekick to the wildly popular comedian Rosce “Fatty” Arbuckle, honing his soon-to-be-iconic deadpan persona and learning the art of moviemaking from the inside out over the course of more than a dozen two-reel shorts that they made together, often passing the director’s megaphone back and forth to frame each other’s gags. Representing the meeting point between Arbuckle’s exuberant slapstick style and Keaton’s understated subtlety, these works stand as milestones in the evolution of silent comedy.

FEATURING: The Butcher Boy (1917), The Rough House (1917), His Wedding Night (1917), Oh Doctor! (1917), Coney Island (1917), Out West (1918), The Bell Boy (1918), Moonshine (1918), Good Night Nurse (1918), The Cook (1918), Back Stage (1919), The Hayseed (1919), The Garage (1920)

Thirteen-year-old Lucie is alone during the summer holidays when she meets a mysterious boy named Léo. Though she sees him as a remedy for her loneliness, strange events come to pass as they spend time together.



Confined by her orthodontic headwear, an alienated teenage girl seeks release through a series of transgressions in this surreally stylized vision of adolescent ennui giving way to shocking rebellion.

The Couple Next Door


A single woman’s feelings of loneliness begin to stir when an eccentric African couple moves in to her building.

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run


Nineteen-year-old Sezim wants to fulfill her dream of studying in the Kyrgyz capital when she is kidnapped by a group of young men, taken to the hinterlands, and forced to marry a stranger. Torn between her desire for freedom and the constraints of Kyrgyz culture, Sezim desperately seeks a way out.

Who I Am and What I Want


Appropriately crude hand-drawn animation evokes the manic rantings and ramblings of a singularly self-deluded man.

Lady of the Night


The dynamics between friends are challenged when Martin arrives at a Christmas party wearing a dress. As hidden desires come forth, the evening becomes an exploration of gender roles.


Back by Popular Demand

Don’t miss these viewer favorites, returning to the Channel in March!

FEATURING: Written on the Wind (1956)*, Touch of Evil (1958)*, The Bedroom Window (1987)

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