Cinema Libre is releasing Creating Woodstock (DVD: $19.99) on July 30. With the future of the highly anticipated Woodstock 50 music festival unclear, a younger generation may not know that the original “Three Days of Peace and Music” were also plagued by uncertainty, last-minute venue changes, a lack of headliners and permits…and in fact almost didn’t happen. With more than 70 hours of interviews with Woodstock producers, planners, and performers, director Mick Richards, who attended the 1969 festival as a teenager, has created the most comprehensive and deeply researched look back at how the event came to be in the documentary Creating Woodstock. Three decades in the making, the film resurrects the original site blueprints, features interviews with the founders of Woodstock Ventures, and takes viewers from the initial idea of the “happening” to the moments when the last festival goer stumbled off a once pastoral alfalfa field. Including never-before-seen private film and rare archival video footage, and original interviews with key figures, Creating Woodstock also feature first-hand accounts of little known stories woven throughout the film, such as when Jimi Hendrix was stranded at the airport and hitched a ride to the site, or when a bank manager was awoken in the middle of the night to get money to pay The Who—money that needed to be helicoptered to the band before they would go on stage, much like the personal supply of strawberries that Janis Joplin required.
The Criterion Collection’s September slate kicks off September 3 with a 4K Blu-ray restoration of Marco Bellocchio’s provocative 1965 Italian-language debut Fists in the Pocket (Blu-ray: $39.95), which follows a young man who takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions. Coming on September 10 is Ritwik Ghatak’s 1960 family tragedy The Cloud-Capped Star (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a masterpiece of Bengali cinema that tells the story of a family that has been uprooted by the Partition of India and has come to depend on its eldest daughter, the self-sacrificing Neeta (Supriya Choudhury). Arriving September 17 is the home video debut of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1946 final film Cluny Brown (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a zany, zippy comedy of manners set in England on the cusp of World War II, starring Jennifer Jones in a rare comedic turn as an irrepressible heroine sent to work as a parlor maid at a stuffy country manor. Also slated for September 17 is filth maestro John Waters’s 1981 film Polyester ((DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), featuring his muse Divine as Baltimore housewife Francine Fishpaw, a heroine blessed with a keen sense of smell, cursed with a troubled family, and relieved by a handsome hunk (Tab Hunter). Extras include an interactive “Odorama” technology scratch-and-sniff card. Scheduled for September 24 is Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 final silent era film The Circus (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), featuring Chaplin’s Little Tramp as he flees into a traveling circus and soon becomes the star of the show. Bonus features include a new 4K digital restoration of Chaplin’s 1969 re-release of the film. Also coming September 24 is a 2K digital restoration of Bill Forsyth’s offbeat 1983 small-town fable Local Hero (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), in which a Texas oil guy (Peter Riegert) is dispatched by his crackpot boss (Burt Lancaster) to a remote seaside village in Scotland with orders to buy out the town and develop the region for an oil refinery.
Virgil Films & Entertainment is releasing Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? (DVD: 2 discs, $24.95), slated for August 13. An intimate portrait of one of the most famous saxophone players in the world, Clarence Clemons—known as “Big Man” and a lifetime member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band—was followed by director, friend, and photographer Nick Mead, who documented Clarence’s transcendent awakening overseas in a spiritual journey to China. Once Clemons had returned to the States, Mead decided to keep the cameras rolling, which is when tragedy struck: while in Florida, Clarence suffered a stroke and passed away. With the help of producer Joe Amodei, the film became a biography of his life and a love letter and farewell from those that knew him best. Featuring interviews with President Bill Clinton, Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Jake Clemons, and former band mates, friends, and close family members, Who Do I Think I Am? highlights Clemons’s life as musician and member of the E Street band while also presenting another side of the man not many knew when he was away from bright stage lights.
On June 4, HBO Home Video released Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland. On July 10, 2015, a politically engaged 28-year-old African American woman from Chicago was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. After three days in custody, Sandra Bland was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell. Part legal thriller, part parable about race in America, filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner’s documentary follows the Bland family and legal team from the first weeks after her death as they try to find out what really happened.