The Criterion Collection’s February 2020 slate kicks off February 11 with Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning 2018 black-and-white Spanish and Mixtec-language film Roma (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), a recreation of the early-1970s Mexico City of the director’s childhood that depicts a period in the life of a middle-class family through the experiences of the indigenous domestic worker (Yalitza Aparicio) who keeps the household running. Coming February 18 is the Blu-ray debut of filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara’s 1984 Japanese-language documentary Antonio Gaudi (Blu-ray: $39.95), a hypnotic tribute to the titular visionary Catalan architect with a tour of Gaudí’s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona. Also arriving February 18 is a 4K restoration of the 1968 Italian-language drama Teorema (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a provocative and poetic treatise on sexuality, faith, and the bourgeois family from enfant terrible Pier Paolo Pasolini, starring Terence Stamp as the mysterious stranger who seduces the members of a wealthy Milanese family. Slated for February 25 is the Blu-ray debut of director Jennie Livingston’s wildly influential 1990 landmark documentary Paris Is Burning (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), an extraordinary celebration of 1980s Harlem’s vibrant drag-ball culture that was shot over seven years and offers an intimate portrait of rival fashion “houses,” from fierce contests for trophies to house mothers offering sustenance in a world rampant with homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty. Also coming February 25 is Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman (DVD: 3 discs, $79.95; Blu-ray: 3 discs, $99.95), which collects a trio of the renowned special-effects Czechoslovak fabulist’s most enchanting films in new 4K restorations: the prehistory boys’ adventure Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955), Jules Verne’s sourced doomsday escapade Invention for Destruction (1958), and the 18th–century tall tale adaptation The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962).
To support schools in providing character education as part of their work to teach the whole child, Apperson, Inc, has announced the launch of The Character Tree, a new character development online resource for first and second grade students that provides appealing online video lessons to teach children about positive character traits. The Character Tree uses engaging discussions, real-life examples from history, role modeling, and hands-on materials to emphasize positive character traits such as kindness, bravery, hope, leadership, gratitude, and perseverance. The subscription, which is free for the 2019-20 school year, provides access to 32 videos featuring puppets asking and answering questions, as well as discussions about historic figures such as Rosa Parks and Jane Goodall. The lessons are standards-aligned and each comes with a teacher’s guide and printable resources for students. Teachers and parents can sign up for free access to The Character Tree for the 2019-2020 school year by visiting: https://charactertree.com/sign-up/#join, and for more info and to subscribe or view video samples, visit https://charactertree.com/.
First Run Features has announced the upcoming release of Corporate Coup d’Etat (DVD: $24.95), slated for November 12. Filmmaker Fred Peabody’s investigative documentary examines the detrimental effects of greedy corporations on democracy in the United States, exposing how big businesses and billionaires have taken control of the American political process, and in doing so have brought economic hardship and ruin to vast swaths of the country. Combining insights from political thinkers and journalists with the experiences of citizens in the “sacrifice zones” of Camden, NJ and Youngstown, OH, where factory closures and outsourcing have created a grim landscape of desolation and human suffering, the provocative and revealing Corporate Coup d’Etat shows how our democracy first began selling its soul to big corporations, which opened the door for lobbyists and business-friendly politicians to take control in Washington and undermine the will of the people.
The Criterion Collection kicks off the New Year on January 7 with George Cukor’s effervescent 1938 romantic comedy Holiday (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in this second film adaptation of a hit 1928 play by Philip Barry. Slated for January 21 is Jean-Luc Godard’s long-unavailable sophomore feature Le petit soldat (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), the director’s first collaboration with his iconic muse Anna Karina for a thriller that tackles the use of torture in the Algerian War. Coming January 28 is director Pedro Almodóvar’s beloved 1999 drama All About My Mother (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), the Spanish auteur’s Oscar-winning ode to maternal love and female fortitude, starring Cecilia Roth as the head of a surrogate family that includes a pregnant and HIV-positive nun (Penélope Cruz), an illustrious star of the stage (Marisa Paredes), and a transgender sex worker (Antonia San Juan). Finally, looks for a celebration of filmmaker Sidney Lumet with a new 4K restoration of his arresting 1964 nuclear-war thriller Fail Safe (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95) on January 28, along with a January 14 release of a Blu-ray edition of his 1960 Tennessee Williams adaptation The Fugitive Kind (Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani.
The Criterion Collection’s December releases kick off December 3 with a 4K restoration of Ronald Neame’s classic 1960 military drama Tunes of Glory (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), which is based on the novel by James Kennaway and stars Alec Guinness and John Mills at their finest in a struggle for control of a peacetime Scottish battalion. Also slated for December 3 (and never before available on Blu-ray or DVD) is the 1933 pre-Code melodrama The Story of Temple Drake (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Miriam Hopkins in an adaptation of William Faulkner’s controversial novel Sanctuary. Coming December 10 is a 4K restoration, 287-minute director’s cut of Wim Wenders’ 1991 German-language magnum opus Until the End of the World (DVD: 3 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: 2 discs, $39.95), a globe-trotting sci-fi epic featuring a dizzyingly eclectic soundtrack, that follows a woman (Solveig Dommartin) across continents as she pursues a mysterious stranger (William Hurt) in possession of a device that can make the blind see and bring dream images to waking life. Also arriving December 10 is a 2K restoration of Kelly Reichardt’s 2006 breakout feature Old Joy (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a microbudget indie film about old friends (Daniel London, Will Oldham) who reunite on a camping trip in the Oregon wilderness.
A brand-new director’s cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s critically acclaimed 1930s period film The Cotton Club Encore is slated for release on DVD and Blu-ray on December 10. Slated to screen at this year’s New York Film Festival on October 5 and be shown in select theaters on October 11, this is a new version of the 1984 film, which features an all-star cast including Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, Laurence Fishburne, and others. In this lavish, 1930s-era drama, Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club becomes a hotbed of passion and violence as the lives and loves of entertainers and gangsters collide. Now, Coppola’s extraordinary film is brought to vivid new life with never-before-seen scenes and musical sequences that deepen and enrich the storylines in a remastered and restored version that represents Coppola’s fully realized vision of the film. Additional scenes include an extended Gregory Hines and Maurice Hines tap performance, Lonette McKee’s brilliant rendition of Ethel Waters’ “Stormy Weather,” and Coppola’s originally envisioned ending.
First Run Features will release Montessori: Let the Child Be the Guide (DVD: $24.95) on September 10. Inherited from Maria Montessori in 1907, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational philosophy that celebrates and nurtures each child’s desire to learn, using an approach that values the human spirit and full development: physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. Curious to see how the Method works first hand, filmmaker Alexandre Mourot sets his camera up in the oldest Montessori school in France (with kids from 3 to 6) and the children guide the filmmaker through the whole school year, helping him understand the magic of their autonomy and self-esteem–hopefully, the seeds of a new society of peace and freedom–to which Montessori dedicated her life work.
Offering an in-depth look at the career of the titular celebrated journalist, Mike Wallace is Here (DVD: $26.98) is slated for release on October 29 from Magnolia Home Entertainment. Directed by Avi Belkin, this documentary showcases the hard-hitting nature of commentator Mike Wallace (1918-2012) via archival footage that offers an unflinching look at the legendary reporter who interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures in his over 50 years on air. With an aggressive reporting style and showmanship that redefined what America came to expect from broadcasters, Wallace’s storied body of work is prominently showcased throughout this film that incorporates decades of exclusive footage from the 60 Minutes vault.
Magnolia Home Entertainment has announced the upcoming release of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (DVD: $26.98), slated for September 17. Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, the film offers an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of acclaimed Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison (1931-2019). From her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, OH, to her 1970s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, Morrison led an assembly of her peers, critics, and colleagues on an exploration of race, America, history, and the human condition as seen through the prism of her own literature. The Pieces I Am includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works—including her novels The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Beloved—her role as an editor of iconic African American literature, and her time teaching at Princeton University. Bonus features include deleted scenes and portraits by Greenfield-Sanders.
The Criterion Collection’s November slate leads off November 12 with a 4K restoration of Greg Mottola’s 1996 comedy The Daytrippers (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), starring Hope Davis, Parker Posey, Anne Meara, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci in a tale centered on the case of a wife who turns to her strong-willed family when she discovers a love letter written to her husband by an unknown paramour. Coming November 19 is a three-hour director’s cut of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s intoxicating 1986 arthouse smash Betty Blue (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95), in which an easygoing would-be novelist (Jean-Hugues Anglade) begins a love affair with the tempestuous Betty (Béatrice Dalle) in a sunbaked French beach town. Also arriving November 19 is the home video debut of Paweł Pawlikowski’s sweeping, Oscar-nominated 2018 drama Cold War (DVD: $29.95, Blu-ray: $39.95), a tumultuous, passionate 15-year love story between a folk song-collecting musician (Tomasz Kot) and a captivating young singer (Joanna Kulig). Slated for November 26 is Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s beloved 1950 theater-world satire All About Eve (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: 2 discs, $39.95), featuring Bette Davis in an acid-tongued comeback performance as a Broadway legend who soon realizes that her supposed admirer (Anne Baxter) intends to use her as a stepping-stone to stardom. Also scheduled for November 26 and starring Bette Davis is Irving Rapper’s swoon-inducing 1942 melodrama Now, Voyager (DVD: 2 discs, $29.95; Blu-ray: $39.95)—debuting on Blu-ray—featuring the screen icon as a nervous spinster who looks for love and independence on a South American cruise.