The Criterion Collection announces July slate

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
April 15th, 2011

The middle of April has become kind of a film nerds dream. First, earlier this week the full lineup for this year’s Cannes Film Festival was released, and now, as is usual for the middle of a month, the Criterion Collection has announced yet another month’s slate of releases.

And frankly, July can’t get here fast enough.

First up, in the realm of re-releases, we are privy to three new Blu-ray upgrades of three of the Collection’s most interesting films. Jean Cocteau’s masterpiece, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will be hitting in HD on July 19th, coming with brand new artwork (stunning, if I may add) and all. The release will feature Philip Glass’s La Belle et la Bete opera, two commentaries, a documentary, an interview with cinematographer Henri Alekan, a restoration demonstration (something EVERY release should come with in my opinion), and photos.

Joining it will be Blu-ray re-releases of both Akira Kurosawa’s great film HIGH AND LOW, and Mike Leigh’s NAKED, the latter of which will be getting an artwork upgrade as well. Both are fantastic films from two iconic filmmakers, particularly the former, which in my opinion may very well be Kurosawa’s best film.

Rounding out this July’s slate are three new additions to the collection, one of which has been a long time coming.

Jean-Pierre Melville is returning to the collection with the Jean-Paul Belmondo starring LEON MORIN, PRIEST.  Hitting both DVD and Blu-ray on July 26, the film is relatively short on features, but it does come with a visual essay, an interview with both Melville and Belmondo, and a trailer. I’m not familiar with the film, but the premise itself does really sound interesting, and there is no one that gets this writer more excited than the always watchable Belmondo. Melville is one of the greatest filmmakers of his time, so count me more than in for this one.

Next, Satyajit Ray is joining the collection with THE MUSIC ROOM, which will be hitting DVD and Blu-ray. This is definitely an interesting addition as Ray is not a filmmaker may people seem to either know about or talk about, so this is far and away the most intriguing release of this slate. The film follows an aristocrat who tries desperately to hold on to his way of life.  Featuring a documentary, interviews and a roundtable discussion, this release is definitely one to keep the keenest of eyes on. It may not be the deepest on features, but it is one hell of a set.

And finally, the one a lot of people have been waiting for, LIFE DURING WARTIME. The Todd Solondz film has been hinted at quite a bit over the past month or so, and for good reason, as it has finally made its way into the July slate. The film is a neo-sequel to Solondz’s masterpiece, HAPPINESS, and comes stocked with an audio Q/A with Solondz, a documentary and a new “video piece.” Again, it’s far from the biggest release you’ll see around, but again, it’s a film that’s more than deserving of the wonderful Criterion “C” adorning it.

Overall, this is definitely a bit smaller of a slate in many ways, at least in comparison to the upcoming couple of months, but it’s a wonderful blend of re-releases and new additions. What are you looking forward to most?

Check out all the details over at Criterion!

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