Culture

4 Incredible Cult Films Coming to Criterion Blu Ray In August, September, and October

4.  Y Tu Mama Tambien on August 19, 2014

Special features of note:

  • Two new pieces on the making of the film, featuring interviews, recorded at the time of production and in 2014, with actors Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú; Alfonso Cuarón; cowriter Carlos Cuarón; and Lubezki
  • New interview with philosopher Slavoj Žižek about the film’s social and political aspects

This 2002 coming-of-age comedy-drama from Mexico was one of my favorites during my high school and college years working at an art house movie theatre. It starts with the American Pie premise but infuses it with amazing, artistic photography and then deeper insights about life and death, philosophy, friendships, and relationships. Looks like it’s on Netflix streaming… I should probably give it a re-watch…

And what’s the deal with this trendy neo-Marxist, postmodernist “philosopher” Slavoj Žižek showing up all over the place? His documentary The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is also on Netflix and while I’ve tried watching it a few times I have yet to succeed in completing it… So silly and boring, but, alas, rising in influence and popularity in the culture such that he’s probably in need of a dissection soon in list form…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihj7wnz3-Cw

3. Eraserhead arrives 16 September, 2014

Special features of note:

  • “Eraserhead” Stories, a 2001 documentary by Lynch on the making of the film
  • New 2K digital restorations of six short films by Lynch: Six Men Getting Sick (1967), The Alphabet(1968), The Grandmother (1970), The Amputee, Version 1 and Version 2 (1974), and Premonitions Following an Evil Deed (1995), all with video introductions by Lynch

On my to-do list: write a list article ranking David Lynch’s best movies. Where would Eraserhead go for you? It probably shouldn’t be at the top, right? Is Mulholland Drive his best? Or is Wild at Heart an underrated gem?

2. La Dolce Vita on 21 October, 2014

Special features of note:

  • New interview with filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, who worked as assistant director on the film
  • Scholar David Forgacs discusses the period in Italy’s history when the film was made
  • New interview with Italian film journalist Antonello Sarno about the outlandish fashions seen in the film

There are too many Fellini films that I haven’t seen but La Dolce Vita is one that I have seen and eagerly want to again. What are some of the other Italian films I should be sure and see to fill out my understanding of the period and its genres? Pasolini is another that I’ll want to finish watching. I need to get around to watching all of the Trilogy of Life now that they’re out on Criterion too. (Back at the height of my DVD and film obsession period a decade ago they were only available on import DVD…)

1. F for Fake on 21 October, 2014

Special features of note:

  • Audio commentary from 2005 by cowriter and star Oja Kodar and director of photography Gary Graver
  • Introduction from 2005 by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
  • Orson Welles: One-Man Band, a documentary from 1995 about Welles’s unfinished projects
  • Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery, a fifty-two-minute documentary from 1997 about art forger Elmyr de Hory
  • 60 Minutes interview from 2000 with Clifford Irving about his Howard Hughes autobiography hoax

I have very fond memories of being introduced to this quirky Orson Welles project at movie night — the weekly gathering of art house employees at the managers’ apartment for a marathon of oddball films, where I gained my initiation into the world of art film appreciation. It starts out as a documentary and then gradually twists the viewer’s expectations, revealing itself to include fictional elements too, providing a unique provocation on truth, lies, and art.

*****

In the future I plan to write — and perhaps assign — more lists exploring the hundreds of films in the Criterion Collection and the many genres and themes they explore. Any suggestions or requests?