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Sunday, September 25, 2022

May 2022 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced – CriterionCast.com

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For May, the Channel will feature films from Richard Linklater, Christine Choy, Juzo Itami, and more!
Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.
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For more than three decades, Richard Linklater has maintained a fierce creative independence—forged in the vibrant alternative scene of Austin, Texas—across boundary-pushing microbudget experiments and major studio projects alike. Selected by the director himself, this tour through his filmography encompasses everything from a loose-limbed 1920s heist romp (The Newton Boys) to an animated science-fiction head-trip (A Scanner Darkly) to a ripped-from-the-headlines dark comedy (Bernie), bringing together unsung gems and modern classics. Though his work zigs and zags unpredictably, it’s united by an abiding fascination with the complexities of human connection and the inexorability of time’s passage—whether it be across one day (as in his Gen X anthem Slacker) or more than a decade (as in his twelve-years-in-the-making magnum opus Boyhood). Mixing features, rare short films, documentaries, and experimental works, this personal selection of Linklateriana reveals the remarkable breadth and depth of one of contemporary cinema’s most restlessly innovative voices.
Features
Shorts
*Available July 1
In addition to being one of the only women to direct movies in studio-era Hollywood, Ida Lupino was a formidable and versatile actor who brought a defiant toughness and intelligence to her many memorable screen performances. After failed attempts by studio moguls to mold her into another blonde starlet à la Jean Harlow, Lupino dyed her hair brown and stole the show with her steely presence in noir classics like They Drive by Night and High Sierra. Though she began to focus primarily on producing and directing her own films in the late forties, she continued to act regularly, delivering searing performances in lesser-known gems like the atmospheric western noir Lust for Gold and Robert Aldrich’s slashing Hollywood-on-Hollywood exposé The Big Knife.
Featuring an episode of the Criterion Originals series Creative Marriages on Itami’s collaboration with Nobuko Miyamoto
Maverick director Juzo Itami didn’t direct his first feature—the alternately bawdy and bittersweet satire The Funeral—until the age of fifty, but it announced the arrival of a fully formed sensibility unafraid of skewering the most sensitive aspects of Japanese society. Though his follow-up, the rapturous “ramen western” Tampopo, would become his biggest international hit, it is only one jewel in a remarkably rich filmography that abounds in funny, sensual, and surreal pleasures. Frequently built around strong women—almost always embodied by his regular leading lady and real-life wife, the indomitable Nobuko Miyamoto—Itami’s films take bold, iconoclastic aim at everything from corporate corruption (A Taxing Woman) to mortality (The Last Dance). With his incendiary yakuza spoof The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion, Itami may have succeeded too well; the film’s blockbuster success made the director a target of violent yakuza retaliation—and allegedly played a role in his mysterious death at age sixty-four.
Features
Shorts
In his book Films of Endearment, critic Michael Koresky embarks on a personal and historical journey with his mother to rewatch movies from the 1980s she had first introduced him to, igniting his love of film at a young age. In this selection of films inspired by the theme of the book, Koresky presents a lineup of eighties movies starring some of American cinema’s most brilliant, era-defining actresses, from major Oscar winners (Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Anjelica Huston, Jessica Lange) to the undersung stars of independent gems (Kaycee Moore, Seret Scott, Helen Shaver). All featuring women in leading roles, these films reveal that a decade too often remembered for its machismo is abundant in stirring, adult, beautifully acted dramas focused on female characters.
While recent years have marked a breakthrough in Asian American representation in mainstream cinema, there exists a vibrant counter-history of boundary-pushing independent and experimental filmmaking by Asian American artists that remains largely overlooked. Revisiting the wide-ranging film and video work produced by Asian American filmmakers in the 1990s, My Sight Is Lined with Visions spotlights iconoclastic voices whose work challenges both stylistic conventions and traditional modes of representation, including Trinh T. Minh-ha, whose 1989 feature Surname Viet Given Name Nam heralded a decade of formally ambitious filmmaking to come; Rea Tajiri (Strawberry Fields), whose work confronts the scars of Japanese American interment; Spencer Nakasako (Kelly Loves Tony), who pioneered a form of collaborative documentary filmmaking that gives young people the lens to tell their own stories; and Justin Lin and Quentin Lee, whose outré Shopping for Fangs deserves to takes its place as a queer cult classic. This collection is curated by Abby Sun and Keisha Knight, and is an expansion of their online screening and discussion series, which ran from January 2021–January 2022.
Features
Shorts
Exuding a gruff, jaded cynicism, Jean Gabin became the defining face of pre–New Wave French cinema, embodying its downtrodden, working-class heroes with a mix of smoldering charisma and sardonic ennui. His renowned collaborations with leading directors like Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion, La bête humaine) and Julien Duvivier (Pépé le moko) placed him at the center of the burgeoning poetic-realist movement and, inevitably, attracted the attention of Hollywood—which sought to sell his Gallic earthiness to American audiences in the fascinating, if ill-fated, noir Moontide. Returning to France, Gabin took his rightful place as a living, almost mythic symbol of his country’s national cinema, reuniting with Renoir for the spectacular period musical French Cancan and teaming up with his next-generation successor, Jean-Paul Belmondo, in the alcohol-soaked seriocomedy A Monkey in Winter.

This revelatory, award-winning debut feature from codirec­tors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria. Shot on richly textured 16 mm film and infused with the spirit of neorealism, Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) traces the journeys of two distantly connected strangers—Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), an electrician dealing with the fallout of a family tragedy, and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser supporting her pregnant teenage sister—as they each pursue their dream of starting a new life in Europe while bumping up against the harsh economic realities of a world in which every interaction is a transaction. From these intimate stories emerges a vivid snapshot of life in contemporary Lagos, whose social fabric is captured in all its vibrancy and complexity.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A conversation between the directors moderated by filmmaker Bette Gordon, deleted scenes, three short films by the directors, and more.

After a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, Satoko (Hiromi Nagasaku) and her husband (Arata Iura) decide to adopt a child. Over the next six years, the middle-class couple and their young son, Asato (Reo Sato), settle into a comfortable, albeit routine, life. The family’s orderly existence is shattered by the arrival of Hikari (Aju Makita), a young woman claiming to be Asato’s biological mother, demanding his return. As tensions mount, Satoko grows more and more emboldened to defend her family. Weaving together multiple timelines and genres with contemplative pacing and a keen sense of place, acclaimed director Naomi Kawase crafts an emotionally rich, deeply compassionate look at the many definitions of motherhood.

This definitive 1970s conspiracy thriller offers a chilling vision of a paranoid America quivering with unseen menace.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An introduction by filmmaker Alex Cox, interviews with director Alan J. Pakula, a program on cinematographer Gordon Willis, and more.
Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant are the ultimate in chic sophistication in Stanley Donen’s glittering blend of stylish suspense and macabre wit.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary featuring Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone.
Humphrey Bogart received his star-making breakthrough with this landmark crime drama that helped usher in a new era of noir nihilism.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A conversation on director Raoul Walsh between film programmer Dave Kehr and critic Farran Smith Nehme, documentaries on Walsh and Bogart, a featurette on the making of the film, and more.

How did classic Hollywood’s special-effects artists create the extraordinary illusions that thrilled and delighted generations of moviegoers long before the advent of digital technology? In this new original series, visual-effects artist Craig Barron and sound designer Ben Burtt dig into the studio vaults to uncover the rare, behind-the-scenes footage that reveals the process behind movie magic. First up, learn the surprising tricks used to create the realistic torpedo footage seen in the 1943 Humphrey Bogart submarine thriller Action in the North Atlantic.

Building from an early start in nonfiction filmmaking, Naomi Kawase has developed a lyrical, quietly affecting body of work over the past three decades, exploring Japanese family structures and cultural values through a profoundly empathetic lens. Describing her narrative works as “fiction with a documentarian’s gaze,” Kawase steeps her films in the beauty and sensual pleasures of the natural world, finding deep spiritual and philosophical resonances. Featuring the moving slice-of-life drama Sweet Bean and the streaming premiere of Kawase’s latest, the heartrending family portrait True Mothers, this sampler of some of Kawase’s recent films offers an introduction to an artist of supreme sensitivity and emotional insight.

Featuring the documentary Marguerite as She Was
Writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras explores the matrix of love, desire, and language in a riveting expression of her experimental approach to filmmaking.

New-media visionary Shu Lea Cheang’s ecosatire offers a bracing, queer feminist response to the patriarchal poison of corporate capitalism.

An electrifying activist spirit runs through the work of Chinese American documentarian Christine Choy, an Oscar nominee who has been using her camera to shed light on hidden social histories and injustices for nearly fifty years. Whether tracing the evolution of Chinese American labor organizing (From Spikes to Spindles) or exposing the devastating legacy of American imperialism (Bittersweet Survival), Choy pursues truth with an uncompromising fearlessness that has the power to reorient her viewers’ understanding of the world.
More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming:

Martin Scorsese’s chronicle of the Band’s legendary farewell concert is an at once ecstatic and elegiac summation of a vital era in American rock music.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Two audio commentaries featuring Scorsese, crew members, and musical performers; interviews with Scorsese and Robbie Robertson; a documentary on the making of the film; and more.

Lionel Rogosin’s landmark of American neorealism is an indispensable document of life on 1950s New York’s skid row.

A farmer haunted by alcoholism and regret is the unforgettable antihero of this true-life tragedy, both a postcard from paradise and a cautionary tale for our times.

The killing of an unarmed Black man by a Chinese American police officer sheds urgent light on the relationship between race, justice, and two marginalized communities.

Filmed by a Palestinian farmer, this work of cinematic activism is an extraordinary account of nonviolent resistance in a West Bank village.
More documentaries featured in this month’s programming:

Ringo Starr narrates this Seussian, psychedelic animated fable, featuring a story and songs by pop wizard Harry Nilsson.

Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills make for a delightful duo in this sweet-spirited celebration of sisterhood from director Ida Lupino.

Terry Gilliam invites you on a fantastic voyage through time and space in one of his most beloved films, at once a giddy fairy tale, a revisionist history lesson, and a satire of technology gone awry.

Baseball legend Jackie Robinson stars as himself in this inspiring account of how he overcame prejudice to become the first Black American to play in the major leagues.

Featuring introductions to all shorts by the filmmaker
Hailed for her vibrant explorations of culture clash and connection in films like Monsoon Wedding and Mississippi Masala, Indian American auteur Mira Nair has pursued an equally distinguished career as a director of short films that further explore the ways in which deep-rooted cultural traditions and prejudices shape everyday life. Bringing together early documentary works—including the revealing study of Indian moral hypocrisy India Cabaret, about the experiences of women working in a Mumbai strip club—alongside narrative shorts like the searing portrait of post–9/11 anti-Muslim racism 11’09”01—September 11, this collection reflects Nair’s deep and abiding concern for society’s most marginalized members.

E•pis•to•lar•y: Letter to Jean Vigo and Zéro de conduite
Cinematic essayist Lynne Sachs ponders the contemporary resonances of Jean Vigo’s sublime antiauthoritarian classic.

A Few Miles South and Eating Raoul
You are what you eat—literally—in this double helping of deliciously macabre cannibal capers.

Cycles and Privilege
Women’s bodily rhythms are explored in two intimate, formally inventive films that also question how, why, and by whom these stories are told.

Family Portrait and The Machine That Kills Bad People
The act of photography takes on disturbing dimensions in a warped animation and a rare combination of neorealism and fantasy.

The Funeral and Bernie
You can’t spell funeral without “fun” in two boldly irreverent satires of the business of death.

Inna de Yard: The Soul of Jamaica and Buena Vista Social Club
Two graceful, intimate, and life-affirming documentaries pay tribute to the veterans of thriving music scenes in Cuba and Jamaica.

High Sierra and Any Number Can Win
Tough guys try to beat the house as they go for the ultimate jackpot—a casino heist—in a landmark noir and an ice-cool French caper.

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and Certain Women
Thematic connections reveal themselves gradually in two delicately balanced triptychs from Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Kelly Reichardt.
*Available in the U.S. only
Ryan is the Editor-In-Chief / Founder of CriterionCast.com, and the host / co-founder / producer of the various podcasts here on the site. You can find his website at RyanGallagher.org, follow him on Twitter (@RyanGallagher), or send him an email: [email protected].
For April, the Channel will feature films from John Ford, Guru Dutt, Anne Fontaine, and more!
This year’s festival ran February 23-28, and here are some highlights.
For March, the Channel will feature films from the Pre-Code era, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Kazuo Hara, and more!
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