Christmas may only be a few days away, The Criterion Collection has released an early Christmas presents with March 2019 UK Slate. A month of classic Japanese Ghost Stories, Classic Thomas Mann and a slow-burning portrait of family resilience.
On 4 March comes UGETSU. Kenji Mizoguchi’s exquisite ghost story and fatalistic wartime tragedy reveal essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.
Following on 18 March is DEATH IN VENICE. Based on the classic novella by Thomas Mann, this late-career masterpiece from Luchino Visconti is a meditation on the nature of art, the allure of beauty, and the inescapability of death.
On 25 March arrives TO SLEEP WITH ANGER. A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, Charles Burnett’s sublimely stirring film is a portrait of family resilience steeped in the traditions of black mysticism and folklore
Ugetsu | 4th March 2019
By the time he made Ugetsu, Kenji Mizoguchi was already an elder statesman of Japanese cinema, fiercely revered by Akira Kurosawa and other directors of a younger generation. And with this exquisite ghost story, a fatalistic wartime tragedy derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, he created a touchstone of his art, his long takes and sweeping camera guiding the viewer through a delirious narrative about two villagers whose pursuit of fame and fortune leads them far astray from their loyal wives. Moving between the terrestrial and the otherworldly, Ugetsu reveals essential truths about the ravages of war, the plight of women, and the pride of men.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
Audio commentary by critic, ﬁlmmaker, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director, a 1975 documentary by Kaneto Shindo
Two Worlds Intertwined, a 2005 appreciation of Ugetsu by Masahiro Shinoda
Process and Production, a 2005 interview with Tokuzo Tanaka, ﬁrst assistant director on Ugetsu
Interview from 1992 with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa
An essay by film critic Phillip Lopate and three short stories that influenced Mizoguchi in making the film
Cover by Michael Boland
JAPAN | 1953 | 97 MINUTES | BLACK & WHITE | 1.37:1 | JAPANESE
Death In Venice | 18th March 2019
Based on the classic novella by Thomas Mann, this late-career masterpiece from Luchino Visconti is a meditation on the nature of art, the allure of beauty, and the inescapability of death. A fastidious composer reeling from a disastrous concert, Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde, in an exquisitely nuanced performance) travels to Venice to recover. There, he is struck by a vision of pure beauty in the form of a young boy named Tadzio (Björn Andrésen), his infatuation developing into an obsession even as rumors of a plague spread through the city. Setting Mann’s story of queer desire and bodily decay against the sublime music of Gustav Mahler, Death in Venice is one of cinema’s most exalted literary adaptations, as sensually rich as it is allegorically resonant.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Luchino Visconti: Life as in a Novel, a 2008 documentary about the director, featuring Visconti; actors Burt Lancaster, Silvana Mangano, and Marcello Mastroianni; filmmakers Francesco Rosi and Franco Zeffirelli; and others
Alla ricerca di Tadzio, a 1970 short film by Visconti about his efforts to cast the role of Tadzio
New program featuring literature and cinema scholar Stefano Albertini
Interview from 2006 with costume designer Piero Tosi
Excerpt from a 1990 program about the music in Visconti’s films, featuring Bogarde and actor Marisa Berenson
Interview with Visconti from 1971
Visconti’s Venice, a short 1970 behind-the-scenes documentary featuring Visconti and Bogarde
PLUS: An essay by critic Dennis Lim
ITALY | 1971 | 131 MINUTES | COLOUR | 2.35:1 | ENGLISH
To Sleep With Anger | 25th March 2019
A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, this third feature by Charles Burnett is a singular piece of American mythmaking. In a towering performance, Danny Glover plays the enigmatic southern drifter Harry, a devilish charmer who turns up out of the blue on the South Central Los Angeles doorstep of his old friends. In short order, Harry’s presence turns a seemingly peaceful household upside down, exposing smoldering tensions between parents and children, tradition and change, virtue and temptation. Interweaving evocative strains of gospel and blues with rich, poetic-realist images, To Sleep with Anger is a sublimely stirring film from an autonomous artistic sensibility, a portrait of family resilience steeped in the traditions of black mysticism and folklore.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by director Charles Burnett, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview program featuring Burnett, actors Danny Glover and Sheryl Lee Ralph, and associate producer Linda Koulisis
A Walk with Charles Burnett, a new hour-long conversation between Burnett and filmmaker Robert Townsend that revisits Burnett’s films and shooting locations
Short video tribute to Burnett produced for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards ceremony in 2017
PLUS: An essay by critic Ashley Clark
New cover by Charly Palmer
UNITED STATES | 1990 | 107 MINUTES | COLOUR | 1.85:1 | ENGLISH