The Criterion Collection’s February 2019 titles have been announced and their already teased edition of Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger (1990) now has a street date. MMC! imagined an edition of Burnett’s film just five months ago and the two versions don’t look all that different, although I’m very happy to see an essay provided by one of MMC! favourite film writers, Ashley Clark, on the actual CC release.
Also arriving to the Collection is a Blugrade of Berlin Alexanderplatz (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1980) as well as Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971), Shame (Ingmar Bergman, 1968), and La vérité (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1960), a title MMC! can now strike off its list of future proposals!
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents To Sleep with Anger.
Charles Burnett crafts a masterpiece of independent cinema with To Sleep with Anger, a magical realist exploration of a black middle-class family living in South Central Los Angeles. Family tensions are already simmering in the household of Gideon (Paul Butler) and Suzie (Mary Alice) when their old friend Harry Mention (Danny Glover in arguably his greatest performance) turns up on their doorstep unannounced looking for hospitality and a temporary roof over his head. Reminding them of their Southern roots, Gideon and Suzie cannot refuse his request but when Gideon mysteriously suffers from an unexpected stroke, Harry’s easy charm gives way to a malevolent spell that provokes turmoil throughout the family, setting son against son and reviving past hatreds. Burnett reveals himself as not just the master of poetic urban realism that created his classic first film, Killer of Sheep, but an expert interpreter of African-American folk culture and one of the great chroniclers of the American experience.
- 4K digital transfer, approved by director Charles Burnett, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- The Trouble with Harry, an introduction by director Ernest Dickerson
- New interviews with Burnett and actors Glover, Alice, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Carl Lumbly
- PLUS: An essay by critic Andrew Chan
It’s another splendid month of announcements from the Criterion Collection. Without any doubt, I’m most interested in the release of Frank Borzage’s Moonrise (1948). This is mainly due to my fascination with MoMA’s recent program, Republic Rediscovered. Presented in two halves, with the first having wrapped up earlier this month and the latter half arriving in August, the series is presented by Martin Scorsese and the Film Foundation and offers 30 new restorations (compliments of Paramount Pictures) from the acclaimed poverty row studio, Republic Pictures. Moonrise will join the Criterion Collection in May and screen as part of the program’s second half in August. Until then, enjoy Gina Telaroli’s wonderful trailer.