Tigers Are Not Afraid (Issa Lopez, 2017)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Tigers Are Not Afraid.

Issa López’s festival-favourite is a darkly magical tale set in the real world tragedy of Mexico’s violent drug war, where thousands of murdered and missing people result in countless orphaned children forced onto the streets to fend for themselves. When her mother disappears, a young girl named Estrella uses one of three wishes granted to her to ask for her mother back and finds herself haunted by a vengeful ghost. Estrella takes up with a quartet of street kids led by Shine but the boys have their own problems, pursued by a vicious gang intent on reclaiming a lost iPhone. Blending artfully immediate handheld cinematography and convincing fantastical digital effects, López creates a realist fairy tale that stands as a prescient statement on Mexico’s deadly drug cartels and a hauntingly magical fairy tale.

Disc Features:

  • 2K digital transfer, approved by director Issa López, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with López, acting coach Fátima Toledo, and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro
  • Tan Callando, López’s 1994 student film made at Mexico’s National University, with introduction by the director
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by novelist Stephen King

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Underground (Emir Kusturica, 1995)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Underground.

criterion logoEmir Kusturica’s epic masterpiece recounts the demise of his native Yugoslavia through the metaphorical relationship of Blacky and Marko over fifty years.  The pair booze and brawl their way through World War II, enhancing their reputations as communist guerrilla fighters and black marketeers until Marko tricks Blacky and others into hiding in his cellar where they manufacture weapons for twenty years under the false understanding that the war continues.  This raucous and tragicomic parable won Kusturica the Palme d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and inspired a flurry of controversy that resulted in the filmmaker’s temporary retirement from the cinema.  Included here is Kusturica’s stunning, savage, and hilarious theatrical release and his five-hour television version, Once Upon a Time There Was a Country.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration of the theatrical version, approved by director Emir Kusturica, with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Once Upon a Time There Was a Country, the 5-hour mini-series cut of Underground for Serbian television
  • New interview with Kusturica on his influences, the film, its reception, and its legacy
  • Journalist Tommaso Di Francesco on Underground
  • Shooting Days: Emir Kusturica Directs Underground, Aleksandar Manic’s 73-minute documentary on the making of Underground
  • Underground at Cannes, footage from the post-screening party at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival
  • Guernica, Kusturica’s 1978 short film
  • Interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Sean Homer and production photos

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Invasion (Hugo Santiago, 1969)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Invasion.

criterion logoIn 1957, a small group of middle-aged men fight a clandestine battle against forces quietly invading and taking control of their city, Aquilea.  Enigmatic in its story-telling, Hugo Santiago’s once-lost film obscures the motivations of either side, leaving only a series of moves and counter-moves that evokes past dictatorial oppression and those still to come.  With stark, spare cinematography by Ricardo Aronovich, a lively and unnerving score by Edgardo Canton, and a screenplay written by Santiago with Argentine literary titans Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, Invasion is a tense and timeless portrait of resistance and an unheralded classic of international art house cinema and Latin American filmmaking.

Disc Features:

  • New, digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by Richard Peña, program director of New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center
  • New interview with Hugo Santiago
  • Los Contrabandistas (1967) and Los Taitas (1968), two short films by Santiago
  • The Others (1974), Santiago’s follow-up feature to Invasion, also co-written with Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares
  • Profile of a Writer: Jorge Luis Borges, an 80-minute documentary on the writer including dramatized sequences from his stories and interviews with Borges in the author’s home
  • Bioy, a 38-minute interview with the author
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring a new essay by Argentinian film scholar Maria de los Angeles Sanz

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Macario (Roberto Gavaldon, 1960)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Macario.

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Adapted by Emilio Carballido and filmmaker Roberto Gavaldón from legendary author B. Traven’s novella The Third Guest, itself inspired by a tale of the Brothers Grimm, comes this masterpiece of fantastic cinema.  A poor woodcutter and family man, Macario (Ignacio López Tarso), is obsessed with ending his hunger and hides in the woods to enjoy one filling meal, only to meet a series of mystical visitors and befriend Death himself (Enrique Lucero).  Macario is bestowed a water with the power to surmount death and sets out to improve the lives of his family, only to become the object of scrutiny for the local Catholic authorities.  A late classic of the Golden Age of Mexican film and a major touchstone for magical realism in Latin American cinema, Macario achieved international acclaim and was the first Mexican feature film nominated for the Academy Award.

Disc Features:

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro
  • B. Traven: A Mystery Solved, Will Wyatt’s 65-minute, 1978 made-for-television documentary
  • The Enigmatic Story of B. Traven, an hour-long, 2012 documentary by Xavier Villetard for French television
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Plus: B. Traven’s source novella The Third Guest and a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Glenn Erickson Continue reading