The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Monos.
On a far away South American mountaintop, a group of adolescent child soldiers guard a kidnapped American woman for the Organization, a bandit militia that demands complete obedience from the youngsters. When a borrowed milk cow is killed and a battle approaches their mountain refuge, the group is sent to guard their prisoner in the dense jungle below where resentments, paranoia, and power struggles turn into a nightmarish fight for authority and survival. Charged by Jasper Wolf’s crisp, concentrated cinematography and Mica Levi’s titantic score, Alejandro Landes creates a monumental and hallucinatory war film that evokes Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and William Goldings Lord of the Flies.
- 4K digital master, approved by cinematographer Jasper Wolf, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New interviews with director Alejandro Landes, composer Mica Levi, actress Inés Efrón, and cast members
- Video diary shot during the film’s production
- PLUS: An essay by critic Manuel Betancourt
The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival went globe-trotting to start Day 2. The “Drawn from Around the World” block of animated shorts offered some enthralling works. Many conveyed a sad or lamenting poignancy. Keiro (Tatiana Jusewycz, Benoît Leloup, Franck Menigoz, Zoé Nérot, and Charlotte Poncin, 2016) traced a girl’s journey to adulthood and its effect on the giant creature that accompanies her, Beyond the Books (Jérôme Battistelli, Mathilde Cartigny, Nicolas Evain, Maéna Paillet, Robin Pelissier, and Judith Wahler, 2017) envisioned the highly detailed collapse of an impossibly immense library, the Spanish short Dead Horses (Marc Riba and Anna Solanas, 2016) revealed the brutality of war from a child’s perspective and amid fabric devastation, and the Indian film Schirkoa (Asian Shukla, 2017) imagined political strife in a world where citizens wear bags and boxes on their heads. Others brought the funny, like Daniel Sterlin-Altman’s Hi, It’s Your Mother (2017), about motherhood, blood loss, and middle class living told in crude claymation, and Deuspi (Megacomputer, 2017), a very short work about a pair of astonishingly inept stick-up men and their hilarious fates.
With the establishment of the National Film Board of Canada in 1939, John Grierson, the British documentarian and the NFB’s first commissioner, set upon a project to foster and shape the national identity, and the outbreak of World War II was a timely context for Grierson’s nationalist aims. One of the NFB’s first efforts was Canada Carries On, a series of theatrical shorts aimed to boost morale during wartime. Its producer, British documentary filmmaker Stuart Legg, found early success in the endeavour when he received two Oscar nominations for the new documentary short category. Relying heavily on stock footage and “voice-of-God” commentary, Legg’s Churchill’s Island (1941) and Warclouds in the Pacific (1941) are remarkable documents of their periods. Churchill’s Island won that first documentary Oscar, but Legg has failed to garner the kind of recognition given to his close colleague Grierson.
As per the NFB:
This film won the NFB its first Oscar® and was also the first documentary to win this coveted award. It presents the strategy of the Battle of Britain, showing with penetrating clarity the relationships between the various forces made up the island’s defences. Here is the Royal Air Force in its epic battle with the Luftwaffe, the Navy in its stubborn fight against the raiders of sea and sky, the coastal defences, the mechanized cavalry, the merchant seamen and behind them all, Britain’s tough, unbending civilian army.
As per the NFB:
This short film examines the Japan that emerged at the beginning of the 1900s and was firmly established as an industrialized nation by the outbreak of World War II. Facing the greatest threat in their history, the democracies of the Pacific took careful stock of this new Japan and its strength, and erected a vast system of defence across the world’s greatest ocean.
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents A Matter of Life and Death.
As his plane is going down in flames, doomed World War II pilot, Squadron Leader Peter Carter (David Niven) meets over the radio the love of his life, an American radio operator named June (Kim Hunter). He miraculously survives the crash and the pair commence their romance, but Carter is troubled with a life-threatening brain injury treated by a village doctor (Roger Livesey) and a heavenly collector (Marius Goring) intent on escorting his errant soul to the other side. Originally designed as a propaganda piece to promote better relations between Britain and the United States, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death became an English classic featuring delightful performances by its cast, accomplished Technicolor cinematography by Jack Cardiff, and spectacular production design by Alfred Junge.
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary by film historian Ian Christie
- Martin Scorsese on A Matter of Life and Death
- Thelma Schoonmaker Powell and Grover Crisp on AMOLAD and its restoration
- Interview with cinematographer Jack Cardiff
- A Matter of Fried Onions, Diane Broadbent Friedman on the medical foundation of AMOLAD
- Behind the scenes footage, filmed during a visit to Denham Studios by Canadian soldiers
- “The King and the Stars,” a Front Page newsreel by British Pathé on the 1946 Royal Command Film Performance screening, along with unused and unissued footage of the event and the press reception
- New interview with author J. K. Rowling and actor Daniel Radcliffe in appreciation of the film
- Two Lux Radio Theatre productions from 1947 (starring Ray Milland, Ann Blyth, and Nigel Bruce) and 1955 (starring David Niven and Barbara Rush)
- The Hedda Hooper Show – This is Hollywood‘s 30-minute radio adaptation, starring David Niven, Kim Hunter, and Vincent Price
- Screen Director’s Playhouse radio production from 1951, starring Robert Cummings and Julia Adams
- Kinescope of the “Stairway to Heaven” TV adaptation for Robert Montgomery Presents, starring Richard Green, Jean Gillespie, and Bramwell Fletcher
- Parody sketch from Big Train, featuring Simon Pegg, Kevin Eldon, Mark Heap, and Amelia Bullmore
- Gallery of sketches and stills of Alfred Junge’s production designs
- Sequence shot for Powell and Pressburger’s unmade The White Cockade, starring David Niven and Pamela Brown
- PLUS: A booklet featuring behind the scenes photos, the script, and new essays by film critics Dave Kehr, Robert Horton, and Mark Kermode
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Lost One.
In Peter Lorre’s only directorial effort, German scientist Dr. Karl Rothe murders his fiancée for betraying him and disclosing his research to enemy nations. Instead of being punished, Rothe’s crime is covered up by Nazi authorities, leaving the doctor gripped by a compulsion to kill. With the end of World War II, Rothe finds work at a refugee camp under an assumed name, but his past catches up with him when a fellow scientist and former Nazi agent arrives looking for sanctuary of his own. Co-written and starring Lorre as well, The Lost One was rejected by audiences upon its release but has since become a masterpiece of post-WWII German cinema, an intensely haunting and fatalistic film that interrogates the psychological cruelty that enabled the war and the individual and collective guilt that followed.
- New 4K digital restoration, undertaken by the German Film Institute, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary by Lorre biographer Stephen D. Youngkin
- Peter Lorre – The Double Face, Harun Farocki’s 1984 documentary
- Displaced Person: Peter Lorre, Robert Fischer’s 2007 documentary
- Interview with German film historian Christoph Fuchs
- Theatrical trailer
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by Lorre scholar Sarah Thomas, excerpts of Lorre’s own work script, biographical character sketches, documents on the film’s rating, and Bertolt Brecht’s poem to Lorre, “To the Actor P.L. in Exile;” and a new paperback edition of Lorre’s original novel “The Lost One,” unreleased in Germany until 1996 and available in North America here for the first time
Eclipse is a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions. Each series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer.
Virtually unknown in the West, Tatyana Lioznova’s 12-part mini-series Seventeen Moments of Spring is Russia’s most popular and acclaimed TV production, playing annually to millions of viewers since its release in 1973. Soviet spy Maxim Isaev (Vyacheslav Tikhonov), working in deep cover as a prominent SS officer named Max Otto von Stierlitz, receives direction from Moscow in February 1945 to gather information on peace talks rumored between the Americans and Nazis and frustrate any efforts that might allow the Germans to focus all their military power to the Eastern Front. What follows is a complicated battle of wits set within the Nazi administration with mortal consequences for Stierlitz and all of the USSR. This methodically suspenseful and widely successful espionage thriller celebrates the Russian war effort during World War II, valorizes the nation’s security agencies through the patriotic and canny Stierlitz, and subtly critiques Soviet bureaucratic authority in an era of thawing Cold War relations.
Includes the original version and the 2009 colorized version, with notes by historian Stephen Lovell.