Criterion Collection May 2015 Highlighted by Chaplin, Costa-Gavras

By @pinkstonaa
Criterion Collection May 2015 Highlighted by Chaplin, Costa-Gavras

It has become pretty standard for the Criterion Collection to include a few upgrades from their back catalog recently. May 2015 is a bit unusual in that respect—though it technically does have one upgrade on the schedule, it’s for a film they very recently released, so it’s just like new! Instead, we get two new releases from under-heralded filmmaker Costa-Gavras, a Bette Midler star vehicle, another R.W. Fassbinder release and another in their growing selection from Charlie Chaplin.

The Rose

Mark Rydell – Available May 19

The Rose Criterion Collection

I am young enough that my only real association with Bette Midler is her mega-hit Wind Beneath My Wings, which isn’t exactly a full representation of her incredible career. Mark Rydell’s The Rose put Midler on the map as a self-destructive female rock star, struggling with the constant pressures of the business. It will certainly be an interesting look back at what made her such a generational star.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Vilmos Zsigmond, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring director Mark Rydell
  • New interviews with Rydell, Zsigmond, and Bette Midler
  • Archival interviews with Midler and Rydell, with on-set footage
  • PLUS: An essay by music critic Paula Mejia


Charlie Chaplin – Available May 19

Limelight Criterion Collection

Chaplin’s last great film is his sixth addition to the Collection. Limelight stands out as the comedy masters most dramatic of his major works and perhaps one of his most biographical. In the film, Chaplin stars as Calvero, a fading comedian, who builds an interesting relationship with a troubled young ballet dancer (Claire Bloom). Despite the lack of laughs, it is one of Chaplin’s most cathartic films, with beautiful emotional stakes and arc. Perhaps because it isn’t one of his more famous comedies, Limelight is under-heralded – so now is a great time to catch it!

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Chaplin’s “Limelight”: Its Evolution and Intimacy, a new video essay by Charlie Chaplin biographer David Robinson
  • New interviews with actors Claire Bloom and Norman Lloyd
  • Chaplin Today: “Limelight,” a 2002 documentary on the film, featuring director Bernardo Bertolucci and actors Bloom and Sydney Chaplin
  • Outtake from the film
  • Archival audio recording of Charlie Chaplin reading two short excerpts from his novella Footlights
  • Two short films by Chaplin: A Night in the Show (1915) and the never completed The Professor (1919)
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Peter von Bagh

Make Way for Tomorrow

Leo McCarey – Available May 19

Make Way for Tomorrow Criterion Collection

One of the greatest tearjerkers in all of cinema was one of my favorite discoveries while in film school. When Make Way for Tomorrow was released as spine #505 in 2010, I was really pumped to revisit the film (and for others to get their first chance). Now that it is being upgraded to Blu-ray, there is all the more opportunity to see this wonderfully emotional film about an elderly couple forced to spend time apart. The film would make a great double-feature with the recent Love Is Strange or Criterion release Tokyo Story.

Special Features:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Tomorrow, Yesterday, and Today, an interview from 2009 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich discussing the career of director Leo McCarey and Make Way for Tomorrow
  • Video interview from 2009 with critic Gary Giddins, in which he talks about McCarey’s artistry and the political and social context of the film
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critic Tag Gallagher and filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, and an excerpt from film scholar Robin Wood’s 1998 piece “Leo McCarey and Family Values”

State of Siege

Costa-Gavras – Available May 26

State of Siege Criterion Collection

The work of Costa-Gavras is a complete blindspot for me, so I’m especially excited that the Criterion Collection is releasing two films in May 2015 – I always love when the Collection does this. The first of his films is State of Siege, a film set around the kidnapping of a U.S. official (played by veteran actor Yves Montand) in Uruguay. From there, it focuses in on American relations with foreign governments and their impact on guerrilla movements.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Costa-Gavras, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Costa-Gavras and film scholar Peter Cowie
  • NBC News excerpts from 1970 on the kidnapping of Dan Mitrione, on which the film is based
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by journalist Mark Danner

The Merchant of Four Seasons

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Available May 26

The Merchant of Four Seasons Criterion Collection

With The Merchant of Four Seasons, Fassbinder now has 13 films in the Collection (including his Eclipse boxset), putting him near the top of total releases. The film’s synopsis feels very much in line with Fassbinder’s most known work, as well as the German film movement he was integral in shaping: Hans is a street fruit peddler who is ostracized by his family, which turns him to drinking and misery. Though that does sound pretty depressing, the film is known as a pretty adept black comedy.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring filmmaker Wim Wenders
  • New interviews with actors Irm Hermann and Hans Hirschmüller
  • New interview with film scholar Eric Rentschler
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Thomas Elsaesser

The Confession

Costa-Garvas – Available May 26

The Confession Criterion Collection

The other Costa-Garvas release in May is the follow-up to the filmmaker’s incredible debut, Z. Like State of Siege, The Confession has a kidnapping at its center – in this case, it is a Czechoslovak dignitary who also happens to be played by played by veteran actor Yves Montand. Unlike State of Siege, however, it focuses much more on the incredible journey of its victim – along with the imprisonment, torture and interrogations.

Special Features:

  • New 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Costa-Gavras, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • You Speak of Prague: The Second Trial of Artur London (1971), a twenty-one-minute documentary by Chris Marker shot on the set of The Confession
  • New interview with the film’s editor, Françoise Bonnot
  • Conversation between Costa-Gavras and programmer and scholar Peter von Bagh about the director’s life and career, from the 1988 Midnight Sun Film Festival
  • Portrait London, a 1981 interview with Artur and Lise London, the real-life figures on whose story the film is based
  • Interview with actor Yves Montand from 1970
  • New interview with John Michalczyk, author of Costa-Gavras: The Political Fiction Film
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Dina Iordanova
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