There may be many a milestone to hit before 2016, but The Criterion Collection is moving ahead into the new year with full force by announcing the five titles that will be added to DVD and Blu-ray come February of next year.
With the addition of the iconic coming-of-age comedy-drama “The Graduate,” the late Mike Nichols will finally be joining Criterion for the very first time. Additionally, the company is responding to some of the biggest cinephile requests they’ve ever gotten by bringing the two-part Swedish masterpiece “The Emigrants”/”The New Land” to their library, marking its first-ever home video release in the United Sates. Other notable titles include Charlie Chaplin’s debut feature “The Kid” and Nagisa Oshima’s surreal black comedy “Death by Hanging.”
Below are all five titles hitting Criterion in February 2016, complete with synopses and special features. Information provided by Criterion.
“Death By Hanging”
Genius provocateur Nagisa Oshima, an influential figure in the Japanese New Wave of the 1960s, made one of his most startling political statements with this compelling pitch-black satire. In this macabre farce, a Korean man is sentenced to death in Japan but survives his execution, sending the authorities into a panic about what to do next. At once disturbing and oddly amusing, Oshima’s constantly surprising film is a subversive and surreal indictment of both capital punishment and the treatment of Korean immigrants in his country. Special features include a restored 4k digital transfer, an interview with critic Tony Rayns and a high-definition digital transfer of Oshima’s 1965 experimental short documentary, “Diary of Yunbogi”
“The Emigrants”/”The New Land”
This monumental mid-19th century epic from Jan Troell charts, over the course of two films, a poor Swedish farming family’s voyage to America and their efforts to put down roots in this beautiful but forbidding new world. Movie legends Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann give remarkably authentic performances as Karl-Oskar and Kristina, a couple who meet with one physical and emotional trial after another on their arduous journey. Special features include a conversation between film scholar Peter Cowie and Troell, an interview with Ulmann and “To Paint with Pictures,” a 2005 documentary on the making of the films.
Charlie Chaplin was already an international star when he decided to break out of the short-film format and make his first full-length feature. “The Kid” doesn’t merely show Chaplin at a turning point, when he proved that he was a serious film director—it remains an expressive masterwork of silent cinema. In it, he stars as his lovable Tramp character, this time raising an orphan (a remarkable young Jackie Coogan) he has rescued from the streets. Special features include new audio commentary featuring Chaplin historian Charles Maland, interviews with Coogan and actor Lita Grey Chaplin and footage of Chaplin conducting his score for the film.
“I Knew Her Well”
This prismatic portrait of the days and nights of a party girl in sixties Rome is a revelation. On the surface, “I Knew Her Well,” directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, plays like an inversion of “La dolce vita” with a woman at its center, following the gorgeous, seemingly liberated Adriana (Stefania Sandrelli) as she dallies with a wide variety of men, attends parties, goes to modeling gigs and circulates among the rich and famous. Despite its often light tone, though, the film is a stealth portrait of a suffocating culture that regularly dehumanizes people, especially women. Special features include interview with Sandrelli New and a conversation with film scholar Luca Barattoni about the career of Pietrangeli.
One of the most beloved American films of all time, “The Graduate” earned Mike Nichols a best director Oscar, brought the music of Simon & Garfunkel to a wider audience, and introduced the world to a young actor named Dustin Hoffman. Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) has just finished college and is already lost in a sea of confusion and barely contained angst when he becomes sexually involved with the middle-aged mother (Anne Bancroft) of the young woman he’s dating (Katharine Ross). Special features include audio commentary from 2007 featuring Nichols in conversation with filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, a new interview with Dustin Hoffman and a 1992 featurette on the making of the film.
READ MORE: 10 Films That Should Be in the Criterion Collection