A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal are all joining the Criterion Collection in 2018. “The Breakfast Club” is getting the Criterion treatment next January, as are a new edition of “Young Mr. Lincoln,” “I, Daniel Blake,” “Westfront 1918,” “Kameradschaft,” and four films by Claude Autant-Lara.
More information — and, as always, cover art — below.
“The Breakfast Club”
“What happens when you put five strangers in Saturday detention? Badass posturing, gleeful misbehavior, and a potent dose of angst. With this exuberant film, writer-director John Hughes established himself as the bard of American youth, vividly and empathetically capturing how teenagers hang out, act up, and goof off. ‘The Breakfast Club’ brings together an assortment of adolescent archetypes — the uptight prom queen (Molly Ringwald), the stoic jock (Emilio Estevez), the foul-mouthed rebel (Judd Nelson), the virginal bookworm (Anthony Michael Hall), and the kooky recluse (Ally Sheedy) — and watches them shed their personae and emerge into unlikely friendships. With its highly quotable dialogue and star-making performances, this film is an era-defining pop-culture phenomenon, a disarmingly candid exploration of the trials of adolescence whose influence now spans generations.”
“Young Mr. Lincoln”
“Few American historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln, and few director-star collaborations embody classic Hollywood cinema as beautifully as the one between John Ford and Henry Fonda. This film, their first together, was Ford’s equally poetic and significant follow-up to the groundbreaking western Stagecoach, and in it, Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career, as the young president-to-be as a novice lawyer, struggling with an incendiary murder case. Photographed in gorgeous black and white by Ford’s frequent collaborator Bert Glennon, ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’ is a compassionate and assured work and an indelible piece of Americana.”
“I, Daniel Blake”
“An urgent response to the political realities of contemporary Britain, this bracing drama from celebrated filmmaker Ken Loach takes a hard look at bureaucratic injustice and ineptitude through the eyes of an unassuming working-class hero. After a heart attack leaves him unable to hold a job, the widowed carpenter Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) begins a long, lonely journey through the Kafka-esque labyrinth of the local welfare state. Along the way, he strikes up a friendship with a single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children, at the mercy of the same system after being evicted from their home. Imbued with gentle humor and quiet rage and conceived for maximum real-world impact, the Palme d’Or-winning ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is a testament to Loach’s tireless commitment to a cinema of social engagement.”
Eclipse Series 45: Claude Autant-Lara — Four Romantic Escapes from Occupied France
“Too often overlooked after his work was spurned by the New Wave iconoclasts as being part of the “tradition of quality,” Claude Autant-Lara was one of France’s leading directors of the 1940s and ’50s. He began as a set and costume designer and went on to direct French-language versions of comedies in Hollywood, but it was back in his home country that Autant-Lara came into his own as a filmmaker. He found his sophisticated and slyly subversive voice with these four romances, produced during the dark days of the German occupation. Sumptuously appointed even while being critical of class hierarchy, these films – all made with the same corps of collaborators, including the charmingly impetuous star Odette Joyeux – endure as a testament to the quick wit and exquisite visual sense of the director whose name they established.”
“G. W. Pabst brought the war movie into a new era with his first sound film, a mercilessly realistic depiction of the nightmare that scarred a generation, in the director’s native Germany and beyond. Digging into the trenches with four infantrymen stationed in France in the final months of World War I, Pabst illustrates the harrowing ordeals of battle with unprecedented naturalism, as the men are worn away in body and spirit by firefights, shelling, and the disillusion that greets them on the home front. Long unavailable, the newly restored ‘Westfront 1918’ is a visceral, sobering antiwar statement that is as urgent today as when it was made.”
“When a coal mine collapses on the frontier between Germany and France, trapping a team of French miners inside, workers on both sides of the border spring into action, putting aside national prejudices and wartime grudges to launch a dangerous rescue operation. Director G. W. Pabst brings a claustrophobic realism to this ticking-clock scenario, using realistic sets and sound design to create the maze of soot-choked shafts where the miners struggle for survival. A gripping disaster film and a stirring plea for international cooperation, ‘Kameradschaft’ cemented Pabst’s status as one of the most morally engaged and formally dexterous filmmakers of his time.”