Martin Scorsese is no stranger to The Criterion Collection, but that doesn’t make the announcement that his period drama “The Age of Innocence” will be officially joining the club in March 2018 any less exciting. Scorsese’s 1993 adaptation of Edith Wharton’s seminal novel will join other Scorsese films like “The Last Temptation of Christ” in the Collection.
“Innocence” is one of six new movies coming to Criterion in March 2018. Other new additions include Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece “The Passion of Joan of Arc” and Volker Schlöndorff’s largely-unseen “Baal.” You can head over to The Criterion Collection website to pre-order the titles now. Check out all the new additions below. Synopses provided by Criterion.
“The Age of Innocence”
No filmmaker captures the grandeur and energy of New York like Martin Scorsese. With this sumptuous romance, he meticulously adapted the work of another great New York artist, Edith Wharton, bringing to life her tragic novel of the cloistered world of Gilded Age Manhattan. “The Age of Innocence” tells the story of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), whose engagement to an innocent socialite (Winona Ryder) binds him to the codes and rituals of his upbringing. But when her cousin (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives in town on a wave of scandal after separating from her husband, she ignites passions in Newland he never knew existed. Swelling with exquisite period detail, this film is an alternately heartbreaking and satirical look at the brutality of old-world America.
“The Passion of Joan of Arc”
Spiritual rapture and institutional hypocrisy come to stark, vivid life in one of the most transcendent masterpieces of the silent era. Chronicling the trial of Joan of Arc in the days leading up to her execution, Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer depicts her torment with startling immediacy, employing an array of techniques – including expressionistic lighting, interconnected sets, and painfully intimate close-ups – to immerse viewers in her subjective experience. Anchoring Dreyer’s audacious formal experimentation is a legendary performance by Renée Falconetti, whose haunted face channels both the agony and the ecstasy of martyrdom.
Volker Schlöndorff transported Bertolt Brecht’s 1918 debut play to contemporary West Germany for this vicious experiment in adaptation, seldom seen for nearly half a century. Oozing with brutish charisma, Rainer Werner Fassbinder embodies the eponymous anarchist poet, who feels himself cast out from bourgeois society and sets off on a schnapps-soaked rampage. Hewing faithfully to Brecht’s text, Schlöndorff juxtaposes the theatricality of the prose with bare-bones, handheld 16 mm camera work, which gives immediacy to this savage story of rebellion. Featuring a supporting cast of Fassbinder’s troupe of theater actors as well as Margarethe von Trotta, “Baal” demonstrates the uncompromising nature of Schlöndorff’s vision and forged a path for New German Cinema.
“King of Jazz”
Made during the early years of the movie musical, this exuberant revue was one of the most extravagant, eclectic, and technically ambitious Hollywood productions of its day. Starring the bandleader Paul Whiteman, then widely celebrated as the King of Jazz, the film drew from Broadway variety shows of the time to present a spectacular array of sketches, performances by such acts as the Rhythm Boys (featuring a young Bing Crosby), and orchestral numbers overseen by Whiteman himself (including a larger-than-life rendition of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”) – all lavishly staged by veteran theater director John Murray Anderson and beautifully shot in early Technicolor. Long available only in incomplete form, “King of Jazz” appears here newly restored to its original glory, offering a fascinating snapshot of the way mainstream American popular culture viewed itself at the dawn of the 1930s.
“Woman in Love”
With this film, the audacious Ken Russell vaulted onto the international stage, drawing on the psychosexual radicalism of D. H. Lawrence’s classic novel to shatter taboos in his own time. Set in an English mining community on the crest of modernity, “Women in Love” traces the shifting currents of desire that link the emancipated Brangwen sisters (Jennie Linden and an Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson) to a freethinking dreamer (Alan Bates) and a hard-willed industrialist (Oliver Reed) – as well as the men’s own erotically charged friendship. Coupling earthy sensuality with kaleidoscopically stylized images, Russell pursues this quartet to the heights of agony and ecstasy, crafting a breathtaking drama of human sexuality at its most liberating, dominating, and destructive extremes.