A24 announced last week it is releasing Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” director’s cut on Blu-ray this month accompanied by a 62-page book showcasing the ritual artwork featured in the movie. The book includes an introduction written by Martin Scorsese that champions both of Aster’s feature films to date: “Hereditary” and “Midsommar.” Entertainment Weekly published Scorsese’s introduction ahead of the book’s release July 20, and it finds the “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” icon reminiscing about his first time watching “Hereditary.”
“Right from the start, I was impressed,” Scorsese writes. “Here was a young filmmaker that obviously knew cinema. The formal control, the precision of the framing and the movement within the frame, the pacing of the action, the sound — it was all there, immediately evident. But as the picture went on, it started to affect me in different ways. It became disturbing to the point of being uncomfortably so, particularly during the remarkable family dinner scene after the sister has been killed.”
Scorsese adds, “Like all memorable horror films, it tunnels deep into something unnameable and unspeakable, and the violence is as emotional as it is physical.”
The skill on display in “Hereditary” put Aster’s follow-up, “Midsommar,” high on Scorsese’s anticipated movies list last year. The director said he worried “Midsommar” might fall into the larger trap of second films being more ambitious but less impressive than a filmmaker’s directorial debut. It didn’t take long during his first viewing of “Midsommar” for Scorsese to realize that wouldn’t be the case with Aster.
“I don’t want to give away anything about this picture, because you need to discover it for yourself,” Scorsese writes. “I can tell you that the formal control is just as impressive as that of Hereditary, maybe more so, and that it digs into emotions that are just as real and deeply uncomfortable as the ones shared between the characters in the earlier picture. I can also tell you that there are true visions in this picture, particularly in the final stretch, that you are not likely to forget. I certainly haven’t.”