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No matter how convenient our digital lives are, there’s still something special about physical media — especially when it’s so beautifully and thoughtfully curated by the Criterion Collection.
Each of Criterion’s releases takes an exemplary film, from auteur classic to Hollywood blockbuster and everything in between, and includes a slew of special features — commentary tracks, restored film transfers, essays about its importance in the cinematic pantheon — that help “deepen the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema.”
While there are literally hundreds of important classic and contemporary films from around the world to choose from in the Criterion library, we’ve selected a few of our favorites that also happen to be on sale — the titles below are mostly 30% to 40% off the list price… which just means you’ll have some more cash in your budget to spend on a few extra titles for your own collection.
Out Nov. 24, this 15-disc special edition Blu-ray box set compiles restored versions of 14 Federico Fellini films together for the first time. The collector’s set features new 4K restorations of 11 of the Italian director’s films, new digital restorations of “Toby Dammit” and “Fellini: A Director’s Notebook,” plus feature documentaries “Fellini: I’m a Born Liar” and “Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember,” audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews with Fellini, video essays, and more. The deluxe packaging also includes two books with notes on the films, new essays, and Fellini memorabilia. The films in this edition include “Variety Lights” (1950), “The White Sheik” (1952), “I Vitelloni” (1953), “La Strada” (1954), “Il Bidone” (1955), “Nights of Cabiria” (1957), “La Dolce Vita” (1960), “8 1/2” (1963), “Juliet of the Spirits” (1965), “Fellini Satyricon” (1969), “Roma” (1972), “Amarcord” (1973), “And the Ship Sails On” (1983), and “Intervista” (1987) — all of this at a solid $50 off the list price.
Director Bong Joon Ho’s work has always touched on class inequality and other universal societal issues, but it was his Oscar-winning black comedy/thriller that helped solidify his international appeal. Following two Seoul families from very different economic backgrounds who converge in a surprising way, the film swept almost every major prize, from Cannes to the Academy Awards, where it was the first-ever non-English-language film to win Best Picture. Special edition features on this release include a new 4K digital master approved by the director and his director of photography, Hong Kyung Pyo; new commentary featuring Bong; a black and white version with a new introduction from Bong; new interviews with Bong, Hong, production designer Lee Ha Jun, and filmmaker Park Chan Wook; a master class featuring Bong from the 2019 Lumière Festival; and more.
One of Claire Denis’ most critically acclaimed films, her “ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville’s ‘Billy Budd, Sailor'” comes together for an examination of masculinity, honor, jealousy, and desire with an unforgettable ending. This edition includes a new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Agnès Godard and approved by Denis, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray; a new conversation between Denis and filmmaker Barry Jenkins; new selected-scene commentary with Godard; new interviews with actors Denis Lavant and Grégoire Colin; a new video essay by film scholar Judith Mayne; new English subtitle translation; and an essay by critic Girish Shambu.
Agnès Varda’s films are difficult to find digitally, which makes this comprehensive collection of all 39 of her films even more impressive — it includes shorts, documentaries, and multimedia works in addition to her essential classics. This 15-Blu-ray collector’s set of the French New Wave icon includes the first home video release of “Les créatures” and “Jacquot de Nantes;” the first home video release of the TV series “Agnès de ci de là Varda;” new programs featuring actor Jane Birkin, Varda’s children, and scholar Kelley Conway; more than seven hours of archival programs; rare footage from unfinished features and commercials; behind-the-scenes footage; video essays; introductions by Varda; and a lavishly illustrated 200-page book.
Wes Anderson’s old world European caper gets the Criterion treatment in this visually stunning release. His 2014 ensemble film set at a luxurious hotel during a time of political upheaval, follows a concierge, a priceless painting, and a family’s fortune, and stars Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, Mathieu Amalric, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray. This special edition, which came out in early 2020, includes a 2K digital transfer, supervised by Anderson; new audio commentary with Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Jeff Goldblum; selected-scene storyboard animatics; a new documentary about the film; new interviews with the cast and crew; behind-the-scenes, special-effects, and test footage; a collectible poster; and more.
Alfred Hitchcock’s expansive filmography contains plenty of unforgettable classics, but perhaps none more influential than noir romance “Notorious.” Ingrid Bergman plays a woman with a checkered past recruited to spy for Cary Grant’s intelligence agent in one of the Master of Suspense’s most impactful thrillers. Special features on this edition include a new 4K digital restoration with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; audio commentaries from 1990 and 2001 featuring film historian Rudy Behlmer and Alfred Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane; a new interview with Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto; a new program about the film’s visual style with cinematographer John Bailey; new scene analysis by film scholar David Bordwell; a new program about Hitchcock’s storyboarding and previsualization process by filmmaker Daniel Raim; newsreel footage from 1948 of Ingrid Bergman and Hitchcock; Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of “Notorious” from 1948, starring Bergman and Joseph Cotten; trailers and teasers; and an essay by critic Angelica Jade Bastién.
Get two Jackie Chan classics for the price of one with this two-disc set featuring the director/actor’s breakout ’80s comedies (and worldwide hits) about a Hong Kong police inspector with unconventional methods. The original audio tracks are included with these 4K remasters, plus plenty of special features including a portion of the documentary “Jackie Chan: My Stunts; an interview with director Edgar Wright about the films; a poster of Chan; art for each films; and more.