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Keeping up with new Criterion releases can feel like a spectator sport for cinephiles checking the site each month. To make Blu-Ray shopping a little easier for your, IndieWire put together a roundup of new Criterion releases that you can pre-order now.
All of the films listed below are available on Amazon, which means that Prime members will get free two-day shipping. In addition to shipping perks, an Amazon Prime membership (which costs $12.99 a month) gives you streaming access to Amazon’s massive library of film and TV shows. So even if you binge all of your new Criterion Blu-Rays in a single weekend, you won’t be left without something to watch. See below for our latest of new Criterion Collection films released in April that you should own on Blu-Ray.
Release Date: April 13
Diehard Criterion fans who want to stay ahead of the curve should take this opportunity to pre-order the collection’s next Blu-Ray release, Frank Borzage’s “History Is Made At Night.” This romantic, sensual 1937 film follows a globetrotting romance between a socialite (Jean Arthur) searching for something more, and a handsome stranger (Charles Boyer) who she happens to meet on a whim. The film’s genre is hard to label, alternating between levity and intense darkness with a skillful balance. Above all, the film is a tribute to the myriad of ways that love can affect us, a sentiment that still hits home 84 years after its original release.
Years before “Parasite” and “Snowpiercer,” Bong Joon Ho was already dazzling cinephiles with his impressive command of filmmaking and refusal to conform to any one genre. “Memories of Murder,” the South Korean auteur’s second feature, follows two cops (Song Kang Ho and Kim Sang Kyung) whose lives enter horrific downward spirals due to their inability to solve a serial killer case in a small farming town. The film is inspired by a true story, but Bong Joon Ho editorializes with his signature dark humor and social commentary that should be instantly recognizable to fans of his recent work. Which, if we are being honest, is all of us.
Release Date: April 20
Even the most seasoned connoisseurs of the American Western genre may have missed this cult classic, which was mostly ignored during its original release. And even if you don’t consider yourself a Western fan, you might like “The Furies,” which has almost as much in common with Tennessee Williams kitchen sink dramas as it does with “Shane.” Director Anthony Mann blends archetypes and themes from Greek and Shakespearian tragedy in this story of a young woman (Barbara Stanwyck) fighting with her intense cattle rancher father (Walter Huston) over her choice of husband, and the financial effects that her marriage will have on the family’s land. This new Blu-Ray edition is a must-own for those who want to enjoy the movie in beautiful 4K.
Release Date: April 27
Films do not get much more meta than Olivier Assayas’s “Irma Vep.” Maggie Cheung plays a fictionalized version of herself, a Hong Kong movie star who travels to France to star in a remake of the silent French serial film “Les Vampires.” The story of on-set feuds (and romances!) serves as a commentary on the French film industry in the 1990s. Assayas blends aspects of silent films, martial arts movies, and punk music into an irresistible postmodern stew. Films don’t get much more intertextual than this. It’s safe to say that you don’t have anything quite like this in your collection, and there’s never been a better time to revisit “Irma Vep,” as Olivier Assayas is currently teaming up with A24 on a television adaptation of the film.
Release Date: April 27
In the 1960s, Jean-Luc Godard was a groundbreaking young filmmaker who pushed the boundaries of cinema with films like “Breathless.” The French New Wave was an incredibly influential artistic movement that shattered conventions and influences the art form to this day. But there was a natural tension between Godard’s revolutionary style and the influence of Hollywood crime movies on his work. He may not have cared about commercial success, but he borrowed liberally from those who did. Godard explores those themes like nobody else could in “Masculin Feminin,” a 1966 satire of Parisian youth culture. His story of a doomed love affair between youths played by Jean-Pierre Léaud and Chantal GoyaIf examines the relationship between idealism and capitalism, and famously introduced the world to “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola.” If you want to own more French New Wave films on Blu-Ray, read more of our recommendations here.
Release Date: May 4
This music documentary follows Moroccan rock band Nass El Ghiwane, whose music doubled as avant-garde political theater against the backdrop of Casablanca in the 1970s. By blending traditional Moroccan folk music with western instruments and literary influences, they created a unique sound that allowed them to become something of an international sensation. Martin Scorsese is a fan, as he included one of their songs in “The Last Temptation of Christ” and oversaw the restoration of this documentary via his World Cinema Foundation. Combining concert footage with intimate conversations and street performances, this is a one-of-a-kind film about a one-of-a-kind band.