A few of us here at FOH are Criterion Collections lovers (just take a look at our header photo). Pouring over the extras and drooling over the remastered prints excites us more than the average person. While Criterion makes some missteps from time to time link, link, I think they do a heck of a job selecting their films.
In a dream world Criterion would call me up and have me pick out a few films for them to polish up so here is my list:
Christmas In August – First of all, this movie doesn’t even have a good quality release or a Blu-Ray release so it is prime for the picking. Secondly, it is one of the best Korean films to be release in the last 20 years. Equal parts sad, reflective, subtle and thoughtful I would love to pour through the director commentary on this one. Also to hear about how the film has influenced modern Korean Cinema and Television.
Shotgun Stories – Before Jeff Nichols wrote and directed the brilliant Take Shelter he did Shotgun Stories. Set in Arkansas it tells the story of an escalating feud between two families. What I would love to see from Criterion is a reflective look back from director Jeff Nichols and star Michael Shannon and how this film pushed both of them in to the spotlight. A discussion on the setting of rural Arkansas and its effect on the story and Jeff’s writing.
The Proposition – John Hillcoat’s gritty Australian Western almost seems done with Criterion in mind. With a script and score written by Nick Cave and stunning visuals there are countless amounts of extras that could be tacked on. I mean really, how much do you know about the Australian outback? A dissection of the violence and cultural impact of the time period would also be a great addition.
Tokyo Sonata – Winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2008 this family drama (much like the current Criterion masterpiece Still Walking) would fit nicely in a current lineup that includes A Christmas Tale and The Ice Storm. While the current dvd edition of the film includes a making of Featurette and a Q & A with director and cast, I would love to hear director Kiyoshi Kurosawa discuss the influence of Ozu on his work as well as have him discuss at length about the different story arcs that are central to the film.
Synecdoche New York – This head spinner, directorial debut from Charlie Kaufman screams Criterion. A director commentary seems like a must as well as a brief introduction by Roger Ebert to enhance the discussion because this film is truly a “discussion film”. For me it has been long time since I have seen a film that was this complex to digest and this would be perfect for Criterion to capitalize on.