From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Highlights:
A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975) meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow (Delphine Seyrig) — whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades. And one of the most over-looked classics of the modern era. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new 2K digital restoration undertaken by the Royal Belgian Film Archive, supervised by director of photography Babette Mangolte, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include “Autour de Jeanne Dielman,” a 69-minute documentary-shot by actor Sami Frey and edited by Agnes Ravez and director Chantal Akerman, made during the filming of “Jeanne Dielman”; interviews from 2009 with Akerman and Mangolte; excerpt from “Chantal Akerman par Chantal Akerman,” a 1997 episode of the French television program “Cinéma de notre temps”; interview from 2007 with Akerman’s mother, Natalia; excerpt from a 1976 television interview featuring Akerman and actor Delphine Seyrig; “Saute ma ville” (1968), Akerman’s first film, with an introduction by the director; a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ivone Margulies. From The Criterion Collection.
The work of Kiju Yoshida is one of Japanese cinema’s obscure pleasures. A contemporary of Nagisa Oshima (“Death by Hanging,” “In the Realm of the Senses”) and Masahiro Shinoda (“Pale Flower,” “Assassination”), Yoshida started out as an assistant to Keisuke Kinoshita before making his directorial debut at age 27. In the decades that followed he produced more than 20 features and documentaries, yet each and every one has proven difficult to see in the English-speaking world. This collection, “Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anarchism Limited Edition,” brings together three works from the late sixties and early seventies, a loose trilogy united by their radical politics and an even more radical shooting style. “Eros + Massacre,” presented here in both its 169-minute theatrical version and the full-length 220-minute director’s cut, tells the parallel stories of early 20th-century anarchist (and free love advocate) Sakae Osugi and a pair of student activists. Their stories interact and intertwine, resulting in a complex, rewarding work that is arguably Yoshida’s masterpiece. “Heroic Purgatory” pushes the dazzling cinematic language of “Eros + Massacre” even further, presenting a bleak but dreamlike investigation into the political discourses taking place in early seventies Japan. “Coup d’état” returns to the past for a biopic of Ikki Kita, the right-wing extremist who sought to overthrow the government in 1936. Yoshida considered the film to be the culmination of his work, promptly retiring from feature filmmaking following its completion. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo with high definition digital transfers supervised by Kiju Yoshida, High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations for all films, uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM Audio on all films. From Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment.
“Heat” (1995) is arguably director Michael Mann’s most successful outing, from an artistic, critical and audience perspective. It’s the kind of film — ostensibly a heist thriller — in which everything comes together in a perfect storm of acting, writing, directing and audacity. And the icing on the cake: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro facing off on the big screen. This Director’s Definitive Edition is a new restoration overseen by Mann himself. The film co-stars Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Dennis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Natalie Portman and Tom Noonan. Extras include a new 2016 Academy Panel reuniting Mann, Pacino and De Niro and moderated by Christopher Nolan; New Toronto International Film Festival Q&A with Mann; commentary by Mann; three-part “The Making of Heat”: “True Crime,” “Crime Stories” and “Into the Fire”; “Pacino and De Niro: The Conversation”; “Return to the Scene of the Crime”: additional footage – deleted scenes: Scene 5 – Season’s starting early, Scene 42 – Nicest guy on the block, Scene 55 – Albert and Hanna (Alternate Take), Scene 62 – Shakedown, Scene 76 – Murder in C-Block, Scene 96A – Let’s Dance, Scene 125 – Late arrival, Scene 148/147 – Where’s Anna?, Scene 177B – Double the worst trouble, Scene 191 – Nate delivers, Scene 204A – No response; theatrical trailers: Surprise of a Lifetime, Two Actors Collide, Closing In. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Fox.
If you are ill-mannered, have a poor sense of social etiquette or just plain irresponsible, then beware of the cheerfully psychotic housewife Beverly Sutphin from John Waters’ wickedly hilarious cult classic “Serial Mom” (1994), making its Blu-ray debut this week. The operable words here: “Don’t wear white after Labor Day.” Stars Kathleen Turner, Sam Waterston, Ricki Lake, Mink Stole, Patricia Hearst, Matthew Lillard, Mary Jo Catlett, Traci Lords and Suzanne Somers. Extras include a new conversation with director John Waters, actress Kathleen Turner and actress Mink Stole; “Serial Mom: Surreal Moments” featuring interviews with Waters, Stole, actress Patricia Hearst, actress Ricki Lake, actor Matthew Lillard, casting director Pat Moran, production designer Vincent Pirano and more; commentary with John Waters and Kathleen Turner; commentary with John Waters; “The Making Of Serial Mom” original promotional featurette; “The Kings Of Gore: Herschel Gordon Lewis and David Friedman” featurette; original theatrical trailer. From Shout! Factory.