The end of year Barnes and Noble Criterion sale has passed and I have in my hot little hands my first ever Criterions. I have a couple others coming very soon (next week, fingers crossed). I've already talked about Criterions in a previous post, but for those who don't know, they are a film distribution company that restores important classic and contemporary films and jam-packing them with supplements which adds so much to the experience of the film. I have to say, Criterion is unmatched in terms of quality. No detail is overlooked. Every single edition is beautifully package and they instantly become the centerpiece of any DVD collection. Now, enough drooling over Criterion, let's talk about what I have so far:
The Ingmar Bergman trilogy examining the silence of God (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light and The Silence). Very heavy and emotionally exhausting. I'm still trying to appreciate Bergman's films, but honestly, they've all been disappointing. Granted, I've only seen this trilogy and I saw The Virgin Spring last week at the Chauvel. I'm going to have to wait until I see Wild Strawberries at Cinemathque on Monday before I decide whether I should hop on the Bergman Bandwagon. I have to say every element of his films are perfect - the photography, the acting, the music, the mood are all brilliant and I always feel I'm in the hands of a director who knows what he's doing. However, there's something about his films, I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I find them excruciatingly dull, and at times, cliched. I've started to re-watch the films and fortunately, I've found that they have improved so much more on a second viewing.
The Criterions are excellent. Beautiful covers, well-written essays and the box set also comes with a fourth DVD called Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie, this is a five-part documentary on the making of Winter Light and it is fascinating.
I also have the Adventures of Antoine Doinel box set, which includes four films: The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, Love on the Run and also includes the short Antoine and Colette. As expected, it is packed with special features (oops, sorry they call them "supplements") that provide context for the films as well as include interesting interviews with Truffaut and his collaborators. It also contains a booklet with various essays and notes. The covers look amazing as well as you can see here:
The last one is The Last Emperor and this is a four disc set. One contains the film, one the television series and the other two supplements. I'm still going through this DVD but the film is exquisite, a tad melodramatic/Asian soap opera in some parts, but still a brilliant film.
I cannot wait until I receive the other three, I'm already counting down the days.
Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks.