Sunday, January 14, 2007

This is something that I have been thinking about for a while but have never had a chance to post about: On march 27 of this year, The Criterion Collection will release its new line of DVDs under the title of Eclipse. Eclipse will focus on distributing minor works from the great directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Louis Malle and Yasujiro Ozu. Films will be released in box sets each month in affordable packages (about $15 per disc). Each package will focus on a certain director or theme. Films are able to come out faster because, rather than hunting down the special features that have made Criterion famous, Eclipse films will feature no supplemental material and won't have the same picture quality that is featured on the Criterions. The first release will be from a package of early Ingmar Bergman films (Below)-Crisis, Torment, Port Of Call, Thirst and To Joy. Other rumored sets include films by Ozu and Louis Malle's documentaries. These are important films that are never released because Criterion is too busy with their individual releases. The mission statement does a good job of explaining Eclipse, "Eclipse presents a a selection of lost, forgotten or overshadowed in simple, affordable editions. Each series is a brief cinematheque viewing retrospective for the adventurous home viewer." Don't get me wrong, I still prefer the Criterion Collection and will continue to buy Criterions but this is a way for great films to be released and made available quickly. I have been looking for several films that are nearly impossible to find; now they will be readily available to the home viewer for a fraction of the price of Criterions. Hooray!!!

Also, while on the subject of the Criterion Collection, I picked up the new re-mastered version of Federico Fellini's Amarcord (Below). This is a fantastic film by one of the greatest directors of all time. The supplements are also fantastic, but the real difference is the quality-the original version of Amarcord was released in 1998 and was one of the first Criterions to be released (it is number four in the collection), along with Grand Illusion, Seven Samurai, The Lady Vanishes, etc. Technology has come a long way since then, so they re-released it after giving it a new and improved restoration. The restoration is so good that it could pass for a film made this year. It is excellent and I am glad that it was recognized with the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film in 1975. I would recommend it to anyone who calls himself a fan of film.

In closing, the Criterion Collection is amazing and I am sure that Eclipse will be great. I hope to see many great films being distributed by these two great DVD lines.


Monday, January 01, 2007