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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Criterion Additions for January 2019

In January, the Criterion Collection will be adding some very esteemed titles to its massive collection, prestige collection. For one, Elaine May's Mikey and Nicky will join the catalogue with , an unsung masterpiece of 1970s cinema. Alfred Hitchcock once again makes an appearance with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant enacting an anguished romance in the classic spy thriller, Notorious. Included among the creme de la creme is Cristian Mungiu's riveting 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. The Palme d'Or-winning breakout film of the New Romanian Cinema, will appear on Blu-ray for the first time. And then there's the indomitable Sidney Poitier facing off against Rod Steiger in the 1967 Academy Award-winning, In the Heat of the Night. The last entry is Abbas Kiarostami's final film, the contemplative 24 Frames.

24 Frames

Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami creates a dialogue between his work as a filmmaker and his work as a photographer. The bridging of the two art forms to which he had dedicated his life is mesmerizing. Setting out to reconstruct the moments immediately before and after a photograph is taken, Kiarostami selected twenty-four still landscapes inhabited only by foraging birds and other wildlife. He digitally animated each one into its own subtly evolving four-and-a-half-minute vignette. The outcome is a series of poignant studies in movement, perception, and time. 24 Frames is a graceful and elegiac farewell from one of the giants of world cinema.

Notorious Alfred Hitchcock summons darker shades of suspense and passion by casting two of Hollywood's most beloved stars starkly against type. The lovely Ingrid Bergman stars as Alicia, a woman of ill repute who is recruited by Devlin (Cary Grant), a suave but intelligence agent, to spy for the U.S. Only after she has fallen for Devlin does she learn that her mission is to seduce a Nazi industrialist (Claude Rains) hiding out in South America. Hitchcock orchestrates an anguished romance with deception and moral ambiguity. A thriller of rare perfection, Notorious represents a pinnacle in both its director's legendary career and the pantheon of classic Hollywood cinema.

Mikey and Nicky Elaine May crafted a gangster film like no other in the nocturnal odyssey Mikey and Nicky, capitalizing on the chemistry between frequent collaborators John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. The them pair are small-time mobsters whose lifelong relationship has turned sour. Set over the course of one night, Nicky is holed up in a motel after the boss he stole money from puts a hit on him. Terrified, he calls Mikey. He is the one person he thinks can save him. Scripted to match the live-wire energy of its stars and supporting players Ned Beatty, Joyce Van Patten, and Carol Grace. Inspired by real-life characters from May's childhood, this unbridled portrait of male friendship turns tragic in this unsung masterpiece of cinema.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu shot to international prominence with this rigorously realistic Palme d'Or-winning second feature. The film is set in n 1987 during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. College roommates, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Găbita (Laura Vasiliu) seek an illegal abortion for Găbita. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days recounts the events of twenty-four hours culminating with the encounter with a manipulative and menacing abortionist (Vlad Ivanov). The powerful performances accentuate the characters' flawed humanity. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a gutting account of the impossible choices women face when taking control of their bodies means breaking the law.

In the Heat of the Night A black Philadelphia detective (Sidney Poitier) train home stops over in Sparta, Mississippi. While embroiled in a murder case, he forms an uneasy alliance with the bigoted police chief (Rod Steiger (who would a Best Actor Oscar for his performance). Poitier faces mounting pressure from Sparta's hostile citizens to catch the killer. Director Norman Jewison balances social commentary with thrilling police procedural all seen through the eye of the extraordinary cinematographer, Haskell Wexler. Quincy Jones's eclectic score adds to the seething indignation and moral authority provided by Poitier and "Method" actor Steiger. Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, In the Heat of the Night is one of the most courageous Hollywood films of the civil rights era.

Special features featured in these Criterion additions include 2K digital masters, 4K restorations, 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, interviews with directors, conversation film critics, commentaries, documentaries about the making of several of the films, trailers, critical essays, and more. Criterion breaks out all the stops for every release, and these films are no excetion.

#Criterion #ElaineMay #AlfredHitchcock #4KRestoration #PalmdOr

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