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Criterion August 2024 Lineup Includes 4K ‘Last Emperor’ and a Pair of Albert Brooks Comedies

Criterion August 2024 Lineup Includes 4K ‘Last Emperor’ and a Pair of Albert Brooks Comedies

The Criterion Collection in August 2024 will release 4K editions of The Last Emperor, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Academy Award–winning epic set in Qing-dynasty China, and two Albert Brooks films — Real Life and Mother. Also on the slate for Blu-ray and DVD release are Brief Encounters/The Long Farewell: Two Films by Kira Muratova, and Not a Pretty Picture, a metacinematic experiment in re-creating trauma from Martha Coolidge.

Due Aug. 13 on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is 1987’s The Last Emperor. The film from director Bernardo Bertolucci won nine Academy Awards, sweeping every category in which it was nominated, including Best Picture. The film focuses on the life of Emperor Puyi, who took the throne in 1908 at age 3 before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval. The film sports a new 4K digital restoration with 2.0 surround DTS-HD master audio. The combo pack includes a 4K disc with the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR, and two regular Blu-ray Discs with the film (both the theatrical cut and a 218-minute television version) and bonus materials.

Extras include audio commentary featuring Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe and composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto; The Italian Traveler, Bernardo Bertolucci, a film by Fernand Moszkowicz tracing the director’s geographic influences, from Parma to China; footage taken by Bertolucci while on preproduction in China; two documentaries about the making of the film; a program featuring cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiani, costume designer James Acheson and art director Gianni Silvestri; an archival interview with Bertolucci; interviews with composer David Byrne and cultural historian Ian Buruma; the film’s trailer; plus a booklet containing an essay by film critic David Thomson, interviews with production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and actor Ying Ruocheng, a reminiscence by Bertolucci, and an essay by Fabien S. Gerard.

Also due Aug. 13 is Brief Encounters/The Long Farewell: Two Films By Kira Muratova, which will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. Ukrainian iconoclast Kira Muratova withstood decades of censorship to realize her singular vision in expressionistic films that remain unique in their ability to evoke complex interior worlds. Her first two solo features, 1967’s Brief Encounters and 1971’s The Long Farewell, are fragmented portraits of women navigating work, romance and family life with a mix of deep yearning and playful pragmatism. Long suppressed by Soviet authorities these films became legendary.

In Brief Encounters a hard-nosed city planner (played by Muratova herself) is entangled in a romantic triangle with her free-spirited geologist husband (legendary Soviet protest singer Vladimir Vysotskiy), and the young woman from the countryside (Nina Ruslanova) whom she hires as her housekeeper. The Long Farewell traces the growing rift that develops between an emotionally impulsive single mother (stage legend Zinaida Sharko) and her increasingly resentful teenage son (Oleg Vladimirsky), who upends her world when he announces that he wishes to live with his faraway father.

The films include new 4K digital restorations with uncompressed monaural soundtracks. Extras include interviews with scholars Elena Gorfinkel and Isabel Jacobs, an archival interview with Muratova, and a booklet with an essay by film critic Jessica Kiang.      

Due Aug. 20 on Blu-ray and DVD is 1975’s Not a Pretty Picture, a hybrid of documentary and fiction that marks the feature debut of director Martha Coolidge. Centered on an intense reenactment of Coolidge’s experience of rape in her adolescence, the film casts Michele Manenti (also a survivor) as the director’s younger self, and observes the actor and her castmates as they engage in a profound dialogue about what it means to re-create these traumatic memories, and about their attitudes concerning consent and self-blame.

The film includes a new 4K digital restoration supervised by and approved by Coolidge, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras include an interview with Coolidge conducted by filmmaker Allison Anders; Old-Fashioned Woman (1974), a documentary by Coolidge about her grandmother; plus a booklet with an essay by film critic Molly Haskell.

Arriving Aug. 27 on 4K Ultra HD disc and regular Blu-ray is 1979’s Real Life, Albert Brooks’s debut feature. A deadpan, stylistically innovative satire about the perils and pitfalls of trying to capture the truth on film, Real Life finds writer-director Brooks playing a fictionalized version of himself — a narcissistic Hollywood filmmaker who plans to spend the year in Phoenix embedded with Warren and Jeanette Yeager (Charles Grodin and Frances Lee McCain) and their two children, deploying an arsenal of cutting-edge equipment (including the over-the-head Ettinaur 226XL camera) to capture an American family’s ordinary day-to-day. The mockumentary chronicles the project’s disastrous fallout, as the meddlesome Albert can’t help getting too close to his subjects.

The film includes a new 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by Brooks, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. The 4K edition includes a 4K disc of the film presented in HDR, and a copy of the regular Blu-ray edition that includes the film and bonus materials. Extras include new interviews with Brooks and actor Frances Lee McCain, and a 3D trailer directed by Brooks.

Also arriving Aug. 27 on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc is Brooks’ 1996 film Mother. Reeling after his second divorce and struggling with writer’s block, sci-fi novelist John Henderson (Brooks) resolves to figure out where his life went wrong, and hits on an unorthodox solution: moving back in with his relentlessly disapproving, cheerfully passive-aggressive mother (Debbie Reynolds), whose favorite son has always been John’s younger brother, Jeff (Rob Morrow). It’s an experiment that, however harebrained, delivers surprising results.

The film sports a new 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD master audio. The 4K edition includes a 4K disc of the film presented in HDR, and a copy of the regular Blu-ray edition that includes the film and bonus materials. Extras include new interviews with Brooks and Morrow; a teaser directed by Brooks; and a booklet with an essay by critic Carrie Rickey.

 

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