Belle de Jour

Criterion Collection/Janus Films
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La bete humaine
Based on the classic Emile Zola novel, Jean Renoir's La bete humaine was one of the legendary director's greatest popular successes--and earned star Jean Gabin a permanent place in the hearts of his countrymen. Part poetic realism, part film noir, the film is a hard-boiled and suspenseful journey into the…
A Story of Floating Weeds
In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade his 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds in color with the celebrated cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (Rashomon, Ugetsu). Setting his later version in a seaside location, Ozu otherwise preserves the details of his elegantly simple plot wherein an aging actor returns to a small…
Europa
"You will now listen to my voice . . . On the count of ten you will be in Europa . . ." So begins Max von Sydow's opening narration to Lars von Trier's hypnoticEuropa (known in the U.S. as Zentropa), a fever dream in which American pacifist Leopold Kessler…
The Lower Depths
Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa, two of cinema's greatest directors, transform Maxim Gorky's classic proletariat play The Lower Depths in their own ways for their own times. Renoir, working amidst the rise of Hitler and the Popular Front in France, had need to take license with the dark nature of…
The Threepenny Opera
Part of the Series: The Criterion German Collection
The sly melodies of composer Kurt Weill and the daring of dramatist Bertolt Brecht come together on-screen under the direction of German auteur G. W. Pabst (Pandora's Box) in this classic adaptation of the Weimar-era theatrical sensation. Set in the impoverished back alleys of Victorian London, The Threepenny Opera follows…
Persona
By the midsixties, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema's most unforgettable images. But with the radical Persona, this supreme artist attained new levels of visual poetry. In the first of a series of legendary performances for Bergman, Liv Ullmann plays a stage actor who has inexplicably gone…
Daisies
Maybe the New Wave's most anarchic entry, Vera Chytilova's absurdist farce follows the misadventures of two brash young women. Believing the world to be "spoiled," they embark on a series of pranks in which nothing--food, clothes, men, war--is taken seriously. Daisies is an aesthetically and politically adventurous film that's widely…
Orpheus
Jean Cocteau's update of the Orpheus myth depicts a famous poet (Jean Marais), scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife, Eurydice (Marie Dea), and a mysterious princess (Maria Casares). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the world of the living to the…
Weekend
This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema's great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous sequence in which the camera tracks along a…
Andrei Rublev
Immediately suppressed by the Soviets in 1966, Andrei Tarkovsky's epic masterpiece is a sweeping medieval tale of Russia's greatest icon painter. Too experimental, too frightening, too violent, and too politically complicated to be released officially, Andrei Rublev has existed only in shortened, censored versions until the Criterion Collection created this…
The Exterminating Angel
A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in Luis Bunuel's daring masterpiece The Exterminating Angel (El angel exterminador). Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie, comic absurdity, furthers Bunuel's wicked takedown…
Viridiana
Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Bunuel's irreverent vision of life as a beggar's banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece. In it, novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her…