Janus American Documentaries Collection

Janus Films (The Criterion Collection)
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13 videos in this collection

Grey Gardens
Meet Big and Little Edie Beale: mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, and reclusive cousins of Jackie Onassis. The two manage to thrive together amid the decay and disorder of their…
Salesman
A landmark American documentary, Salesman captures in vivid detail the bygone era of the door-to-door salesman. While laboring to sell a gold-embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and…
The Times of Harvey Milk
A true twentieth-century trailblazer, Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in…
The War Room
The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House--and changed the face…
Louie Bluie
Crumb director Terry Zwigoff's first film is a true treat: a documentary about the obscure country-blues musician and idiosyncratic visual artist Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, member of the last known…
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm
In his one-of-a-kind fiction/documentary hybrid Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, director William Greaves presides over a beleaguered film crew in New York's Central Park, leaving them to try to figure out what…
God's Country
In 1979, Louis Malle traveled into the heart of Minnesota to capture the everyday lives of the men and women in a prosperous farming community. Six years later, during Ronald…
Always for Pleasure
Les Blank's celebration of the spirit and social traditions of New Orleans, featuring Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. It is an intense insider's portrait of New Orleans' street…
Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins
The great Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins is captured brilliantly in this deeply moving film. Blank reveals Lightnin's inspiration, and features a generous helping of classic blues, including the songs, Mr.…
Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers
In this love letter to "the stinking rose," documentarian Les Blank interviews garlic fanatics of all stripes, from cooks to members of garlic appreciation societies. The film, (a lip-smacking foray…
Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists
This documentary from Les Blank follows the indomitable Gerald "The Maestro" Gaxiola, who turned to a life of prolific art making after years as an aircraft mechanic, traveling salesman, and…
Martha Graham: Dance on Film
One of the great artistic forces of the twentieth century, performer, choreographer, and teacher Martha Graham influenced dance worldwide. Criterion presents a sampling of her stunning craft, all collaborations with…
Spend It All
Blank journeys down the bayous and byways of Southwest Louisiana in this riveting portrait of the region's Cajun community.

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Border Radio
Before carving out a niche as one of the most distinct voices in nineties American cinema, Allison Anders made her debut, alongside codirectors and fellow UCLA film school students Kurt Voss and Dean Lent, with 1987's Border Radio. A low-key, semi-improvised postpunk diary that took four years to complete, Border…
Burden of Dreams
For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man's attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this…
Clean, Shaven
Lodge Kerrigan began his succession of utterly unique, visually and aurally dazzling character studies with the raw, ravaging Clean, Shaven. A compelling headfirst dive into the mindscape of a schizophrenic (played by the remarkable Peter Greene) as he tries to track down his daughter after he is released from an…
The Kid Brother
One of Harold Lloyd's most beloved films, The Kid Brother features the actor's performance as an effete son trying to earn the respect of his hard-nosed sheriff father and the lovely Mary Powers (Jobyna Ralston).
Passing Fancy
The first of many films featuring the endearing single-dad Kihachi (played wonderfully by Takeshi Sakamoto), Passing Fancy is a humorous and heartfelt study of a close, if fraught, father-son relationship. With an ever more sophisticated visual style and understanding of fragile human relationships, Ozu seamlessly weaves rib-tickling comedy and weighty…
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…
Le Million
An impoverished artist discovers he has purchased a winning lottery ticket at the very moment his creditors come to collect. The only problem is, the ticket is in the pocket of his coat. . . which he left at his girlfriend's apartment. . . who gave the coat to a…
An Autumn Afternoon
Yasujiro Ozu's final film was also his final masterpiece, the gently heartbreaking story of a man's dignified resignation to both life's ever-shifting currents and society's gradual modernization. Though widower Shuhei Hirayama (Ozu's frequent leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of…
The Fire Within
Part of the Series: Janus French New Wave Collection
After garnering international acclaim for such seminal crowd-pleasers as The Lovers and Zazie dans le metro, Louis Malle gave his fans a shock with The Fire Within (Le feu follet), a penetrating study of individual and social inertia. Maurice Ronet (Elevator to the Gallows), in an implosive, haunted performance, plays…
Il Sorpasso
Part of the Series: Janus Favorites Collection
The ultimate Italian road comedy, Il sorpasso stars the unlikely pair of Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant as, respectively, a waggish, freewheeling bachelor and the straitlaced law student he takes on a madcap trip from Rome to Tuscany. An unpredictable journey that careers from slapstick to tragedy, this film, directed…
The Human Condition: Parts 3 & 4
Masaki Kobayashi's mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three parts, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition(Ningen no joken), adapted from Junpei Gomikawa's six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji (handsome Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai)…