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Master of the House
Before he turned to the story of Joan of Arc, the Danish cinema genius Carl Theodor Dreyer fashioned this ahead-of-its-time examination of domestic life. A deft comedy of gentle revenge, it is the story of a housewife who, with the help of a wily nanny, turns the tables on her…
Pygmalion
Part of the Series: The Criterion British Collection
Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a "proper lady" in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. This Academy Award-winning inspiration for Lerner and…
Mamma Roma
Anna Magnani is Mamma Roma, a middle-aged prostitute who attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son. Filmed in the great tradition of Italian neorealism, Mamma Roma offers an unflinching look at the struggle for survival in postwar Italy, and highlights director Pier Paolo…
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 Double Life of Veronique
Krzysztof Kieslowski's international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irene Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Veronique, a French music teacher. Though unknown to each other, the two women share an…
An Angel at My Table
With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand's most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international…
The Rise of Catherine the Great
Part of the Series: The Criterion British Collection
A quick-witted and compelling dramatization of the troubled marriage of Catherine II (played by German actress Elisabeth Bergner, in her English-language debut) to Peter III (a randy Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and her subsequent ascension to the throne as Empress of Russia. With its luxurious renderings of the eighteenth-century St. Petersburg…
Breaking the Waves
Lars von Trier became an international sensation with this galvanizing realist fable about sex and spiritual transcendence. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Emily Watson stuns as Bess, a simple, pious newlywed in a tiny Scottish village who gives herself up to a shocking form of martyrdom after her husband (Stellan Skarsgard)…
Major Barbara
Part of the Series: The Criterion British Collection
Filmed in London in 1941, during the Blitz, Major Barbara emerged from a troubled production to become a major success for George Bernard Shaw and producer-director Gabriel Pascal. Pygmalion's Wendy Hiller returns, this time as one of Shaw's most memorable and controversial characters, Barbara Undershaft, a Salvation Army officer who…
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…
Late Autumn
The great actress and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict--a reworking of Ozu's 1949 masterpiece Late Spring. Additional Reading: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/634-eclipse-series-3-late-ozu
Tokyo Chorus
Combining three prevalent genres of the day--the student comedy, the salaryman film, and the domestic drama--Ozu created this warmhearted family comedy, and demonstrated that he was truly coming into his own as a cinema craftsman. The setup is simple: Low wage-earning dad Okajima is depending on his bonus, and so…