The Criterion Collection has been bringing films – classic and contemporary – from all genres to audiences since 1984. This year’s releases feature some prescient science fiction, sumptuous dramas, screwball comedies, and some of the best European and Asian cinema.
I Married a Witch (1942). René Clair directed this screwball comedy about a blonde bombshell – and a witch (Veronica Lake) – who finds herself attracted to one of the descendants (Frederic March) who sent her to the stake.
Autumn Sonata (1978). This late Ingmar Bergman film stars Ingrid Bergman as Charlotte, a world famous pianist. Charlotte finds herself confronting her daughter Eva (Liv Ullmann), who she committed to an institution because of her mental instability.
To Be or Not to Be (1942). Ernst Lubitsch directed this black comedy about a pair of actors, husband and wife (Jack Benny and Carole Lombard), who become involved with the capture of a German spy during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Charulata (1964). Satyajit Ray directed this drama set in late-nineteenth-century India about Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee), a lonely wife who finds herself attracted and inspired by her workaholic husband’s cousin (Soumitra Chatterjee).
Seconds (1966). John Frankenheimer directed this innovative and edgy science fiction thriller about a middle-aged banker (Rock Hudson) who, bored with his suburban existence, undergoes a bizarre procedure to start a new life.
Babette’s Feast (1987). This film from Gabriel Axel tells the story of a mysterious French housekeeper (Stéphane Audran) who creates an extraordinary meal that changes the perceptions of an isolated community in nineteenth-century Denmark.
Marketa Lazarová (1967). This experimental Czech epic from František Vláčil tells the story of a rivalry between two medieval clans that represents the clash between Christianity and Paganism.
Things to Come (1936). Science fiction author H.G. Wells was heavily involved in this film about 100 years of life on earth; through war, plagues, anarchy, and a trip to the moon. Raymond Massey stars.
Life is Sweet (1990). Mike Leigh directs this very British comedy about a working-class London family – mum and dad (Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent) and their totally opposite twin daughters (Claire Skinner, Jane Horrocks).
Medium Cool (1969). Haskell Wexler combines fiction with reality in this story of a TV cameraman (Robert Forster) who finds himself in the middle of the riots at the Chicago Democratic National Convention in 1968.