The Criterion Collection has just announced their December release titles, featuring films such as David Cronenberg’s Crash, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Amores Perros and the re-release of Robert Bresson’s Mouchette. These films, however, are only some of the many titles that have received the special curation of one of the most important film distributors of physical media in the world; a company that makes the art of collecting films into an activity as important as preserving paintings, sculptures and photographs.
With that, I’ve decided to gather the most incredible and significant Criterion releases of 2020, in my opinion. Remembering that some of these titles haven’t been released yet, but you can buy all of them at the Criterion Collection website.
10. The Comfort of Strangers (1990) by Paul Schrader
Paul Schrader’s The Comfort of Strangers may not be a masterpiece like Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice, but the effort for being as special as the Italian classic is notable. Based on the novel of Ian McEwan, the movie follows the psychosexual story of an American couple who ends up being part of something bigger than themselves after they befriend a local couple. With an astonishing cinematography by Danti Spinotti and wardrobe provided by Giorgio Armani, The Comfort of Strangers is a mysterious and sensual drama that is definitely worth taking a look at.
09. Crash (1996) by David Cronenberg
A movie that I absolutely adore and I believe people will talk more about it thanks to this edition is David Cronenberg’s Crash, an outstanding and crazy film about a woman who after being in a car accident, she starts to become sexually aroused with cars and crashes. Starring Holly Hunter, James Spader, Elias Koteas and Deborah Kara Unger, this is not only one of Criterion’s best 2020 releases but also one of David Cronenberg’s best movies.
08. Roma (2018) by Alfonso Cuarón
One of the most acclaimed foreign films of the decade has just received a special edition by the Criterion. Winner of Best Director, Cinematography and Foreign Film at the 2019 Academy Awards, Roma tells the semi-biographical story of Cuarón’s childhood by portraying the life of a housekeeper who takes care a middle- class family in Mexico. The movie is currently being shown at Netflix but the Criterion made sure to give us this special edition, proving that collecting films is not only about having the movie to watch whenever we want but a special and longing relationship with the movies we love.
07. Teorema (1968) by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Being one of my favorite films of all time, I couldn’t be more excited by seeing the Criterion Collection release Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema. Even though I already have a BFI Blu Ray copy of the film, it’s good to know that this masterpiece is available through one of my favorite film distributors, being possible for other people to discover and love it as much as I do. The film tells the story of a stranger who goes to spend some time with a rich Italian family and ends up seducing every single one of them until he leaves an inexplicable sense of loss after his departure.
06. Marriage Story (2019) by Noah Baumbach
It’s very interesting how this is the second out of three Netflix movies that the Criterion has decided to release on physical media. One way or the other, we couldn’t be happier to see Marriage Story receiving the attention it deserves for being one of the best movies of 2019 and definitely with the best performances of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Thankfully, we won’t need to turn Netflix on to re-watch this amazing movie because we will have it on our shelves!
05. Beau Travail (1999) by Claire Denis
Being one of the most surprising and incredible releases of the Criterion Collection this year, Beau Travail is the enigmatic homoerotic soldier drama directed by Claire Denis, who creates a visual exercise of contemplation and storytelling in this incredible movie of masculinity and sensuality. It was a film that definitely needed a restoration since all available copies were pretty poor, making me really intrigued to revisit this as soon as I have the chance. If you haven’t watched Beau Travail yet, make sure to grab a Criterion copy!
04. The Irishman (2019) by Martin Scorsese
Just like Roma and Marriage Story, The Criterion Collection will release The Irishman, a Netflix movie directed by Martin Scorsese. The cover is probably the most beautiful out of all Netflix releases, which matches the powerful feature of the famous American director, which stars no one less than Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
03. Parasite (2019) by Bong Joon-ho
Winner of Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards, Parasite is probably one of the most important movies of the decade, which even though it already had a Blu Ray copy of it, the Criterion Collection made sure to release this special edition with exclusive content, making it one of the most significant releases of the distributor company in 2020.
02. Portrait of a Lady On Fire (2019) by Céline Sciamma
I have no idea why Portrait of a Lady On Fire wasn’t nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars but thankfully the Criterion Collection isn’t as stupid as the Academy Awards, making sure to be the only American distributor to release this film in physical media. The result is this astonishing edition that is definitely on the same level as the incredible masterpiece directed by Céline Sciamma about the secret romance of a woman and a painter in 1770’s France.
01. Come and See (1985) by Elem Klimov
And for last but not least, Come and See is easily one of the best and most disturbing movies ever made. Thankfully to this restoration, there seemed to be an increase of this film’s viewing in social media websites, proving that people aren’t just interested in streaming services – they are also interested in quality and curatorship, making Come and See by far the best and most important Criterion Collection 2020 release.
Honorable mentions to: The Elephant Man by David Lynch, Fail Safe by Sidney Lumet, and the box The Complete Films of Agnes Varda.