Welcome to this month’s Criterion Memorandum. Join us, as we take a look at the latest announcements from the esteemed US boutique home video label.
July is a packed month. Leading the way is an HD upgrade of Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket, a film which is a genuine contender for title of Greatest Film Of All Time, and our most wanted Blu-ray. The long-mooted Scanners, from David Cronenberg finally makes an appearance, accompanied by Stereo, the Canadian filmmaker’s first film and a promising sounding new documentary on the special effects of Scanners. Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill and an upgraded edition of Erik Skjoldbjaerg’s Insomnia rounds things off.
It’s in The Essential Jacques Demy, a 6-film, 13-disc box-set comprised of Lola, Bay Of Angels, The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, The Young Girls Of Rochefort, Donkey Skin and Une Chambre en Ville that things really kick up a gear though. From the specifications alone The Essential Jacques Demy looks set to be one of Criterion’s most ambitious releases to date. An exhaustive array of extra material, including the fantastic Agnès Varda documentary The World Of Jacques Demy (as well as a second feature length documentary from Demy’s widow, The Young Girls Turn 25), four short films and a new video essay by James Quandt underline the set, while there’s an extensive array of text specific supplements for each film. Donkey Skin is particularly well served (and surprisingly so).
The Demy estate impressed earlier this year with their handling of the European release of The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, and look set to only build on it here, with the help of Criterion. That anything could overshadow the release of Pickpocket sounds ludicrous in itself, but in The Essential Jacques Demy we may be looking at a highlight of the year contender.