Two Classic Films
I've blogged before about my obsession with DVDs from The Criterion Collection. The films they select are truly high art, and the way the company presents them -- from the new transfers to the packaging -- is exceptional. I have 20 Criterion edition DVDs and these two will soon be joining the shelf: Louis Malle's The Lovers (1958) and Milcho Manchevski's Before the Rain (1994).
The Lovers is one of Jeanne Moreau's best films and it caused a huge controversy when it came out in the 50s for its -- at the time -- raw sexuality and passion. It's a New Wave classic, and Moreau's bored housewife who drifts into an affair is one of her best roles. Her expressive face and fearless abandon has always been the hallmark of her career. Criterion's releases of Moreau's other classics, Elevator to the Gallows and Jules et Jim, are brilliant.
Oddly enough, I was watching Before the Rain on cable last Friday night when the tornado came through Atlanta. The film has never been available on DVD, so it had been 14 years since I'd last seen it. Before the lights went out, I was cursing the gods for this not being on DVD. Today, I just happened to check the new releases page on the Criterion website and there it was. Manchevski made the film during the height of the Balkan conflict in Macedonia. The triptych of stories revolve around a Christian monk, a photo journalist and his British agent, played by the late Katrin Cartlidge. With the ongoing war and religious strife in the Middle East, Criterion's release of this modern classic is perfect timing.