A complete guide to everything coming to The Criterion Collection in April 2024
April for The Criterion Collection will be filled with a handful of movies I’ve never seen. Usually, there’s at least one or two restorations of movies I’m familiar with, or a movie that’s been released in the last few years. That’s not the case this time around, which includes a few old school classics and international hits. As always, I’ll try to seek these out beforehand to help gauge my interest in their physical releases. But for now, I can only provide what Criterion is offering as their summaries, as well as the recommendation to do your research. The April 2024 releases include:
La haine – Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
Per The Criterion Collection: Mathieu Kassovitz took the film world by storm with La haine, a gritty, unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day France, specifically the low-income banlieue districts on Paris’s outskirts. Aimlessly passing their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz (Vincent Cassel), Hubert (Hubert Koundé), and Saïd (Saïd Taghmaoui)—Jewish, African, and Arab, respectively—give human faces to France’s immigrant populations, their bristling resentment at their marginalization slowly simmering until it reaches a climactic boiling point. A work of tough beauty, La haine is a landmark of 1990s French cinema and a gripping reflection of its country’s ongoing identity crisis.
La haine releases on April 2, 2024 and can be pre-ordered here.
Picnic at Hanging Rock – Directed by Peter Weir
Per The Criterion Collection: This sensual and striking chronicle of a disappearance and its aftermath put director Peter Weir on the map and helped usher in a new era of Australian cinema. Based on an acclaimed 1967 novel by Joan Lindsay, Picnic at Hanging Rock is set at the turn of the twentieth century and concerns a small group of students from an all-female college who vanish, along with a chaperone, while on a St. Valentine’s Day outing. Less a mystery than a journey into the mystic, as well as an inquiry into issues of class and sexual repression in Australian society, Weir’s gorgeous, disquieting film is a work of poetic horror whose secrets haunt viewers to this day.
Picnic at Hanging Rock releases on April 9, 2024 and can be pre-ordered here.
Werckmeister Harmonies – Directed by Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky
Per The Criterion Collection: This mesmeric parable of societal collapse is an enigma of transcendent visual, philosophical, and mystical resonance. Adapted from a novel by László Krasznahorkai, Werckmeister Harmonies unfolds in an unknown time in an unnamed village, where, one day, a mysterious circus—complete with an enormous stuffed whale and a shadowy, demagogue-like figure known as the Prince—arrives and appears to awaken a kind of madness in the citizens that builds inexorably toward violence. In thirty-nine hypnotic long takes engraved in ghostly black and white, auteur Béla Tarr and codirector-editor Ágnes Hranitzky conjure an apocalyptic vision of dreamlike dread and fathomless beauty.
Werckmeister Harmonies releases on April 16, 2024 and can be pre-ordered here.
I Am Cuba – Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov
Per The Criterion Collection: Both a landmark of radical political cinema and one of the most visually ravishing films ever made, this legendary hymn to revolution shimmers across the screen like a fever dream of rebellion. The result of an extraordinarily ambitious collaboration between the Soviet and Cuban film industries, director Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba unfolds in four explosive vignettes that capture Cuban life on the brink of transformation, as crushing economic exploitation and inequality give way to a working-class uprising. Backed by Carlos Fariñas’s stirring score, the dazzling camera work by Sergei Urusevsky—an inspiration for generations of filmmakers to follow—gives flight to the movie’s message of liberation.
I Am Cuba releases on April 23, 2024 and can be pre-ordered here.
Dogfight – Directed by Nancy Savoca
Per The Criterion Collection: An ineffably bittersweet portrait of youth in the 1960s, Nancy Savoca’s funny, sensitive tale of love and war etches two vividly alive characters: aspiring San Francisco folk singer Rose (Lili Taylor) and hotheaded, Vietnam-bound marine Eddie (River Phoenix), who meet on the occasion of a cruelly misogynistic party where men compete to bring the most unattractive dates they can find. But what begins as a night to forget unexpectedly develops into something far more meaningful. Featuring music by folk legends Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Pete Seeger, Dogfight captures the miracle of human connection while gracefully subverting ideas surrounding machismo, patriotic duty, and the very meaning of America itself.
Dogfight releases on April 30, 2024 and can be pre-ordered here.
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