The Criterion Collection August 2024 Releases

A complete list with everything coming to The Criterion Collection in August 2024

albert brooks real life movie criterion
Albert Brooks in Real Life (1979)

The Criterion Collection is back with a strong list of releases set for the end of summer. These are all blind spots in my personal experience watching movies, and the double feature of films directed by both Kira Muratova and Albert Brooks means I’ll be doing a couple deep dives into these directors at some point in the coming months.

I’m also fascinated in the Bernardo Bertolucci 4K restoration of The Last Emperor, which became a major Oscars award-season player at the time of its release. Sweeping epics as successful as this one are becoming harder and harder to find, and I hope to give this one a shot as well in the near future.

And maybe I’ll report back on my feelings for a few of these films as I see them, but for now, here’s what is releasing in The Criterion Collection in August 2024:

Brief Encounters (1967) and The Long Farewell (1971) – Two Films Directed by Kira Muratova

Kira Muratova Criterion Collection

Per The Criterion Collection: Nobody made films like Kira Muratova. Uncompromising and uncategorizable, the Ukrainian iconoclast withstood decades of censorship to realize her singular vision in hypnotically beautiful, expressionistically heightened films that remain unique in their ability to evoke complex interior worlds. Her first two solo features, Brief Encounters and The Long Farewell, are fascinatingly fragmented portraits of women navigating work, romance, and family life with a mix of deep yearning and playful pragmatism. Long suppressed by Soviet authorities, these films became legendary—along with their maker—and they now make for a revelatory introduction to this most fearlessly original of artists.

Brief Encounters (1967) and The Long Farewell (1971) releases on August 13, 2024 from The Criterion Collection and can be pre-ordered here.

The Last Emperor (1987) – Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci

The Last Emperor Criterion Collection

Per The Criterion Collection: Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated—quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the scope of the film was, and remains, undeniably powerful—the life of Emperor Puyi, who took the throne in 1908, at age three, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval within and without the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Qing-dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy.

The Last Emperor (1987) releases on August 13, 2024 from The Criterion Collection and can be pre-ordered here.

Not a Pretty Picture (1975) – Directed by Martha Coolidge

not a pretty picture criterion collection

Per The Criterion Collection: Trailblazing filmmaker Martha Coolidge made her feature debut with this unflinchingly personal hybrid of documentary and fiction. Centered on an intense reenactment of Coolidge’s experience of rape in her adolescence, the film casts Michele Manenti (also a survivor) as the director’s younger self, and observes the actor and her castmates as they engage in a profound dialogue about what it means to recreate these traumatic memories, and about their attitudes concerning consent and self-blame. A high-stakes experiment in metacinema that broke new ground with its uncompromising examination of date rape, Not a Pretty Picture brings a stunning immediacy to questions about the on-screen representation of sexual violence and the limits of artistic catharsis.

Not a Pretty Picture (1975) releases on August 20, 2024 from The Criterion Collection and can be pre-ordered here.

Real Life (1979) – Directed by Albert Brooks

real life albert brooks criterion collection

Per The Criterion Collection: Decades before reality television reigned supreme, there was Albert Brooks’s debut feature, Real Life, a brilliantly deadpan, stylistically innovative satire about the perils and pitfalls of trying to capture the truth on film. The writer-director plays “Albert Brooks,” a narcissistic Hollywood filmmaker who plans to spend the year in Phoenix embedded with Warren and Jeanette Yeager (Charles Grodin and Frances Lee McCain) and their two children, deploying an arsenal of cutting-edge equipment (including the over-the-head Ettinaur 226XL camera) to capture an American family’s ordinary day-to-day. Chronicling the project’s disastrous fallout, as the meddlesome Albert can’t help getting too close to his subjects, this pioneering mockumentary is more relevant than ever amid today’s media landscape.

Real Life (1979) releases on August 27, 2024 from The Criterion Collection and can be pre-ordered here.

Mother (1996) – Directed by Albert Brooks

mother albert brooks criterion collection

Per The Criterion Collection: Reeling after his second divorce and struggling with writer’s block, sci-fi novelist John Henderson (Albert Brooks) resolves to figure out where his life went wrong, and hits on an unorthodox solution: moving back in with his relentlessly disapproving, cheerfully passive-aggressive mother (Debbie Reynolds), whose favorite son has always been John’s younger brother, Jeff (Rob Morrow). It’s an experiment that, however harebrained, delivers surprising results. Brooks’s film perfectly blends the writer-director-star’s biting wit with insight and inviting warmth, while giving him a formidable foil in the delightful Reynolds, triumphant in a comeback role that’s equal parts caustic and charming.

Mother (1996) releases on August 27, 2024 from The Criterion Collection and can be pre-ordered here.

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