Coming Soon on Criterion: TOKYO OLYMPIAD and THE CAMERAMAN
With this year's Olympic Games in Japan now in question, what better time to revisit Kon Ichikawa's spellbinding documentary Toyko Olympiad?
When I first saw the film, sometime after the 1972 Summer Olympics, I was struck by the visual poetry -- the slow-motion aesthetic, especially -- which contrasted starkly with the live coverage of sports that I'd been avidly watching as a budding athlete. My sports career was nipped in the bud by my complete lack of demonstrable athletic potential, but those images have remained locked into my brain ever since. I tend to think that, even if you lack much, if any, interest in sports, this remains a compelling experience.
First released in 1965, The Criterion Collection will be releasing the film, restored in 4K, on Blu-ray in June 2020.
That month will also see the release of Buster Keaton's The Cameraman. My friend and colleague J. Hurtado wrote in the past about multiple Keaton releases on Blu-ray, and while I'm not the expert that he is, I can say that I have long treasured Keaton's films, and The Cameraman is certainly no exception. Criterion notes that it was "the final work over which he maintained creative control."
Our own Shelagh Rowan-Legg reviewed Portrait of a Lady on Fire out of the Toronto Film Festival last fall, noting: "Writer/director Céline Sciamma's star continues to rise as she deftly handles a classical period film with her eye, again, to identity and presentation, at a time and in a class system where certain loves could definitely not speak their name." The film ended up on a lot of Top 10 lists for the year, and now it comes to home video in what we can assume will be a sparkling Blu-ray, featuring a new 4K digital master, a new conversation with director Sciamma and film critic Dana Stevens, and more features.
As a devoted fan of 70s cinema, I'm very happy to see Paul Mazursky's An Unmarried Woman heading for release. Jill Clayburgh gives a terrific performance in a film that very much reflects the changing sexual mores in 1978, so it should be fascinating to compare with today's generation. The Blu-ray features a new 4K digital restoration, new interviews, and an audio commentary with Mazursky and Clayburgh from 2005.
Lastly, Come and See is, per Criterion, about a soldier who discovers "a waking nightmare of unimaginable carnage and cruelty, rendered with a feverish, otherworldly intensity" by director Elem Klimov. Made in 1985, the film has steadily gained admirers over the years, and the new Blu-ray should amplify its audience.
Visit the official Criterion site for more information, including specific release dates and special features.