Criterion in December 2022: COOLEY HIGH, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, Mai Zetterling, Michael Haneke
The Criterion Collection has always put acclaimed filmmakers first. so let's talk about Mai Zetterling and Michael Haneke first.
In December 2022, Criterion will be releasing three films from each filmmaker. Michael Haneke: Trilogy collects the first three he directed: The Seventh Continent, Benny's Video, and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. Criterion calls it "a trilogy depicting a coldly bureaucratic society in which genuine human relationships have been supplanted by a deep-seated collective malaise," which probably won't surprise you if you're a fan of the Austrian auteur. (Personally, I'm more of a hot-blooded fellow, but to each his own.)
Three Films By Mai Zetterling gathers "three provocative, taboo-shattering works from the 1960s featuring some of Swedish cinema's most iconic stars," per Criterion. "With their audacious narrative structures that fuse reality and fantasy, their elaborate use of metaphor and symbolism, and their willingness to delve into the most fraught realms of human experience, these movies are models of adventurous, passionately engaged filmmaking." (I confess to total ignorance here, but cheers to you if your Prayer to the God of Criterion has finally been answered.)
Back to my personal era of greater expertise: the 1970s. Michael Schulz's Cooley High (1975) is remarkably raw and rambunctious. Written by Eric Monte, the film drew on his own life experiences, which fuels its burning authenticity. Set in Chicago, 1964, the film follows a group of friends and "arrived at something truly unique in 1970s cinema: an endearingly funny, tender, and authentic portrait of Black teens striving toward a brighter tomorrow, brought to life by a dynamic ensemble cast and set to a heavenly hit parade of Motown classics," as the poets/copywriters at Criterion put it.
I've also seen Todd Haynes' The Velvet Underground, which does a great job of capturing how and why the group inspired so many musicians to form their own groups and to write their own songs.
No 4Ks in this group, so Blu-ray collectors can rest easy with this month's investment in good taste. Visit the official Criterion site for much more information and to place your orders.