It’s time once again for C What’s On, our monthly look at what the Criterion Channel has coming up for its subscribers. The July programming announcement from the Criterion Collection features another fine line-up of classics and newer films, including the seven-hour Soviet epic War and Peace. You can binge it on your laptop in bed, just as Tolstoy intended. Other highlights this month include many films by Pedro Almodóvar, that charming duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and a spotlight on the work of cinematographer Jack Cardiff.
The full July schedule for the Criterion Channel is below. My picks for the month are designated by a double asterisk (**), and I’ve included some commentary where warranted.
Monday, July 1**
Summer of ’69 x 3
- Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
- Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, 1969)
- Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)
Tom Jones: Criterion Collection Edition #910 (Tony Richardson, 1963)
Bottle Rocket: Criterion Collection Edition #450 (Wes Anderson, 1996)
Commentary: A few seminal movies from 1969 here, but my main highlight on this day is Wes Anderson’s debut Bottle Rocket. The Anderson aesthetic wouldn’t fully emerge until Rushmore, so Bottle Rocket is an odd duck in his filmography that feels like he’s riffing on the “witty criminal banter” tropes of pseudo-Tarantino 90s filmmaking. Owen Wilson’s line about larger bags for atlases and thesauruses will always be golden. Wow.
Tuesday, July 2
Short + Feature: Through a Child’s Eyes
All These Creatures (Charles Williams, 2018) and El Sur (Víctor Erice, 1983)
Wednesday, July 3**
Directed by Rebecca Miller
- Angela (1995)
- Personal Velocity (2002)
Featuring an interview with Rebecca Miller
Commentary: I am all about the Criterion Channel’s spotlights on different women directors, which has been consistent each month.
Thursday, July 4
High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952)
Featuring a classic laserdisc commentary by film scholar Howard Suber, which has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray
Commentary: Curious to watch this again for the first time since high school.
Friday, July 5**
Double Feature: Doin’ It for Themselves
Girlfriends (Claudia Weill, 1978) and Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)
Commentary: Guys, I love Frances Ha. This double feature seems fitting.
Saturday, July 6
Saturday Matinee: Fiddler on the Roof (Norman Jewison, 1971)
Commentary: The other month the Flixist staff ran a feature on classic movies we’ve never seen. I wrote about Spartacus, but I could have also included Fiddler on the Roof. Time to check this one off the list. (I still haven’t seen Spartacus.)
Sunday, July 7**
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
- Matador (1986)
- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
- Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)
- The Flower of My Secret (1995)
- All About My Mother (1999)
- Talk to Her (2002)
- Bad Education (2004)
- Volver (2006)
- The Skin I Live In (2011)
Featuring an extensive interview with Almodóvar from 1985
Commentary: This is not all of Almodóvar’s films, but it’s many of them, which means rewatches are in order. I’m especially happy they’ve included The Skin I Live In, Almodóvar’s perverse thriller with nods to Eyes Without a Face. It was one of my favorite movies of 2011.
Monday, July 8
Harold and Maude: Criterion Collection Edition #608 (Hal Ashby, 1971)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown: Criterion Collection Edition #855 (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)
Tuesday, July 9
Short + Feature: Bad Trips
Old Man (Leah Shore, 2012) and Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)
With an introduction by Old Man director Leah Shore
Commentary: I’m interested in Old Man more than Easy Rider. Looking at just a bit of the animation online, it feels like a mix of Bill Plympton and René Laloux, with maybe just a hint of Ralph Steadman. I’m all for dark psychedelic imagery, and in this case, the imagery is propelled by a phone conversation with Charles Manson.
Wednesday, July 10**
Burning Bush (Agnieszka Holland, 2013)
Featuring a new introduction by film scholar Annette Insdorf
Commentary: I missed this miniseries at the New York Film Festival a few years back, so it’ll be good to finally give it a watch. I’ve heard good things about it. I should finally watch Holland’s Europa Europa some time.
Thursday, July 11**
Fred and Ginger
- The Gay Divorcee (Mark Sandrich, 1934)
- Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935)
- Swing Time (George Stevens, 1936)
- Shall We Dance (Mark Sandrich, 1937)
Featuring a new introduction featuring critics and authors Gary Giddins, Brian Seibert, and Deborah Grace Winer
Commentary: Dance and romancing, with a little bit of a-singin’ and a-swingin’.
Friday, July 12**
Double Feature: Odd Couples
The African Queen (John Huston, 1951) and Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)
Commentary: What a great oddball pairing for this double-feature. I haven’t seen The African Queen since I was literally five years old. Can’t remember a thing except Bogart and Hepburn looking very sweaty.
Saturday, July 13**
Saturday Matinee: The Bear (Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1988)
Commentary: I wanted to see this when I was a kid, though I am not quite sure why. I’m super curious how I’ll feel about it as an adult.
Sunday, July 14
- Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle, 1958)
- The Lovers (Louis Malle, 1958)
- La notte (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961)
- Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)
- Bay of Angels (Jacques Demy, 1963)
- Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1966)
- Mademoiselle (Tony Richardson, 1966)
- The Immortal Story (Orson Welles, 1968)
- Querelle (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982)
- La truite (Joseph Losey, 1983)
Featuring an in-depth interview with Moreau from 1972
Commentary: This showcase reminds me how little I know of famous foreign actresses. It’ll be a good dive into her work.
Monday, July 15**
Babylon (Franco Rosso, 1980)
Featuring a conversation between critic Ashley Clark and author and musician Vivien Goldman
Commentary: Ashley Clark does the film programming at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and I always like his intros and selections. I’m pretty sure Babylon was screened last year, but I couldn’t make it. Looking forward to catching it next month.
Tuesday, July 16
Short + Feature: One Giant Leap
Solar Walk (Réka Bucsi, 2017) and For All Mankind (Al Reinert, 1989)
The Tin Drum: Criterion Collection Edition #234 (Volker Schlöndorff, 1979)
Wednesday, July 17**
Cameraperson: Criterion Collection Edition #853 (Kirsten Johnson, 2016)
Commentary: Ever since seeing Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson last year, I’ve been evangelical about it. It’s one of my favorite documentaries, and one of my favorite movies of the decade. Please give it watch.
Thursday, July 18**
War and Peace: Criterion Collection Edition #983 (Sergei Bondarchuk, 1966)
Commentary: Clocking in at 422 minutes long, War and Peace is supposed to be a lush, sweeping epic that showed Soviet filmmakers could compete with Hollywood. There have been theatrical screenings of the film in the lead up to the Criterion release, but I could not find the seven free hours to see it. Now I can give it a watch in the comfort of my own home. It may not be the same experience as watching Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó on the big screen, but I look forward to this regardless.
Friday, July 19**
Double Feature: Camp Pleasures
The Love Witch (Anna Biller, 2016) and Donkey Skin (Jacques Demy, 1970)
Featuring an interview with director Anna Biller on the influence of Donkey Skin
Saturday, July 20
Saturday Matinee: The Trouble with Angels (Ida Lupino, 1966)
For All Mankind: Criterion Collection Edition #54 (Al Reinert, 1989)
Sunday, July 21
Directed by Richard Lester
- The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1959)
- A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
- The Knack… and How to Get It (1965)
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)
- Petulia (1968)
- The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
- The Three Musketeers (1973)
- The Four Musketeers (1974)
- Robin and Marian (1976)
Featuring a 30-minute documentary on Lester from 1997
Commentary: You know what Richard Lester film I think is underrated? Superman III. No joke, no irony.
Monday, July 22
Alan Cumming’s Adventures in Moviegoing
Che: Criterion Collection Edition #496 (Steven Soderbergh, 2008)
Tuesday, July 23
Short + Feature: Hanging on the Telephone
Human Voice (Edoardo Ponti, 2014) and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)
Wednesday, July 24**
Director: Ida Lupino
- Not Wanted (1949)
- On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray and [uncredited] Ida Lupino, 1951)
- The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
- The Bigamist (1953)
- The Trouble with Angels (1966)
Featuring a new introduction by critic Imogen Sara Smith
Commentary: I think I’ve seen The Trouble with Angels, though I may be mixing that up with another Hayley Mills movie. Regardless, I’m not familiar with Ida Lupino’s films, and this is a great chance to get acquainted with her work.
Thursday, July 25
Directed by Bruno Dumont
- La vie de Jésus (1997)
- L’humanité (1999)
- Flanders (2006)
- Camille Claudel 1915 (2013)
- Li’l Quinquin (2014)
- Slack Bay (2016)
Friday, July 26**
Double Feature: Killer Bs
T-Men (Anthony Mann, 1947) and Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948)
Commentary: A pair of hard-boiled B-movies from the same director? Sign me up.
Saturday, July 27
Saturday Matinee: Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (Jacques Tati, 1953)
Commentary: This isn’t my favorite Tati movie, but I do enjoy it quite a bit.
Sunday, July 28**
Cinematography by Jack Cardiff
- The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1943)
- A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1946)
- Black Narcissus (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1947)
- The Red Shoes (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
- The African Queen (John Huston, 1951)
- Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (Albert Lewin, 1951)
- War and Peace (King Vidor, 1956)
- The Vikings (Richard Fleischer, 1958)
- Fanny (Joshua Logan, 1961)
- The Girl on a Motorcycle (Jack Cardiff, 1968)
- Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (Craig McCall, 2010)
Commentary: My immediate thought looking at this selection of Cardiff’s work is “Imma put all them pretty pictures in my eyes and you can’t stop me.”
Monday, July 29**
Observations on Film Art No. 29: Plotting in Vagabond
Commentary: Agnès Varda’s 1985 film Vagabond is an excellent portrait of a homeless woman drifting through other people’s lives. This analysis of Varda’s narrative choices (they are snippets of a life, essentially told from the vantage point of other people’s lives) should prove fascinating.
Tuesday, July 30
Short + Feature: Killers Next Door
Fry Day (Laura Moss, 2017) and Man Bites Dog (Benoît Poelvoorde, Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, 1992)
Featuring an interview with Fry Day director Laura Moss
Commentary: I haven’t seen Man Bites Dog in a long time, and I’m not sure I’ve got the hard stomach or the cold heart anymore to endure its bleakness, but maybe I’ll give it a shot in this pairing.
Wednesday, July 31**
Directed by Larisa Shepitko
- Wings (1966)
- The Ascent (1976)