Welcome to the first official installment of C What’s On, our monthly look at what the Criterion Channel has coming up for subscribers. The Criterion Collection announced the official May programming last week, and it’s full of classics and great contemporary fare. Highlights include a focus on filmmakers Kelly Reichardt, George Cukor, Carol Reed, Anna Biller, Joanna Hogg, and Hong Sang-soo. Reed’s The Third Man is going to be available on The Criterion Channel this month as well, which is a nice treat.
So far The Criterion Channel has been wonderful, and I think Netflix has a lot to learn from the classic film streaming service. Admittedly I need to shape up and watch more. I only have a little more time to watch Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues, so that’s a priority tonight for sure.
I’ve included the full May schedule below, with a little commentary here and there on days I find notable. My picks for the month are designated by a double asterisk (**).
Wednesday, May 1**
Masterclass: Kelly Reichardt
Kelly Reichardt interviewed by film critic April Wolfe, plus four of Reichardt’s films:
- River of Grass (1994)
- Old Joy (2006)
- Wendy and Lucy (2008)
- Meek’s Cutoff (2010)
Commentary: I’ve been meaning to watch the work of Kelly Reichardt, and now I get to check out her first four feature films and an interview with a critic I like.
Thursday, May 2**
In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950) – Criterion Collection Edition #810
Carol Reed x 3
- Odd Man Out (1947)
- The Fallen Idol (1948)
- The Third Man (1949)
Commentary: The only Carol Reed film I’ve seen is The Third Man (more on that below), so this is a good chance to see more of his work.
Friday, May 3**
Double Feature:Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957) and Smithereens (Susan Seidelman, 1982)
Commentary: Smithereens was one of my favorite first-time watches last year during The 300. It’ll be interesting to see how it pairs with Nights of Cabiria, which I haven’t seen since college.
Saturday, May 4**
Saturday Matinee:Safety Last! (Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, 1923)
Commentary: The place to start if you are not familiar with silent film star Harold Llyod.
Sunday, May 5**
George Cukor’s Women
An illustrated audio conversation between classic Hollywood director George Cukor and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, and the following Cukor films:
- What Price Hollywood? (1932)
- Our Betters (1932)
- Dinner at Eight (1933)
- Little Women (1933)
- Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
- Camille (1936)
- The Women (1939)
- A Woman’s Face (1941)
- Two-Faced Woman (1942)
- Gaslight (1944)
Commentary: I’ve only seen two of these Cukor films (Sylvia Scarlett and Gaslight, the latter of which is where we get the term “gaslighting”), so I’ve got a lot fo fun watching to do.
Monday, May 6**
Barry Jenkins Presents Uptight (Jules Dassin, 1968)
Art-House America: The Belcourt Theatre
Commentary: If you don’t follow Barry Jenkins on Twitter, you really should. While so much of Film Twitter is caustic and angry, Jenkins is almost always positive about cinema (both indie films and blockbusters) and supportive of his fellow filmmakers.
Tuesday, May 7
Short + Feature:Logorama (Ludovic Houplain, François Alaux, and Hervé de Crécy, 2009) and Masculin féminin (Jean-Luc Godard, 1966)
Wednesday, May 8**
Joanna Hogg x 3
A new interview with Joanna Hogg, and three of her films:
- Unrelated (2007)
- Archipelago (2010)
- Exhibition (2013)
Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) – Criterion Collection Edition #385
Commentary: The Souvenir is one of my most anticipated films of the year. Nine days before its US release is ample time for me to check out Hogg’s previous films.
Thursday, May 9
The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955) – Criterion Collection Edition #541 – With an introduction by Guillermo del Toro
Commentary: I may not rewatch the movie (maybe I’ll find that blood-curdling Robert Mitchum scream), but I do want to hear what del Toro has to say.
Friday, May 10**
Double Feature:Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1967) and Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
Commentary: Two movies I’ve been meaning to rewatch, and a fine paring here. I still remember being an undergrad at a free screening of Mullholland Drive. Half of the college-aged audience vocally turned on the film. They walked out midway through, and the floor of the screening hall was covered in torn one-sheet movie posters. But hey, I liked it, and was able to find a pristine poster on the ground.
Saturday, May 11
Saturday Matinee:Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946)
Commentary: Wonder if Criterion Channel will host Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy at some point (The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus, Testament of Orpheus).
Sunday, May 12**
Happy Mother’s Day with these cinematic moms:
- Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945)
- White Heat (Raoul Walsh, 1949)
- Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo, 1964)
- Grey Gardens (Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer, 1976)
- Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
- Mother (Albert Brooks, 1996)
- I Killed My Mother (Xavier Dolan, 2009)
- Tiny Furniture (Lena Dunham, 2010)
Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo, 1964) – Criterion Collection Edition #22617
Commentary: I have been meaning to see Secrets & Lies forever, so this is a great excuse. Maybe that and the always rewatchable Grey Gardens; I’ll call my mom between the films to wish her well. (Hey. Call your mother.)
Monday, May 13
Tiny Furniture (Lena Dunham, 2010) – Criterion Collection Edition #597
Tuesday, May 14**
Short + Feature:Tidy Up (Satsuki Okawa, 2011) and Dodes’ka-den (Akira Kurosawa, 1970)
Commentary: I am pretty sure that the Tidy Up short is the one I’m crediting, which has a 1.2 out of 10 on IMDB right now based on 56 votes. Even if it is so disliked, at least it’ll be nice to rewatch Dodes’ka-den. I’ve only watched it on a bad VHS copy during the early 2000s, so I’m looking forward to seeing it crisply.
Wednesday, May 15
My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979) – Criterion Collection Edition #973
Thursday, May 16
Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948) – Criterion Collection Edition #921
Friday, May 17**
Double Feature:Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957) and Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)
Saturday, May 18**
Saturday Matinee:The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) and White Mane (Albert Lamorisse, 1952)
Commentary: Very curious to rewatch The Red Balloon. Literally have not seen this film in 30 years. I am so old.
Sunday, May 19**
Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa
Featuring the work of the acclaimed Japanese cinematographer:
- Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
- Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)
- A Story from Chikamatsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)
- Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)
- Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956)
- Conflagration (Kon Ichikawa, 1958)
- Odd Obsession (Kon Ichikawa, 1959)
- Floating Weeds (Yasujiro Ozu, 1959)
- Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961)
- Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (Kazuo Ikehiro, 1964)
- Tokyo Olympiad (Kon Ichikawa, 1965)
- Silence (Masahiro Shinoda, 1971)
- Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (Buichi Saito, 1972)
Commentary: So many classics of Japanese cinema lensed by one person. I had no idea. And look at the movies he worked on—classics by Kurosawa, Ozu, and Mizoguchi, as well as a Zatoichi film and one of the Lone Wold and Cub movies. What wonderful variety.
Monday, May 20
Observations on Film Art No. 27: Games of Vision in Street of Shame – Professor David Bordwell discusses Kenji Mizoguchi’s final film, Street of Shame.
Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa, 1961) – Criterion Collection Edition #52
Tuesday, May 21**
Short + Feature:Needle (Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, 2013) and Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1970)
Commentary: It’s on like Robert Bresson.
Wednesday, May 22**
Girlfriends (Claudia Weill, 1978) – With an introduction by Claudia Weill
Commentary: I missed a chance to see this on the big screen last year, so I’m glad to catch up with it via The Criterion Channel. Get to check this off the never-ending watchlist.
Thursday, May 23
Hong Sang-soo x 3
Featuring an introduction by Phillip Lopate, three films by the South Korean director:
- The Day He Arrives (2011)
- On the Beach at Night Alone (2017)
- Claire’s Camera (2017)
Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985) – Criterion Collection Edition #868
Commentary: I’ve seen three of Hong Sang-soo’s films and they didn’t do much for me, but I am curious to see On the Beach at Night Alone starring Kim Min-hee, and also Claire’s Camera, which stars Kim and Isabelle Huppert. If anything, Tampopo is a delight; a must-see if you haven’t watched it before.
Friday, May 24**
Double Feature:Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999)
Commentary: This should be an interesting pairing, but I may just rewatch Picnic at Hanging Rock of the two if I’m crunched for time.
Saturday, May 25**
Saturday Matinee:The Thief of Bagdad (Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, Tim Whelan, Zoltan Korda, and William Cameron Menzies, 1940)
Commentary: I’ve never seen this version of The Thief of Bagdad. Oddly, the one I saw the most growing up is some off-brand English-dubbed production I haven’t been able to track down on a cursory Google search. This is going to weigh on my mind for the rest of the day.
Sunday, May 26**
Sofia Coppola’s Adventures in Moviegoing
Monday, May 27**
The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949) – Criterion Collection Edition #64
Commentary: The Third Man was my favorite movie when I was 19 years old. I remember renting the original Criterion Collection DVD release from Netflix way back in the day. I was enamored with the canted angles, pervasive shadows, the quirkiness amid the noir, the zither score, and the whole atmosphere of the film. Nice to see it make an appearance on the Criterion Channel for the month.
Fun Fact: Back in the early 2000s, Netflix had a yellow and grey color scheme before changing to a red color scheme.
Tuesday, May 28**
Short + Feature: Butter Lamp (Tamdin Dorje, 2013) and Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)
45 Years (Andrew Haigh, 2015) – Criterion Collection Edition #861
Commentary: Finally I will make time to watch Edward Yang’s Yi Yi. How lovely.
Wednesday, May 29**
Directed by Anna Biller
- Three Examples of Myself as a Queen (1994)
- The Hypnotist (2001)
- A Visit from the Incubus (2001)
- Viva (2007)
- The Love Witch (2016)
Commentary: The Love Witch has been on my radar for a while, and I’m glad to do a deep dive on the works of Anna Biller in May.
Thursday, May 30**
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani x 3
A conversation between the directors and film historian Richard Peña, as well as a selection of their films:
- Padre Padrone (1977)
- Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)
- Kaos (1984)
Commentary: May is a month of catching up, it seems. As a kid walking through video stores, I remember seeing the box cover to Night of the Shooting Stars a lot. I always wondered what that movie was. Time to find out.
Friday, May 31**
Double Feature:Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944) and My Name Is Julia Ross (Joseph H. Lewis, 1945)