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C What’s On: The Criterion Channel’s December 2020 Lineup

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I’ll spare us all the “Boy, 2020 has been some year, huh?” shtick and just say, “Well, it’s over.” Almost! In what has been a difficult year, all around, for a cosmic cornucopia of different reasons, many of us have had the time and the need to seek some comfort in discovering and revisiting some filmic treasures, and the Criterion Channel has been there, filling that void all year long. As 2020 wraps and we look to start fresh, the Channel still has a smorgasbord of surprises and choice selections to banish the year with style.

Personally I’m getting a lot of flashbacks to my days hitting New Directors/New Films, the annual festival put on by Film at Lincoln Center and MoMA that curates a varied selection of burgeoning films and filmmakers from all around the world. I see Kornél Mundruczó’s White God in particular, which is fantastic. An army of dogs takes over the city! Come on! The Criterion Channel delivers a ton of great films that might not have gotten much more exposure than their moment in the spotlight at a festival.

I’m also eager to dive into the Afrofuturism selection; I love sci-fi/speculative fiction, and to see work from all voices in that matter is a treat. I did omit the names of filmmakers in that listing (and other, lengthy series) to avoid too much of a wall of text.

Spencer Tracy whoopin’ all kinds of tail in Bad Day at Black Rock and A Very Guillermo del Toro Christmas continue the Criterion Channel trend of straight up having fun. I’ve said it before, but art house cinema can get glances from your less-film-obsessed friends as being exclusively eight-hour French films (well, this month La flor is actually almost 14 hours long… It’s Argentinian!), but the Criterion Channel continues to program the sort of classic films that are enjoyable as pure cinematic bliss. And for the holidays, who doesn’t want that?

Whatever 2021 may hold I’m confident that, at the very least, the Criterion Channel will be there to keep us company with a place to find something new, recall something old, and maybe just make our days a little brighter.

* indicates programming available January 1

** indicates programming available only in the U.S.

December 1st

Short + Feature: Die Laughing
The Extraordinary Life of Rock (Kevin Meul, 2010) and Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)

Criterion Collection Edition #917The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)

December 2nd

Short Films by Julie Dash

Four Women (1975), Diary of an African Nun (1977), Illusions (1982), Praise House (1991), Standing at the Scratch Line (2016)

December 3rd

Exclusive streaming premiereSorry We Missed You (Ken Loach, 2019)

Criterion Channel December 7

Three by Terrence Malick

Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The New World (2005)**

December 4th

Double Feature: The Adventures of Paul Dedalus
My Sex Life . . . or How I Got into an Argument (Arnaud Desplechin, 1996) and My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin, 2015)Criterion Channel December 1

From the Archive:Bad Day at Black Rock** (John Sturges, 1955)

December 5th

Saturday Matinee:National Velvet** (Clarence Brown, 1944)

December 6th

The Best of Mae West

She Done Him Wrong (1933), I’m No Angel (1933), Belle of the Nineties (1934), Goin’ to Town (1935), Klondike Annie (1936), Go West Young Man (1936), Every Day’s a Holiday (1937), My Little Chickadee (1940)

December 7thCriterion Channel December 2

Criterion Collection Edition #1018Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990)

Uncovering “The Naked City”

December 8th

Short + Feature: Release the Hounds
Mutts (Halima Quardiri, 2019) and White God (Kornél Mundruczó, 2014)

December 9th

Three by Barbra Streisand

Yentl (1983), The Prince of Tides (1991), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)**

December 10th

Observations on Film Art #40: Telling Details in Hunger

December 11th

Double Feature: Against the Grain
Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)and The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley, 1990)

December 12th

Saturday Matinee: The Railway Children (Lionel Jeffries, 1970)

December 13thCriterion Channel December 3

Art-House America: The Doris Duke

Features: Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2005), Out of State (2017), August at Akiko’s (2018)
Shorts
: The Sand Island Story (1981), Stones (2009), Like a Mighty Wave (2019), Kapaemahu (2020), Standing Above the Clouds (2020)

December 14th

Documentaries by Alan Berliner

The Family Album (1988), Intimate Stranger (1991), Nobody’s Business (1996), The Sweetest Sound (2001)

December 15th

Short + Feature: Bad Santas
Santa, the Fascist Years (Bill Plympton, 2008) and The Silent Partner (Daryl Duke, 1978)

December 16th

Films by Marie Losier

Features: The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (2011), Cassandro, the Exotico! (2018)
Shorts
: The Passion of Joan Arc (2002), The Touch Retouched (2002), Bird, Bath and Beyond (2003), Electrocute Your Stars (2004), Eat My Makeup! (2005), The Ontological Cowboy (2005), Flying Saucey! (2006), Manuelle Labor (2007), Tony Conrad, DreaMinimalist (2008), Papal Broken-Dance (2009), Cet Air La (2010), Byun, objet trouvé (2012), Alan Vega: Just a Million Dreams (2013), Bim, Bam, Boom, Las Luchas Morenas (2014), Draw Me Now (2018)

December 17th

Three by Rick Alverson

New Jerusalem (2011), The Comedy (2012), Entertainment (2015)

December 18th

Double Feature: I Put a Spell on You
Bell, Book and Candle (Richard Quine, 1958) and I Married a Witch (René Clair, 1942)

December 19th

Saturday Matinee:20 Million Miles to Earth (Nathan Juran, 1957)

December 20thCriterion Channel December 4

Afrofuturism

Features: Space Is the Place (1974), Born in Flames (1983), The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Ornette: Made in America (1985), Yeelen (1987), Welcome II the Terrordome (1995), The Last Angel of History (1996), An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012), White Out, Black In (2014), Crumbs (2015), Once There Was Brasilia (2017), Supa Modo (2018)
Shorts
: The Changing Same (2001), Dark Matters (2010), The Becoming Box (2011), Hasaki Ya Suda (2011), Native Sun (2011), Robots of Brixton (2011), Jonah (2013), Touch (2013), Twaaga (2013), Afronauts (2014), You and I and You (2015), The Golden Chain (2016), 1968 < 2018 > 2068 (2018), I Snuck Off the Slave Ship (2019), T (2019), Zombies (2019)

December 21st

The People United (Alonzo Speight, 1985) and Black and Blue (Hugh King, Lamar Williams 1987)

December 22nd

Short + Feature: It’s a Mad, Mad Christmas
A Christmas Inventory (Miguel Gomes, 2000) and A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin, 2008)

December 23rd

Directed by Margarethe von Trotta

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975), Marianne and Juliane (1981), Rosa Luxemburg (1986), Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen (2009)**, Hannah Arendt (2012)**

December 24thCriterion Channel December 5

La flor** (Mariano Llinás, 2018)

December 25th

Double Feature: And to All a Good Fright
Cronos (Guillermo del Toro, 1993) and Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)

December 26th

Saturday Matinee:City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)

December 27th

Cary Grant Comedies

I’m No Angel (1933), She Done Him Wrong (1933), The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938)*, Holiday (1938), My Favorite Wife (1940)**, The Talk of the Town (1942)*, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)*, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), Indiscreet (1958), Operation Petticoat (1959), The Grass Is Greener (1960), That Touch of Mink (1962), Father Goose (1964)

December 28th

Criterion Channel December 6

Dawson City: Frozen Time** (Bill Morrison, 2016)

December 29th

Short + Feature: Altitude Adjustment
Snow Canon (Mati Diop, 2011) and Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014)

December 30th

Films by Camille Billops and James Hatch

Features: Finding Christa (1991), The KKK Boutique Ain’t Just Rednecks (1994), A String of Pearls (2002)
Shorts
: Suzanne, Suzanne (1982), Older Women and Love (1987), Take Your Bags (1998)

December 31st

Criterion Collection Edition #579 The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjöström, 1921)

Thirty Years of the Film Foundation—New Titles Added!

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), The Lusty Men (1952), Night of the Hunter (1955), Paths of Glory (1957)