May 3, 2011


There's no way to talk about art and culture during the cold war without mentioning the incredible influence of the international film scene. In the 1950s, directors like Kurosawa, Fellini, and Bergman, came into world-wide acclaim and inspired a generation to view and create film in new and dynamic ways. The Criterion Collection continues to champion outstanding directors and major works from this era and throughout cinema history.

Amazon is currently running a sale on Criterion Blu-ray titles. Highlights include Fritz Lang's M, Fellini's 8 1/2 and Amarcord, Kurosawa's Yojimbo and Sanjuro, Powell's The Red Shoes, Kubrick's Paths of Glory, Melville's Army of Shadows and le Circle Rouge, Bergman's Seventh Seal, Godard's Breathless, Chaplin's Modern Times, and Wenders' Wings of Desire. Stunning works of art in motion. Rediscover them and pass them on to new fans. Full list with links at DVD Beaver here.

My personal fave here is
8 1/2, Fellini's masterpiece from 1963. The cocktail of Mastroianni, Nino Rota score, and cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo is a stylish feast for the soul. The bonus features include a Nino Rota documentary and an inspired gallery of photographs from the set. Criterion's 8 1/2 page here.

One man largely responsible for bringing these notable directors to the American public was Cyrus Harvey. Harvey's Janus Films formed out of his experience as part-owner of the Brattle Theater in Boston and his love of cinema. Cyrus Harvey died in April at the age of 85. From the New York Times obituary here: "Before they sold the company in 1966, Janus helped introduce American audiences to dozens of films that have since been accepted as masterpieces of world cinema: Antonioni’s “L’Avventura,” Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” Fellini’s “La Strada,” and Bergman’s “Seventh Seal” and “Virgin Spring,” which won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1960, among many others." Janus Films website here.

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