By Ken Guidry | The Playlist December 17, 2013 at 9:38AM
Well, it’s the middle of the month, which means The Criterion Collection has announced yet another batch of releases to help keep your wallet from feeling too heavy. This March features a long-awaited title from one of the label’s most celebrated directors, as well as a silent classic, and a film that came out this past year that is destined to get nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar.
The release of Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” comes as a special surprise. Considering that the film is such an essential title in Bergman’s filmography, you would think Criterion would have gotten their hands on it a long time ago. But, as these things tend to happen, rights issues most likely prevented a Criterion release all these years. Thankfully, the label has stuffed the “Persona” release with an abundance of supplements, including a visual essay with Bergman scholar Peter Cowie, an interview with Liv Ullman and Paul Schrader, archival interviews with Ullman and Bibi Andersson, on-set footage, and a feature documentary entitled “Liv & Ingmar.” This will definitely be a must-have for fans of the legendary Swedish filmmaker.
“The Freshman” will be their second Harold Lloyd release following “Safety Last!” which came out earlier this year. “The Freshman” will also feature a dizzying amount of supplements, including early Lloyd shorts such as “The Marathon,” “An Eastern Westerner” and “High and Dizzy.” Meanwhile directors Errol Morris and Paolo Sorrentino will each be making their debuts with the Collection. Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty” will be the second Criterion film, after “Blue is the Warmest Color,” that made its debut at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
While any of Errol Morris’s documentaries would be worthy enough to be included on the label, Criterion has chosen to add “A Brief History of Time” to their library this time around. The doc, which originally came out in 1991, examines the life of pioneering astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. The release has been given a brand new 4k digital transfer and will include interviews with director Morris and cinematographer John Bailey.
Lastly, David Gordon Green’s “George Washington” and Akira Kurosawa’s “The Hidden Fortress” will each be getting re-released on dual-format Blu-ray and DVD. Overall, it’s another great month for the Criterion label and we’ll be looking forward to their annual New Year’s Day drawing.