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Lena Dunham's 'Tiny Furniture' Headed To The Criterion Collection In 2012

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 5, 2011 4:18 AM
40 Comments
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'Certified Copy' Considered "Minor Kiarostami," Errol Morris Docs & Wim Wenders' 3D Dance Pic 'Pina' Rumored



Lena Dunham arrived in a huge way when her debut feature film -- which she wrote, directed and starred in -- premiered at SXSW last year to strong buzz and reviews. While not everyone was head over heels for the film -- our man on the ground at IFFBoston sort of hated it -- Dunham quickly got the attention of Hollywood. She's teaming with comedy producer extraordinaire Judd Apatow on a comedy series for HBO, while Scott Rudin has tasked her with adapting "Dash and Lily's Book of Dares." So huge things are on the horizon for Dunham, who now appears to be a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood, and The Criterion Collection seem to agree.

Lena Dunham hit her Twitter account to confirm that "Tiny Furniture" would bear the wacky C sometime in 2012. The news first surfaced via The Criterion Cast who picked up on a post over at the Criterion Forum in which a user posted several bits of release info from a conversation that he had with the IFC President Jonathan Sehring; IFC and Criterion share a pretty close relationship these days with the boutique label releasing several titles from the indie film distributor including "Antichrist," "Summer Hours," "Che," "A Christmas Tale" and more. And there are even more titles are rumored in the pipeline with one notable exception.

According to the user, The Criterion Collection has declined the opportunity to release Abbas Kiarostami's excellent "Certified Copy" because honcho Peter Becker apparently considers it "minor Kiarostami." Also rumored is a trio of Errol Morris docs potentially joining the collection including "The Gates of Heaven," "Vernon, Florida" and the "Thin Blue Line." Wim Wenders' 3D dance film "Pina" -- hitting theaters later this month -- will apparently be picked up by Criterion as well as Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days."

Now aside from "Tiny Furniture" which Dunham herself confirmed, take the rest rumor for now until it's fully confirmed. Plans and licensing tend to shift and change so nothing is quite locked in just yet. But Lena Dunham over Abbas Kiarostami? Something doesn't feel right about that.

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40 Comments

  • Tom Dee | May 5, 2012 2:21 PMReply

    Welp, the Criterion collection will be damaged with the inclusion of this film and become the parody of itself we all knew it would one day become. Now I suppose we just wait until Garden State gets the CC nod. Then, a flood of indie shoegazer crap.

    Tiny Furniture is one of those movies that will and should be forgotten in a few years, but thanks to the Lena Dunham hype machine (has there ever been a more obvious case of a powerful well-wisher working behind the scenes to make someone a star in history? And such a mediocre star at that!

  • philbert ooper | August 15, 2011 7:52 AMReply

    wow. criterion collection just set their bar really really low. tiny furniture is, at best, an amateurish home movie not deserving of any attention outside of free weekend local newspapers. it's storytelling at its worst and comedy at its lamest.

    ms. dunham's entire career is OBVIOUSLY built on hype and nepotism. her parents must have great connections, there's no other way to explain all the praise she is receiving. there are thousands of better filmmakers than her that deserve a chance more than her, but then again the film industry isn't fair nor rational.

    good for her for being so lucky with so little talent or vision. it's not her fault idiots want to hand her the moon. i wish her the best.

    if you would like to see a movie made in the same vein as tiny furniture [but much funnier, smarter, more interesting, and a hell of a lot better] then you should check out a feature film i produced titled UNICORN NINJA SOLDIERS. you can find it on youtube. it was conceived in 3 minutes, shot in 3 hours, and edited in 3 days.

  • Edward Davis | April 20, 2011 1:35 AMReply

    Huh, saw that on DVD (in Canada) like 2 years ago. Great film though (“La Belle Person”) and worth tracking down.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | April 20, 2011 1:27 AMReply

    To those who were wondering, Christoph Honore's "La Belle Person" hits DVD via MPI in May: http://www.mpimedia.com/Coming-Soon/

  • Ryan | April 7, 2011 2:50 AMReply

    Edward, I know what you're saying, and I think that commenters should be calm and thoughtful with their opinions, but for a lot of people, Criterion Collection has been a touchstone of quality and--as they call themselves--"a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films."

    This isn't Miramax releasing "She's All That." Criterion is certainly a business, but specificially, they are a business that makes money because of their perception as being about a lot more than just "being a business." That's how they make their money.

    If enough of their audience decides the Criterion label has lost it's original meaning, then I'm not sure releasing "Tiny Furniture" is a really great business decision.

    I haven't seen "Tiny Furniture," I plan to. A lot of critics that I respect were over the moon for it and I think it's great that a female director is gaining attention for being thoughtful and funny. I'm only responding to the outcry of people on this comments page and to friends I've spoken with.

    That being said, I don't think what's popular is necessarily "good", and I wouldn't presume to know the reasons why TF was chosen. If the Criterion people think it's incredible and are not at all motivated financially, then I say, "Screw the masses. Do what you know is right."

    It would definitely be more helpful for people to send an email to the Criterion, and their views would be taken a lot more seriously if they weren't so profanity-laced and incoherent, but I think it's great that a forum like The Playlist exists, and maybe someone working at Criterion will take a look at this and think, "Maybe next time we'll be a bit more careful about the films we choose."

    I don't think there's anything wrong with bitching, but it would be helpful if people explained themselves instead of simply complaining, certainly.

  • Ryan | April 6, 2011 12:47 PMReply

    Rufus--good call on A New Leaf! I think Elaine May is a highly underrated director. I'd throw Mikey & Nicky in there, too. Once again though, it's a matter of getting the rights to release these films often.

  • Edward Davis | April 6, 2011 10:30 AMReply

    Providing helpful and practical solutions to problems instead of just bitching -- this IFC film COULD be something they would and could actually put out -- nice work Nick.

  • Nick | April 6, 2011 10:27 AMReply

    I've said it dozens of times here, but IFC's "La Belle Personne" a great, great film by Christophe Honore still doesn't have a DVD release, despite hitting theaters over two years ago. It's perfect for Criterion and well deserving.

  • Olivia | April 6, 2011 6:58 AMReply

    Terrible.Terrible.Terrible.

  • Sean | April 6, 2011 6:01 AMReply

    @zxcvb
    I blame all the hipster douchebags that have dipped into the CC. They go in, search for ones with the coolest art, watch it stoned and then list it under their fav movies on facebook.
    They'll probably cream over TF because it speaks to to them.

  • zxcvb | April 6, 2011 5:25 AMReply

    Jesus Christ. I could understand a Bujalski or even a Swanberg -- like it or not, they're "influential" movies. This inclusion screams inside-connections or special, um, "favors" involved.

    Then again, the CC has been increasingly motivated by $$$ and personal connections over the years -- it's the economy, I guess. You can't sell DVDs without popular/trendy films and compliant filmmakers willing to put time and effort into DVDs for free.

  • Rufus | April 6, 2011 4:52 AMReply

    Haven't seen Tiny Furniture so the verdict is still out on that one, but I'm happy to hear about the possible inclusion of the Errol Morris docs. That's awesome. No matter what Criterion manages to throw us some curve balls and that's always fun. I'm hoping they'll throw a major curve one of these days and put out Elaine May's A New Leaf. I also agree that Safe would be a great release.

    Hope those Morris docs happen!

  • Sean | April 6, 2011 4:18 AMReply

    @Olliver
    Shit, i just thought about Criterion releasing Safe and maybe somehow trying to release Poison (even though it's rumoured Zeitgeist will re-release this year).
    And i would kill for Xavier's Dolan's first film. And i was hoping Dogtooth would be released on the C.
    I was also thinking that Vincent Gallo's work is in need of the Criterion make over. Screw Lena, we need Gallo.

  • Sean | April 6, 2011 4:05 AMReply

    this sucks. i just bought 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days. and now they lay this shit on me? ugh.

    and why in the hell is a weak mumblecore film making it onto criterion but they still haven't worked out the kinks for a badlands release?

  • Young | April 6, 2011 3:58 AMReply

    Please get over it. CC = not your company. If you don't like it, start your own company and choose not to release Tiny Furniture.

    If you think TF is minor work and retarded, go make your own film that you feel deserves to be a CC release, and get it released by CC.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | April 6, 2011 1:52 AMReply

    Kids, it's a business. Get over it. It probably cost them $2 to license so it's a no-brainer. "Bad Lands" is owned by Warner Home Video, so for CC to put it out, it costs them heavy dough. It's surely in the works, but with the licensing fee they have to spend. Is it worth it in the end for them?

    Think about that before you compare apples and gold.

  • Roger J | April 6, 2011 1:49 AMReply

    This news... ugh.

    If Criterion is looking to add more women to its catalog, how about Kelly Reichardt, Lucrecia Martel, or Sofia Coppola.

    And maybe a distinct label for "new"films? Putting out titles like TF will really water down the collection.

  • WTF | April 5, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    this is bullshit. The film didn't do well w/ audiences an was over hyped at SXSW.

  • RudieSucks | April 5, 2011 11:11 AMReply

    @Rudie see more copies? Did you mean "sell more copies"? And smart move for Criterion how?

  • Oliver | April 5, 2011 8:44 AMReply

    Really???

    "Tiny Furniture" over anything by Bruno Dumont, Joe Weerasethakul, Kelly Reichardt, Todd Haynes (fucking "Safe"!), George Stevens, Kim Ki Duk?

    Or young dudes, if you want to go that route, how about Xavier Dolan, Ramin Bahrani or Lance Hammer?

  • Christopher Bell | April 5, 2011 7:35 AMReply

    I mean it's still a business, and we can get upset all we want but Tiny Furniture got great coverage and a pretty serious indie spirit award... not to mention that it was at IFC Center for months so it must've been doing decent business. I'm not interested enough to check, but yeah, people dug it and would probably buy it, especially those who haven't even heard of Kiarostami.

  • Ryan | April 5, 2011 7:28 AMReply

    What's she saying on her twitter page? It's blocked cuz I'm at work.

  • Ryan | April 5, 2011 7:26 AMReply

    Julian, I agree with you, but often Criterion can't get the rights to certain films they want in their collection. Not that it's an excuse for this debacle.

  • ken | April 5, 2011 7:02 AMReply

    I always used to defend Criterion in regards to the whole Armageddon debacle, but now... sorry CC... you done screwed up.

    I'm still looking forward to about 85% of their releases that are coming soon so... it doesn't really matter what I say. And I supposed in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. But when people go "If Criterion can release _______, why can't they release ______?" I'm not gonna argue.

  • zaviar wun | April 5, 2011 6:57 AMReply

    Certified copy will likely prove to be the best film of 2011, and plenty of respected critics have already said as much. Tiny Furniture wasn't even among the top 20 best of its year, an opinion mostly reflected by the critical consensus. Then again, coming from the label that saw fit to include Armageddon amongst its elite selections, I shouldn't be too surprised. Kiarostami will just have to settle for being the world's greatest living filmmaker and leave it at that (though even I will admit Certified Copy, while not "minor" by any stretch, is not his absolute best - that would be Through the Olive Trees which, tellingly, has also not been inducted into the Collection).

  • ken | April 5, 2011 6:50 AMReply

    ok that was cold, i take that back

  • ken | April 5, 2011 6:43 AMReply

    I love how defensive she's getting over this on twitter. God, what an ugly, spoiled bitch.

  • Ken | February 16, 2012 2:02 AM

    Well this was almost a year ago and I am sorry for saying it, if I could've deleted it I would. I mean that.

  • Naomi | February 15, 2012 5:02 AM

    That's great Ken, 'ugly spoiled bitch'. Who's critiquing Kiarostami's looks alongside his work? Oh but you 'took it back', how big of you.

  • Lee | April 5, 2011 6:32 AMReply

    It sure doesn't feel right at all. It's funny because so many critics, you all included, love CERTIFIED COPY and there has been a plethora of fantastic writing dedicated to the film on the web. I have decided to go ahead and buy the UK Blu Ray edition of the film and will double dip if Criterion does in the end decide to release the movie.

  • Julian | April 5, 2011 6:27 AMReply

    Minor Kiarostami is still better then 99% of anything else that's released. Criterion is the very best with their releases so this is disappointing, but then how many Kiarostami has Criterion actually released? I think just Close-Up and Taste of Cherry. Where Is the Friend's Home? Life &Nothing; Mor, Through the Olive Trees, The Wind will Carry us... are these minor Kiarostami as well? Hardly. Yet these haven't been relesed either.... It's money obviously, in terms of sales. If it were strictly on artstic merit, then more then just two of his films would be on their label.

  • Mr. Arkadin | April 5, 2011 6:15 AMReply

    who cares, every cinephile will (did) grab the UK Artificial Eye blu-ray release instead and save himself some small change.

  • Eli | April 5, 2011 5:47 AMReply

    There isn't a big enough "UGH!" to express my feelings about this.

  • Gatz | April 5, 2011 5:45 AMReply

    Tiny Furniture = Minor work (and that's being way too kind).

  • Ryan | April 5, 2011 5:30 AMReply

    Peter Becker is a tool. “Minor Kiarostami,” doesn't make the cut but EVERY Wes Anderson movie (though I love Anderson) and TWO Michael Bay films.

    Pick and choose which films you want, but don't extend your role to that of film critic. It's pretentious enough for the Criterion Collection to exist (although their art work and special features are often incredible) without pointing out WHY certain films aren't worthy of your club. You didn't invite Kiarostami, we get it, leave it at that.

  • Christopher Bell | April 5, 2011 5:30 AMReply

    Man, what's the point in trying anymore?

  • Slamdance | April 5, 2011 5:10 AMReply

    This sounds reckless and mean, but I think anybody who loved Tiny Furniture or that whole style of filmmaking is a retard.

    There, I said it so you don't have to.

  • Stephen | April 5, 2011 4:51 AMReply

    The Certified Copy snub makes no sense. Tiny Furniture's inclusion isn't the worst thing that ever happened to the Collection, but I think it's pretty shortsighted -- a "wait and see" approach to Dunham as a filmmaker would be the wisest course to chart, in my opinion. Still, it's not the worst movie ever (that would be Life During Wartime, still the most inexplicable and retarded Criterion selection in years). I'm still hoping The C reconsiders it's stance on Enter The Void. Glad about the Morris films and the possibility that they finally crack into the Romanian New Wave. Better late than never on that score, I guess. Hopefully Police, Adjective will follow 4, 3, 2.

  • The Josh | April 5, 2011 4:35 AMReply

    What about C.H.U.D.?

  • Rudie Obias | April 5, 2011 4:34 AMReply

    Even though I loved TINY FURNITURE, I think it will see more copies than CERTIFIED COPY. Smart move for Criterion.

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