The Criterion Channel is going all in on documentaries next month. While there is never a shortage of great and obscure films, both from the actual collection and rare titles from around the world, there's a big focus on non-fiction films for July.
First up is the delightful 2005 doc Mad Hot Ballroom, about dance classes in New York City public schools. The Safdie Brothers also take a look at academia with Lenny Cooke, their documentary on the high school basketball phenom who never made it to the NBA, despite being ranked higher than the likes of Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. There's also the vibrant work of the Ross Brothers, whose docs Tchoupitoulas and Contemporary Color are highlighted. And if you're looking for an even more dazzling film, Patricio Guzman's Nostalgia for the Light, which explores the Chilean desert and the tragic secrets it holds. But most importantly, they're also opening their vault of Olympic Films. Covering the Games from 1912-2012, that's hundreds of hours of athletic prowess. And it will surely help fill in the gap since the Tokyo Olympics now won't happen until next summer.
For those who want something a bit darker, they're spotlighting Western Noirs, where the grand vistas and dark shadows collide. Selections include Robert Wise's Blood on the Moon, Samuel Fuller's I Shot Jesse James and three films by Anthony Mann. Fans of composer Ryuichi Sakamoto can rejoice, as they feature 10 films that include his memorable scores, including Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, the 1983 POW drama starring David Bowie that features one of cinema's greatest scores. The 2017 documentary Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda will also be streaming.
The channel will also have the exclusive streaming premiere of Young Ahmed, the controversial new drama from the Dardenne Brothers, while the bizarre films of Sara Driver and Miranda July are featured as well. The biggest highlight though is Kelly Reichardt's magnificent Certain Women. That triptych will arrive on July 2.