Criterion’s October Slate Includes Best Picture Winner “Parasite”

Criterion only has a handful of Best Picture winners in its collection (at least the modern DVD and Blu-ray iteration), most of them several decades old. The oldest is 1934's It Happened One Night and the most recent until now was 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. Both films won the "Big Five" Oscars: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay.

But in October they'll add the most recent winner to the roster: Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, which became the first foreign-language film to win the top award. It also won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and the newly renamed Best International Feature. It was indeed the best film of 2019. (And in a way, its win feels like the last good thing to happen in 2020.) While the film was already released on Blu-ray and 4K UHD, Criterion's disc comes loaded with extras, including an audio commentary by Bong; the black-and-white version of the film; as well as interviews, lectures and press conferences from the director's amazing 2019. That disc will be released October 27.

None of the rest of the titles Criterion will release in October are nearly as big, but each represents a key piece of film history.

For fans of Jean-Luc Godard's revolutionary cinema, there's Pierrot Le Fou, his wild road movie. One of the most crucial movies of the French New Wave, the film covers the expedition of a married man and his lover as they embark on a satirical journey across France. Newly remastered, the disc includes several 2007 documentaries and interviews, plus some thoughts on the film from 1965. It will be available for purchase on October 6.

Claudine was a landmark independent Black film, focusing on the economic inequality many African-Americans faced while never being dreary. The radiant Diahann Carroll received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, going toe-to-toe with James Earl Jones as her romantic foil. The hit soundtrack featured songs by Curtis Mayfield and Gladys Knight. With a 4K remaster and uncompressed audio, the film will look and sound better than it ever has. Special features include a vintage commentary, plus a new conversation with Robert Townsend and Ashley Clark. The new disc will be out October 13.

1950's The Gunfighter was one of many subversive Westerns made as the genre was fading in popularity. Gregory Peck plays Jimmy Ringo, a legendary killer who's looking to live the quiet life, but can't help but get sucked back into the seedy underbelly of his frontier town. The newly remastered film features interviews with historians and the original filmmakers. Plus, the booklet includes an essay by critic K. Austin Collins, one of the best in the business. You can pick up your copy on October 20.

Last but not least is The Hit, which I had never heard of until now, despite hailing from a solid director and featuring a great cast. Stephen Frears (The Grifters) directs Terence Stamp as an ex-assassin enjoying retirement in Spain. At least until two hitmen arrive to take him out, played by Academy Award nominees John Hurt and Tim Roth. The score by Eric Clapton and Paco de Lucía should sound tremendous. While a little light on extras, this is one of the great things Criterion does: rescue films that aren't prominent in the public consciousness and give them loving restorations. The Hit will be ready on Friday, October 30.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.