June 2022 Programming on the Criterion Channel Announced – CriterionCast.com

Each month, the programmers at the Criterion Channel produce incredible line-ups for their subscribers. For June, the Channel will feature films from Billy Wilder, Terence Davies, Fronza Woods, and more!
Below you’ll find the programming schedule for the month, along with a complete list of titles that Criterion has in store for us. Don’t forget to check the Criterion Channel’s main page regularly though, as they occasionally will drop surprises that aren’t included in the official press release.
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Has there ever been so much talent concentrated in one human being? Both a powerhouse singer and an actor of staggering emotional range, Judy Garland was the consummate entertainer, a born-in-a-trunk show-business lifer who grew up before the eyes of America and who could embody girl-next-door innocence, vivacious vitality, and tremulous vulnerability with equal conviction. The combination of her dazzling talent and tragic offscreen struggles endeared her to a generation of gay fans—and one hundred years after her birth, Garland remains the most famous musical leading lady in the history of Hollywood. This selection of the beloved MGM films that defined her early career—including collaborations with her frequent costars Mickey Rooney (Girl Crazy) and Gene Kelly (For Me and My Gal, Summer Stock) and director and husband Vincente Minnelli (Meet Me in St. Louis, The Pirate)—celebrates the awe-inspiring artistry of a once-in-a-generation performer.

No budget? No problem! Short on cash but flush with inspiration, these resourceful filmmakers prove that passion and creative vision can turn scarcity into opportunity. From the ultimate in B-noir sleaze (Detour) to counterculture sensations from the indie underground (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Eraserhead) to early masterpieces from celebrated international auteurs like Chantal Akerman (Je tu il elle), David Lynch (Eraserhead), Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise), Richard Linklater (Slacker), and Jia Zhangke (Xiao Wu), the films in this collection—all made for $150,000 or less—make a little go a long way, refusing to let their shoestring budgets hamper their artistic invention.

Featuring the exclusive streaming premiere of The Terence Davies Trilogy
The supreme rhapsodist of contemporary British cinema, Terence Davies began his career by transmitting his own experiences of growing up gay in the Liverpool of the 1950s and ’60s onto film, weaving pain, nostalgia, domestic strife, cinema love, Catholic guilt, and repressed desire into exquisitely evocative masterpieces like The Terence Davies Trilogy (comprising the shorts Children, Madonna and Child, and Death and Transfiguration); Distant Voices, Still Lives; and The Long Day Closes, which eschewed traditional narrative structure in favor of mood and sense-memory impressionism. Davies’s acute emotional sensitivity remains no less piercing when applied to stories of women colliding against the social forces of their time, as seen in the sublime romantic drama The Deep Blue Sea and the stirring Emily Dickinson biography A Quiet Passion, which feature revelatory performances from Rachel Weisz and Cynthia Nixon respectively.
*Available July 1

Featuring a conversation between series programmer Michael Koresky and Criterion web editor Andrew Chan
There is an assumption—or, often, a stereotype—that the musical is an inherently gay genre. The strange reality is that, in terms of characters and themes, queer representation is historically quite scarce within the film musical, a genre that largely revolves around heterosexual romance. In this edition of Queersighted, host Michael Koresky and special guest Andrew Chan, editor of Criterion’s online magazine, Current, discuss a selection of tuneful standouts—from the golden age of Hollywood to deconstructed French homage to Taiwanese experimentation—that queer the movie-musical form, whether through subtext, via thrilling subversion, or by virtue of the queer auteurs behind them.

Featuring a new introduction by the filmmaker, part of the Channel’s original Meet the Filmmaker series
Defiantly unconventional, extravagantly stylized, and gleefully transgressive, the sprawling cinematic pageants of Ulrike Ottinger swirl avant-garde provocation, inquisitive ethnography, punk surrealism, and baroque theatricality into some of the most wondrously unclassifiable spectacles of the New German Cinema. Whether seeing Cold War Germany’s divided capital through radically imaginative eyes in her early Berlin Trilogy or exploring the Mongolian steppes and the Bering Sea in her more recent documentaries, Ottinger blends fantasy and observation in her stunning, painterly images. Lesbian pirates (Madame X: An Absolute Ruler), Dorian Gray in drag (Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press), self-flagellating leather daddies (Freak Orlando), and an ennui-stricken socialite drinking herself into oblivion (Ticket of No Return) are just some of the outré (and always outrageously costumed) oddballs populating the Ottinger canon, which audaciously reimagines what cinema can be and for whose gaze it is made.
Programming consultant: Nellie Killian

Although, or perhaps because, he was born in Austria, writer, director, and Hollywood legend Billy Wilder saw America more clearly than most, probing its absurdities, hypocrisies, and self-delusions with a witty and often devastatingly cynical eye. This selection from his 1940s prime brings together two frequently overlooked World War II gems (the dynamic espionage thriller Five Graves to Cairo and the sophisticated romantic comedy A Foreign Affair) and two of his undisputed masterpieces: the definitive film noir Double Indemnity and the intense, groundbreaking study of alcoholic self-destruction The Lost Weekend.

Paying tribute to the Black expat musicians who found refuge in postwar France, Bertrand Tavernier’s majestically melancholy love letter to the heyday of American bebop is one of the best jazz movies ever made.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: A rare behind-the-scenes documentary; an interview with critic Gary Giddins; a conversation with music producer Michael Cuscuna and author Maxine Gordon, widow of musician Dexter Gordon; a panel conversation featuring Tavernier; and more.

Billy Wilder set the standard for film-noir fatalism with this seductively sordid James M. Cain adaptation, one of the most wickedly perverse love stories ever told.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary featuring critic Richard Schickel; an interview with film scholar Noah Isenberg; a conversation between film historians Eddie Muller and Imogen Sara Smith; Billy, How Did You Do It?, a 1992 film by Volker Schlöndorff and Gisela Grischow featuring interviews with director Billy Wilder; and more.

Rock Hudson is a revelation in this sinister science-fiction freak-out from director John Frankenheimer.
SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Audio commentary featuring Frankenheimer, a program on the making of the film, a video essay by film scholars R. Barton Palmer and Murray Pomerance, an interview with Frankenheimer, and more.

Although the free-jazz movement of the 1960s and ’70s was met with heated controversy, its pioneers—brilliant talents like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane—are today acknowledged as central to the evolution of jazz as America’s most innovative art form. Fire Music showcases the architects of a revolution in sound whose radical brand of improvisation pushed harmonic and rhythmic boundaries and produced landmark albums like Coleman’s Free Jazz: A Collective Inspiration and Coltrane’s Ascension. A treasure trove of archival footage conjures the kaleidoscopic world of the 1960s jazz scene along with incisive reflections by critic Gary Giddins and a number of the movement’s key players.

With her plaintive, bluer-than-blue voice, singer Karen Dalton rose to prominence within the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s—though her rough-edged authenticity stood out even within that storied bohemian world. Idolized by contemporaries like Bob Dylan and younger musicians like Nick Cave, Dalton discarded the traditional trappings of success and instead lived a defiantly unconventional life, one committed to her artistry. Since most images of Dalton have been lost or destroyed, this poignant documentary uses Dalton’s dulcet melodies and interviews with loved ones to build a rich portrait of this singular woman and her hauntingly beautiful voice.

Featuring a new introduction by Criterion curatorial director Ashley Clark, part of the Channel’s original Spotlight series
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival—yet criminally underseen for over three decades—Chameleon Street recounts the improbable but true story of Michigan con man Douglas Street, the titular “chameleon” who successfully impersonated his way up the socioeconomic ladder by posing as a magazine reporter, an Ivy League student, a respected surgeon, and a corporate lawyer. Distinguished by a dexterous performance and daring direction from actor-writer-director Wendell B. Harris Jr., this audacious dark comedy trains an incisive lens on the roles that race, class, and performance play in the formation of American identity. Piercingly funny and aesthetically mischievous, Chameleon Street is a newly restored landmark of independent filmmaking.

One of the most influential science-fiction films of the 1950s, Forbidden Planet shaped the evolution of the genre for decades to come with its groundbreaking production design, special effects, and electronic score. In this edition of Secrets of the Hollywood Archives, Oscar-winning visual-effects artist Craig Barron and sound designer Ben Burtt pull back the curtain to reveal the movie magic behind what they describe as the most iconic spaceship-landing scene in film history.

One of the first masterworks of the twenty-first century, Edward Yang’s Yi Yi is an at once epic and intimate portrait of a year in the life of a Taiwanese family. It is also, as Professor Jeff Smith argues in this edition of Observations on Film Art, a valentine to the transcendent possibilities of cinema. Exploring Yang’s subtly sophisticated use of framing, reflections, and the techniques of rear projection and superimposition, Smith reveals how the director uses these uniquely cinematic devices to draw our attention to the moments of ephemeral beauty that pass, almost unnoticed, across our everyday field of vision.

Stories of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and the simple but radical, often dangerous act of just existing as a queer person are on display in these empathetic and innovative shorts, which reflect the wide spectrum of experiences that make up the LGBTQ+ rainbow.
The rare slice-of-life film to center the experiences of a Black butch lesbian, the debut feature from Campbell X puts a brash and bracingly contemporary spin on the romantic-comedy formula.
Inspired by the story of Gaëtan Dugas—the gay French Canadian flight attendant wrongly blamed for being “patient zero” in the North American AIDS epidemic—John Greyson’s daring and controversial New Queer Cinema classic reimagines an episode of queer persecution as a subversive camp musical.
Hong Khaou’s debut feature boasts extraordinary performances by martial-arts legend Cheng Pei Pei as Junn, a Cambodian-Chinese mother grieving the untimely death of her only son, and Ben Whishaw as her son’s lover, Richard.

This dazzling musical romance from the final days of Weimar Germany is every bit as charming and outrageous as its famous American remake, calling to mind the sly sex comedies of Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder.

Ira Sachs’s doomed romance moodily evokes the wide space between dreams, desires, and fulfillment in post–Vietnam War America.
More LGBTQ+ films featured in this month’s programming:

Agnieszka Holland weaves a spellbinding gay love story centered on one of the most enigmatic figures in twentieth-century Czech history.

A ravishingly shot feminist revenge western unfolds amid the deserted hills of an Indonesian island.

This suspenseful lesbian romance takes viewers inside an illicit realm of modern Iran rarely witnessed by outsiders.

Ana Kokkinos’s uncompromisingly raw debut feature is a visceral plunge into the world of a young gay man burning with white-hot rage and repressed desire.
More women filmmakers featured in this month’s programming:

Valentyn Vasyanovych’s haunting and suddenly prescient sci-fi feature envisions a Russian invasion of Ukraine and its aftermath.

One of contemporary international cinema’s most vital voices, Australian Kaytetye filmmaker Warwick Thornton spotlights the history, lives, and experiences of Australia’s Indigenous community, weaving elements of traditional Aboriginal storytelling into works of immense beauty, pain, and power. Since breaking through with his Cannes prizewinner Samson and Delilah—a wrenching portrait of the relationship between two troubled Aboriginal teenagers—Thornton (who also serves as cinematographer on nearly all his work) has continued to evolve in surprising directions, as seen in his acclaimed Sweet Country, a stylish Outback-set western that confronts Australia’s history of racism and brutality.
Features
Shorts

Part biopic, part tour documentary, this intimate portrait of synth-folk wizard Beverly Glenn-Copeland shows how a trailblazing Black, transgender, septuagenarian musical genius finally finds his place in the world.

This joyous documentary welcomes you to a one-of-a-kind oasis in the Ozarks where Christian piety rubs shoulders with a thriving queer community.

A pair of documentaries from Susan Aiken and Carlos Aparicio explore the hardships and daily struggles of living as a trans woman at the end of the twentieth century.

Take a summer sojourn out to the Hamptons with Big and Little Edie Beale in this cult-classic portrait of two extraordinary recluses.
More documentaries featured in this month’s programming:

Humor, nostalgia, romance, and unabashed sentiment are served up Italian style in the ultimate ode to the magic of the big screen.

You can say that again! The lead-up to a toddler’s birthday is seen from both the child’s point of view and from the perspective of his parents in this gentle look at Japanese family dynamics.

A titanic ensemble cast led by Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine headlines the ultimate 1970s disaster epic.

A magnificently malevolent Cloris Leachman stars in this scrumptious musical adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm tale.

T and This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
Mourning gives way to defiance in an ecstatic Afrofuturist astral blast and a hypnotic magical-realist stunner from Lesotho.

Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful and Chez Jolie Coiffure
The politics and aesthetics of Black women’s hair are explored in a playfully experimental short and a revealing documentary chamber piece.

Remembrance of József Romvári and Mephisto
A poignant work of personal film history and an Oscar-winning update of the Faust legend shed light on the life and art of Hungarian production designer József Romvári.

Key works of the media-making movement that gave centrality to the voices and experiences of African American women during the late 1970s and early ’80s, these revelatory, newly resorted shorts by trailblazing filmmaker Fronza Woods are no less impactful today. In Killing Time, Woods offers a wryly humorous reflection on the absurdity of existence via the story of a woman contemplating suicide, while in Fannie’s Film, she gives vital expression to the hopes, goals, and inner feelings of a domestic worker.

Double Indemnity and Body Heat
Barbara Stanwyck and Kathleen Turner are femme fatales for the ages in a stone-cold noir classic and the sizzling 1980s sensation it inspired.

The Last Picture Show and Last Night at the Alamo
Two idiosyncratic Texas tales infused with humanity and nostalgia paint bittersweet portraits of fading communities in the Lone Star State.

Sweet Bean and Tampopo
The tastebud-tickling pleasures of Japanese cuisine take center stage in a compassionate human drama and a genre-bending “ramen western.”

The Phantom of the Monastery and Dos monjes
Monks, mystery, and brooding gothic atmosphere abound in two monastery-set works of expressionist horror from the dawn of Mexican cinema’s golden age.

Seventies icons Pam Grier and Tamara Dobson play strong, resourceful black women whom you most definitely do not want to cross in these thrilling pulp classics.
*Available in the U.S. only
Ryan is the Editor-In-Chief / Founder of CriterionCast.com, and the host / co-founder / producer of the various podcasts here on the site. You can find his website at RyanGallagher.org, follow him on Twitter (@RyanGallagher), or send him an email: [email protected].
For September, the Channel will feature films from Ang Lee, Carlos Saura, Sofia Bohdanowicz, and more!
For August, the Channel will feature films from Béla Tarr, Gurinder Chadha, Jonas Bak, and more!
For July, the Channel will feature films from Henry King, Mira Nair, Hirokazu Kore-eda, and more!
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