A friend of mine, Matthew, is trying to work through watching all the Criterion Collection films. Even at the steady rate of one a week, it is still undoubtedly a grand folly, but it’s precisely the kind of grand folly that greatly appeals to me.
There are other distributors’ catalogues that would be worth a similar project. Eureka Entertainment in the UK has its own Masters of Cinema series, similarly dedicated to high-quality releases of classics of world cinema, and in some respects it has a more varied and unexpected range of titles (though there are plenty of surprises amongst Criterion’s releases too). The British Film Institute (BFI), likewise, has a quality range, particularly marked (like Criterion) by its distinctively classy cover art. And yet Criterion is the antecedent of all these, with its focus on pristine quality image and sound transfers, a range of illumating extras, and accompanying critical texts.
Therefore I’ve been trying to go along to see the films when I can, and to keep up with the films I miss in the meantime. It’s also slightly meant falling into the trap of buying many of their releases, even if I won’t be getting to them for a few decades yet… So, starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting capsule reviews here, along with nice big pictures of the beautiful and striking Criterion cover art.
Let’s see how far we all get.