The Criterion Collection:
The Lumière festival 2012 pays tribute
Premier-Film Warehouse (Hangar du Premier-Film)
Free admission during the festival
To discover the collection online, click here
This famous American publishing house of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, created in 1984 and recognised worldwide, does a remarkable and noteworthy job in the realm of cinema heritage. Discover the history of the Criterion Collection (New York) through over 100 of its inventive DVD covers, on display at the Premier-Film Warehouse (Hangar du Premier-Film).
"At first, video and DVD editions in the United States had taken the worst of American television: incomplete prints, truncated formats, titles that appeared to be randomly chosen after a casual game of dice or cards. And suddenly, Criterion appeared. It began with the laserdisc, with Michael Powell films where on a track you could hear Powell commenting on Black Narcissus; it began with Hitchcock films, where we discovered the different endings of certain films, or the beginning of Notorious. And hundreds of other titles, from the Tales of Hoffman to Melville films, Kubricks, Kurosawas, and recently the wonderful Solitude by Paul Fejos. Whereas in France there reigned a real reluctance (which fortunately disappeared), you could find a mini boxed set dedicated to Raymond Bernard (recently followed by another on Basil Dearden, Matarrazo or Jean Gremillon, showing, in particular, Le ciel est à nous, still never-released on DVD in France). Criterion was an oasis in the jungle of the emergence of DVDs; it became the Rolls Royce of film collections.”
“After having honoured the international website IMDb at last year’s Lumière festival, this year’s edition will pay tribute to The Criterion Collection (New York). This famous American publishing house of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, created in 1984 and recognised worldwide, does a remarkable and noteworthy job in the realm of cinema heritage. Over the years, the changing platform (from VHS to laser discs to DVDs and now Blu-rays) has not changed the content- such is the commitment of a company that allows American cinephiles to rediscover many films, which have never been released in movie theatres. For, if great directors such as Renoir, Godard, Kurosawa, Cocteau, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Fuller, Lean, Kubrick, Lang, Sturges, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Ozu, Sirk, Buñuel, Powell and Pressburger are well represented, Criterion has also allowed filmmakers such as Makavejev, Kaurismäki, Melville, Assayas, Oshima, Sautet, Tavernier, Ackerman, Brakhage, Vigo, and Grémillon to be included in what can be considered the exclusive heritage collection of DVDs in the United States.
It was Bertrand Tavernier, during the 1990s, who introduced me to The Criterion Collection. He was crazy about it. I also immediately appreciated their film choices, their love of authors and works (they were distinguished by respect for the "letterbox format" system at a time when the pan & scan was king of American television); I liked how they defended cinema and allowed the spectator to discover the "director's cut". Over the years, the publisher has become a producer: Criterion goes back through works and is contributes to their restoration. They thus proposed to Michael Cimino to restore his film, Heaven’s Gate, thirty years after its release. And it is to Criterion that we owe this new restored print that the festival will screen for its closure.
Criterion is also an extraordinary visaul tour of the history of cinema. What can we conclude, viewing all these DVD / Blu-ray disc covers displayed at the exhibit? Taste, invention, colors, fonts, ideas, History, an unmistakable and contagious way of making people want to run out and see movies and have them at home. This is also the visual splendor that we wanted to explore with this exhibition, held in the Premier-Film Warehouse (Le Hangar du Premier-Film). And we wish to welcome the entire New York team of Criterion to France.”