Criterion Files: Vivre Sa Vie and Summer Hours

It has been a while since The Criterion Collection has graced our shelves, but this week they bring us two films on Blu-Ray. Both films are imports from France, and both star a beautiful actress. One film comes to us from Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard. The other is a more recent film starring Juliette Binoche. These two films, of course, are Vivre Sa Vie and Summer Hours.

Vivre Sa Vie

The beautiful Anna Karina was Jean-Luc Godard’s feature actress. This was a very vulnerable role for Karina, as it featured her downward spiral as a prostitute. Godard doesn’t exactly make it clear as to what his view on prostitution is within the film, but does create a very strong character for Karina in the process. This was one of Godard’s earlier films, and came near the end of the French New Wave. This was also one of my favorite Godard films, and I can’t wait to see it on Blu-Ray.

Disc Features:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Video interview with film scholar Jean Narboni, conducted by historian Noël Simsolo
  • Television interview from 1962 with actress Anna Karina
  • Excerpts from a 1961 French television exposé on prostitution
  • Illustrated essay on La prostitution, the book that served as inspiration for the film
  • Stills gallery
  • Director Jean-Luc Godard’s original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring Godard’s original scenario, an essay by critic Michael Atkinson, interviews with Godard, and a reprint by critic Jean Collet on the film’s soundtrack

Summer Hours

This is a film I have not seen before. Directed by Frenchman Olivier Assayas, the film features three siblings trying to cope with the loss of their mother, and what to do with the estate left to them. The film looks to be touching and well done. Juliette Binoche is always fantastic, and makes this an instant interest of mine. I trust that Criterion chose the film for good reason, and when watching the trailer it is easy to notice the great camera work and beautiful scenery.

Disc Features:

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Olivier Assayas and approved by Assayas and cinematographer Eric Gautier (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • New video interview with Assayas
  • Making-of documentary featuring interviews with Assayas and actors Charles Berling and Juliette Binoche, and showing the cast and crew on set
  • Inventory, an hour-long documentary by Olivier Gonard, shot partly in Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, that examines the film’s approach to art
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones

Click here to visit The Criterion Collection on Amazon

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