Criterion has announced their lineup for June 2021, which includes new releases of Martin Bell‘s Streetwise and Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, Masaki Kobayashi’s The Human Condition, Dee Rees‘ Pariah, Samuel Fuller’s Pickup on South Street, Visions of Eight, and a Marlon Riggs box-set which contains the director’s complete works.
Take a look below for more details about each release and click over to criterion.com for more info.
STREETWISE/TINY: THE LIFE OF ERIN BLACKWELL
In 1983, director Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of homeless and runaway teenagers living on the margins in Seattle. Streetwise follows an unforgettable group of kids who survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Its most haunting and enduring figure is iron-willed fourteen-year-old Erin Blackwell, a.k.a. Tiny; the project’s follow-up, Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, completed thirty years later, draws on the filmmakers’ long relationship with their subject, now a mother of ten. Blackwell reflects with Mark on the journey they’ve experienced together, from Blackwell’s battles with addiction to her regrets to her dreams for her children, even as she sees them repeat her own struggles. Taken together, the two films create a devastatingly frank, empathetic portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them, and of a family trying to break free of the cycle of trauma—as well as a summation of the life’s work of Mark, an irreplaceable artistic voice.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES• New, restored high-definition digital transfers of both films, supervised by director Martin Bell, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack for the Streetwise Blu-ray and 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack for the Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell Blu-ray• New audio commentary on Streetwise featuring Bell• New interview with Bell about photographer Mary Ellen Mark• New interview with Streetwise editor Nancy Baker• Four short films by Bell• Trailer• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing• PLUS: An essay by historian Andrew Hedden; journalist Cheryl McCall’s 1983 Life magazine article about teenagers living on the street in Seattle; and reflections on Blackwell written by Mark in 2015
Seattle, 1983. Taking their camera to the streets of what was supposedly America’s most livable city, filmmaker Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of those society had left behind: homeless and runaway teenagers living on the city’s margins. Born from a Life magazine exposé by Mark and McCall, Streetwise follows an unforgettable group of at-risk children—including iron-willed fourteen-year-old Tiny, who would become the project’s most haunting and enduring figure, along with the pugnacious yet resourceful Rat and the affable drifter DeWayne—who, driven from their broken homes, survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Granted remarkable access to their world, the filmmakers craft a devastatingly frank, nonjudgmental portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them.
1984 • 91 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1.40:1 aspect ratio
Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell
In Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell, director Martin Bell and photographer Mary Ellen Mark draw on their thirty-year relationship with one of the most indelible subjects of Streetwise. Now a forty-four-year-old mother of ten, Erin Blackwell, a.k.a. Tiny, reflects with Mark on the journey they’ve experienced together, from Blackwell’s battles with addiction to her regrets to her dreams for her own children, even as she sees them being pulled down the same path of drugs and desperation that she was. Interweaving three decades’ worth of Mark’s photographs and footage that includes previously unseen outtakes from Streetwise, this is a heartrending, deeply empathetic portrait of a family struggling to break free of the cycle of trauma, as well as a summation of the life’s work of Mark, an irreplaceable artistic voice.
2016 • 88 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
THE HUMAN CONDITION
This mammoth humanist drama by Masaki Kobayashi is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three installments of two parts each, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition, adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji—played by the Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai—from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet prisoner of war. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals to be an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of Japan’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES• High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural (Parts 1–4) and 4.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio (Parts 5 and 6) soundtracks• Excerpt from a 1993 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda • Interview from 2009 with actor Tatsuya Nakadai• Appreciation of Kobayashi and The Human Condition from 2009 featuring Shinoda• Trailers• PLUS: An essay by critic Philip Kemp
1959–61 • 575 minutes • Black & White • Monaural/4.0 surround • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.39:1 aspect ratio
The path to living as one’s authentic self is paved with trials and tribulations in this revelatory, assured feature debut by Dee Rees—the all-too-rare coming-of-age tale to honestly represent the experiences of queer Black women. Grounded in the fine-grained specificity and deft characterizations of Rees’s script and built around a beautifully layered performance from Adepero Oduye, Pariah follows Brooklyn teenager Alike, who is dealing with the emotional minefields of both first love and heartache and the disapproval of her family as she navigates the expression of her gender and sexual identities within a system that does not make space for them. Achieving an aching intimacy with its subject through the expressive cinematography of Bradford Young, this deeply felt portrait finds strength in vulnerability and liberation in letting go.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES• 2K digital transfer, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray• New conversation between director Dee Rees and filmmaker and scholar Michelle Parkerson • New cast reunion featuring Rees, Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis, moderated by scholar Jacqueline Stewart• New program on the making of the film, featuring Rees, cinematographer Bradford Young, production designer Inbal Weinberg, producer Nekisa Cooper, and editor Mako Kamitsuna, moderated by Stewart• New interview with film scholar Kara Keeling, author of Queer Times, Black Futures • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing• PLUS: An essay by critic Cassie da Costa
2011 • 86 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
Petty crook Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark) has his eyes fixed on the big score. When the cocky three-time convict picks the pocketbook of unsuspecting Candy (Jean Peters), he finds a more spectacular haul than he could have imagined: a strip of microfilm bearing confidential U.S. information. Tailed by manipulative Feds and the unwitting courier’s Communist puppeteers, Skip and Candy find themselves in a precarious gambit that pits greed against redemption, right against Red, and passion against self-preservation. With its dazzling cast and writer-director Samuel Fuller’s signature hard-boiled repartee and raw energy, Pickup on South Street is a true film noir classic by one of America’s most passionate cinematic craftspeople.
Blu-ray Special Edition Features• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack• New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City• Interview from 1989 with director Samuel Fuller, conducted by film critic Richard Schickel• Cinéma cinémas: Fuller, a 1982 French television program in which the director discusses the making of the film• Trailers• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing• PLUS: An essay by critic Angelica Jade Bastién and a chapter from Fuller’s posthumously published 2002 autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking
1953 • 80 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
VISIONS OF EIGHT
In Munich in 1972, eight renowned filmmakers each brought their singular artistry to the spectacle of the Olympic Games—the joy and pain of competition, the kinetic thrill of bodies in motion—for an aesthetically adventurous sports film unlike any other. Made to document the Olympic Summer Games—an event that was ultimately overshadowed by the tragedy of a terrorist attack—Visions of Eight features contributions from Miloš Forman, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Juri Ozerov, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, and Mai Zetterling, each given carte blanche to create a short focusing on any aspect of the Games that captured his or her imagination. The resulting films—ranging from the arresting abstraction of Penn’s pure cinema study of pole-vaulters to the playful irreverence of Forman’s musical take on the decathlon to Schlesinger’s haunting portrait of the single-minded solitude of a marathon runner—are triumphs of personal, poetic vision applied to one of the pinnacles of human achievement.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray• New audio commentary by podcasters Amanda Dobbins, Sean Fennessey, and Chris Ryan of the website the Ringer• New documentary featuring director Claude Lelouch; supervising editor Robert K. Lambert; Ousmane Sembène biographer Samba Gadjigo; Munich Olympic Games historian David Clay Large; producer David L. Wolper’s son, Mark Wolper; and director Arthur Penn’s son Matthew Penn, which also includes behind-the-scenes footage from the film and material from Sembène’s uncompleted short film• On Location with “Visions of Eight,” a short promotional film • Trailer• New English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing • PLUS: A 1973 article by author George Plimpton, excerpts from David L. Wolper’s 2003 memoir, and a new reflection on the film by novelist Sam Lipsyte
1973 • 110 minutes • Color • Monaural • 1:85:1 aspect ratio
THE SIGNIFYIN’ WORKS OF MARLON RIGGS
There has never been a filmmaker like Marlon Riggs (1957–1994): an unapologetic gay Black man who defied a culture of silence and shame to speak his truth with resounding joy and conviction. An early adopter of video technology who had a profound understanding of the power of words and images to effect change, Riggs employed a bold mix of documentary, performance, poetry, music, and experimental techniques in order to confront issues that most of Reagan-era America refused to acknowledge, from the devastating legacy of racist stereotypes to the impact of the AIDS crisis on his own queer African American community to the very definition of what it is to be Black. Bringing together Riggs’s complete works—including his controversy-inciting queer landmark
Tongues Untied and Black Is . . . Black Ain’t, his deeply personal career summation—The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs traces the artistic and political evolution of a transformative filmmaker whose work is both an electrifying call for liberation and an invaluable historical document.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES• New high-definition digital masters of all seven films, with uncompressed stereo soundtracks on the Blu-rays• Four new programs featuring editor Christiane Badgley; performers Brian Freeman, Reginald T. Jackson, and Bill T. Jones; filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Rodney Evans; poet Jericho Brown; film and media scholar Racquel Gates; and sociologist Herman Gray• Long Train Running: The Story of the Oakland Blues (1981), Riggs’s graduate thesis film• Introduction to Riggs, recorded in 2020 and featuring filmmakers Vivian Kleiman and Shikeith, and Ashley Clark, curatorial director of the Criterion Collection• I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs (1996), a documentary by Karen Everett that features interviews with Riggs; Kleiman; filmmaker Isaac Julien; African American studies scholar Barbara Christian; several of Riggs’s longtime friends and collaborators; and members of his family• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing• PLUS: An essay by film critic K. Austin Collins
Marlon Riggs brings viewers face-to-face with the insidious images that have shaped America’s racial mythologies, in his first major work, a brilliant and disturbing deconstruction of the ways in which anti-Black stereotypes have permeated nearly every aspect of popular culture. Through razor-sharp historical analysis including interviews with historians and folklore scholars, powerfully deployed imagery, and narration by actor Esther Rolle, Ethnic Notions illuminates, with devastating clarity, how dehumanizing caricatures of Black people—seen everywhere from children’s books to films to household products—have been used to uphold white supremacy and to justify slavery, segregation, and the continuing oppression of African Americans. In its refusal to look away from racism’s ugliest manifestations, this Emmy-winning documentary has become an essential text for understanding the origins of American racial violence.
1986 • 58 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Made, in Marlon Riggs’s own words, to “shatter the nation’s brutalizing silence on matters of sexual and racial difference,” this radical blend of documentary and performance defies the stigmas surrounding Black gay sexuality in the belief that, as long as shame prevails, liberation will never be possible. Through music and dance, words and poetry by such pathbreaking writers as Essex Hemphill and Joseph Beam—and by turns candid, humorous, and heartbreaking interviews with queer African American men—Tongues Untied gives voice to what it means to live as an outsider in both a Black community rife with homophobia and a largely white gay subculture poisoned by racism. A lightning rod in the conservative culture wars of the 1980s that incited a right-wing furor over public funding for the arts, the film has lost none of its resonance in its unapologetic, life-affirming declaration that “Black men loving Black men is the revolutionary act.”
1989 • 55 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
Marlon Riggs expresses the hopes, dreams, and desires of gay Black men in this ode to queer African American empowerment. Built around outtakes of interview and protest footage from Tongues Untied,Affirmations begins as a candid, sex-positive confessional about first-time penetration and evolves into a rousing chorus of calls for freedom, recognition, and inclusion.
1990 • 11 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
“Pervert the language.” Made at a time when Marlon Riggs was three years into living with HIV and the motto “Silence=Death” was the queer community’s defiant response to the antigay policies of the Reagan era, this experimental music video employs a mix of poetry, African beats, and provocative imagery—sexual, political, and religious—in order to challenge and redefine prevailing images of Black masculinity. Led by the liberated dancing of the filmmaker himself, Anthem is a bold vision of queer revolution, proclaiming “Every time we kiss we confirm the new world coming.”
1991 • 9 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
What does the American dream look like? Where do Black Americans fit into it? And what is television’s role in shaping our views of racial progress and the idealized American family? Picking up where the groundbreaking Ethnic Notions left off, this pioneering work of media studies by Marlon Riggs presents a complicated, challenging, and nuanced view of evolving racial attitudes as reflected in popular programs such as Amos ’n’ Andy, Julia, All in the Family, Good Times, Roots, and The Cosby Show. Narrated by Ruby Dee and featuring interviews with actors Diahann Carroll, Tim Reid, and Esther Rolle, African American historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., and producer Norman Lear, among others, Color Adjustment looks beyond the whitewashed, middle-class mythologies peddled by prime-time entertainment to track the ways in which Black Americans have been assimilated into a new but no less harmful racial narrative.
1992 • 80 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN (NO REGRET)Through music, poetry, and courageous self-disclosure, five HIV-positive gay Black men (among them poet and performance artist Assotto Saint) discuss their individual confrontations with AIDS, illuminating their journeys through the fear, shame, and stigma that accompanied the disease at the height of the epidemic toward healing, acceptance, and truth. In Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret), director Marlon Riggs tells stories of self-transformation in which a once unmentionable “affliction” is forged into a tool of personal and communal empowerment.
1993 • 38 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
BLACK IS . . . BLACK AIN’T
Made with an urgency imparted by the knowledge that he was nearing the end of his life, Marlon Riggs’s final film—completed after his death of AIDS by a group of his devoted collaborators—is a wide-ranging consideration of a question that had long been central to his work: What does it mean to be Black? Using his mother’s gumbo recipe as a metaphor for the diversity of the African American experience, Riggs travels the country, seeking insights from leading thinkers like Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates Jr., bell hooks, and Barbara Smith as well as ordinary people—young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight—all grappling with the numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness that have shaped their lives. Punctuated by footage of a dying Riggs directing his crew and delivering parting wisdom from his hospital bed, Black Is . . . Black Ain’t breaks down the divides of class, colorism, patriarchy, and homophobia as it issues a stirring appeal for unity.
1995 • 88 minutes • Color • Stereo • 1.33:1 aspect ratio