Five Netflix films join Criterion Collection
James R | On 27, Jan 2020
Five Netflix films are being added to the Criterion Collection this year.
The streaming giant has been stepping up its investment in original movies in recent years, teaming up with auteurs and established filmmakers to position itself as a home not only for prestige movies but for creative freedom for talent – as well as mainstream romantic comedies and Adam Sandler movies.
The result has given the world Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory and Mati Diop’s Atlantics. While some have enjoyed acclaim and attention at the Oscars and other awards ceremonies, they are all now getting the ultimate cineaste seal of approval: they are all joining the Criterion Collection in 2020. (The selection does not include Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston movie Murder Mystery.)
Roma was announced last year as the first Netflix film to receive a home video debut via the Criterion Collection. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 24th February. Now, the others are joining it.
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.
The film premiered at the 2019 New York Film Festival and was immediately embraced by cinema lovers. It went on to premiere internationally at the London Film Festival and screen in countless festivals globally, before receiving five Golden Globe nominations, ten BAFTA nominations, and ten Academy Award nominations.
“A mature, thoughtful reflection on the consequences of past actions, Scorsese’s patient crime drama is a masterclass in restraint,” we wrote in our review.
Marriage Story is Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.
The film premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, followed by the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and the London International Film Festival. It received six Golden Globe nominations, the most of any film, with Laura Dern winning the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress. This was followed by six Academy Award nominations.
“Noah Baumbach’s remarkable, heartfelt masterpiece about divorce aches with comedy and compassion,” we wrote in our review.
American Factory takes a deep dive into a post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand blue-collar Americans still recovering from the effects of the 2008 recession.
It premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival where directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary. It has gone on to become one of the most honoured documentaries of the year, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary as well as the Best Documentary BAFTA award.
“A Chinese company re-opens a shuttered American factory in this riveting culture clash documentary,” we wrote in our review.
The feature narrative debut for director Mati Diop, Atlantics is set in Dakar, where a group of unpaid construction workers disappears at sea one night in search of a better life abroad. The women they have left behind are overwhelmed with a mysterious fever. Ada, 17, secretly grieves for her love Souleiman, one of the departed workers, but she has been promised to another man. After a fire breaks out on her wedding night, a young policeman is sent to investigate the crime. Little does he know that the aggrieved workers have come back as haunting, possessive spirits.
Atlantics premiered in competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Prix. Diop received a DGA Nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director.
“Mati Diop’s absorbing, atmospheric directorial debut is part melancholic romance, part ghost story,” we wrote in our review.
Each Criterion Collection release will include exclusive behind-the-scenes content, special features and a filmmaker-supervised master. The ROMA Criterion release will include Road to Roma, a new documentary about the making of the film, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with Cuarón, as well as many other special features. Road to Roma will also be release on Netflix on 11th February 2020.