E-mail this image
THE ARDENT CINEPHILE
Identifying traits: Guaranteed not to be found wanting in the Criterion Collection department, the cinephile most commonly can be found frequenting art houses and coffee shops, dissecting the narrative subtext of the latest offering from a director you've never heard of who hails from a country you didn't know existed.
Shopping list: Nothing warms a film buff's heart like the opportunity to rediscover a neglected classic, which is why the must-have item for the hard-core cinéaste this season is the double-disc edition of Charles Burnett's 1977 debut feature, "Killer of Sheep" (New Yorker/Milestone, $39.95), a seminal independent film that had been previously unavailable on home video because of trouble with music clearances. The set also contains more of Burnett's slices of working-class African American life, in the form of several early short films and the equally superb (and equally hard to find, until now) 1983 feature "My Brother's Wedding."
For those who prefer European cinema revolutions to American ones, Criterion is offering its usual roster of must-own foreign-film sets, including Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 French New Wave classic "Breathless" (Criterion, $39.95), a jarring and romantic meditation on movie stereotypes, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1980 German TV miniseries "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (Criterion, $125.95), which spends more than 15 hours exploring the late '20s Weimer Republic and expressing Fassbinder's belief that people are, fundamentally, just plain awful.