The Criterion Voyages (Spine #1142): Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 4 -- A Collection of Historically Significant Films From Around the World
By Sean Boelman
Although he is best known for his own work as a director, Martin Scorsese has also done some significant work to preserve the legacy and availability of historically significant films. Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 4 features six films from around the world that have been identified by the director’s efforts as films worthy of note and preservation.
Previous editions of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project have made an effort to highlight historically important contributions by women directors, and Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga is that film in this volume. The first woman to direct a film in Africa, Maldoror documents Angola’s independence movement in this powerful fictionalization.
For those who are fans of Latin American cinema, Mario Soffici’s Prisioneros de la Tierra is likely to be one of the most exciting offerings in this edition. A work of social realism, the film provides a glimpse into the oppression of workers in Argentina in the 1930s, making it an important document of cinematic history and history as a whole.
The Iranian film Chess of the Wind recently received a theatrical re-release with its restoration recently through sister company Janus Films, and is finally making its way to home media through the Criterion Collection in this box set. It’s a genre-bending film that, as is the case with so many films from the country, has an important social commentary.
Jean-Pierre Dikongue-Pipa’s Muna Moto (The Child of Another) is one of the more soft-spoken films included in this particular collection. Exploring the role of customs in conservative African society, this is a heartbreaking love story if there ever was one, making this film resonate in unexpected ways.
Directed by André De Toth, whom you might know as the director of camp horror classic House of Wax, Two Girls on the Street is one of the most formally impressive films in this altogether beautiful collection. It’s a stylish melodrama, exuberant in the way you’d expect a film by a maverick Hollywood designer to be.
An early work of meta cinema, Kalpana is without a doubt the most epic film in this box set. The only film by dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar, this is the type of kinetic, transfixing film you will wonder hasn’t already received a wider release, but with this box set, you’ll be able to discover it.
All of the editions of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project have brought some exciting international films to the forefront, but No. 4 is particularly exciting in the variety of voices it showcases. For cinephiles looking to discover a great, historically significant film, this is a must-buy.
Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 4 is now available via the Criterion Collection.
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