Import of the Month

Beautiful, beautiful melancholyThe Criterion Collection released a special edition of Olivier Assayas’ “Summer Hours” yesterday … but rights issues have restricted it to the U.S. market. Stupid rights issues.

More stupid than usual, actually; in Canada, “Summer Hours” was distributed by E1 Entertainment, which also holds the domestic license to Criterion titles, so as far as I can tell there’s nothing stopping them from bringing the Criterion edition up here. Of course, they also owned “Gomorrah” and “Che”, and didn’t release Criterion’s discs of those titles, so there’s probably some little sticking point somewhere.

Fortunately, you can order Criterion’s “Summer Hours” online, on DVD or Blu-ray; you can also find it as an import at finer video stores across the country. (In a pinch, your local HMV might have it, too.)

Do that. Today. It’s a terrific film, made by a very talented filmmaker, and you should see it in the best package possible.

6 thoughts on “Import of the Month”

  1. Are you sure about GOMORRAH and CHE, Norm? Found the Criterions of both at, of all places, my local Wal-Mart. Which is not known for its imports.

  2. Huh. What were the Wal-Mart prices like? Chain stores are quite punishing with Criterion titles (if they stock them at all), with markups of $10-20 above msrp.

    Prices are improving in some cases, though. I was pleasantly surprised to find the BluRay version of ‘Days of Heaven’ for $35 at my local Future Shop.

  3. I had no idea Wal-Mart was carrying them in Canada; maybe they’re being shipped in from a U.S. warehouse? (That seems unlikely, though.)

    All I know is that Criterion’s publicists always tell me which titles are and aren’t available in English Canada … and “Che”, “Gomorrah”, “Hunger” and “Summer Hours” were all on the “don’t bother requesting” list.

  4. Actually, Mark, in conducting a bit of research I think I need to backtrack/pedal. I didn’t realize that E1 had released a competing CHE Blu-ray, which it appears is what I actually saw at Wal-Mart. (Star cover.) Which makes me think I conflated it with GOMORRAH in memory (this was back in January), since I haven’t seen it on any shelf since. So long, credibility!

    But yes, the retail markups of Criterions can be ridiculous.

  5. Aha! Yes, that makes more sense — Criterion’s “Che” packaging goes with the Del Toro-as-icon image, while E1’s Canadian special edition uses a red star on a black background. Different content, too, of course.

    Anyway, back to my original point: Buy “Summer Hours”! It’s awesome!

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