The Criterion Collection
Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project
Established by Martin Scorsese in 2007, the World Cinema Project expands the horizons of moviegoers everywhere. The mission of the WCP is to preserve and present marginalized and infrequently screened films from regions generally ill equipped to preserve their own cinema history. This collector’s set brings together six superb films from countries around the globe, including Senegal (Touki bouki), Mexico (Redes), India and Bangladesh (A River Called Titas), Turkey (Dry Summer), Morocco (Trances), and South Korea (The Housemaid). Each is a cinematic revelation, depicting a culture not often seen by outsiders on-screen.
Films in this set
With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambéty paints a fractured portrait of the disenchantment of postindependence Senegal in the early 1970s. In this picaresque fantasy-drama, the disaffected young lovers Anta and Mory, fed up with Dakar, long to escape to the glamour and comforts they imagine France has to offer, but their plan is confounded by obstacles both practical and mystical. Alternately manic and meditative, Touki bouki has an avant-garde sensibility characterized by vivid imagery, bleak humor, unconventional editing, and jagged soundscapes, and it demonstrates Mambéty’s commitment to telling African stories in new ways.
Touki Bouki was restored in 2008 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the family of Djibril Diop Mambéty. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.
Early in his career, the Austrian-born future Oscar winner Fred Zinnemann codirected with Emilio Gómez Muriel the politically and emotionally searing Redes. In this vivid, documentary-like dramatization of the daily grind of men struggling to make a living by fishing on the Gulf of Mexico (mostly played by real- life fishermen), one worker’s terrible loss instigates a political awakening among him and his fellow laborers. A singular coming together of talents, Redes, commissioned by a progressive Mexican government, was cowritten and gorgeously shot by the legendary photographer Paul Strand.
Redes was restored in 2009 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.
A River Called Titus
The Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak’s stunningly beautiful, elegiac saga concerns the tumultuous lives of people in fishing villages along the banks of the Titas River in pre-Partition East Bengal. Focusing on the tragic intertwining fates of a series of fascinating characters—in particular, the indomitable widow Basanti—Ghatak tells the poignant story of an entire community’s vanishing way of life. Made soon after Bangladesh became an independent nation, the elliptical, painterly A River Called Titas is a grand epic from a director who has had a devoted following for decades.
A River Called Titas was restored in 2010 by the Cineteca di Bologna /L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with the Ritwik Memorial Trust, the National Film Archive of India, and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. Additional film elements provided by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.
Winner of the prestigious Golden Bear at the 1964 Berlin International Film Festival, Metin Erksan’s wallop of a melodrama follows the machinations of an unrepentantly selfish tobacco farmer who builds a dam to prevent water from flowing downhill to his neighbors’ crops. Alongside this tale of soul-devouring competition is one of overheated desire, as a love triangle develops between the farmer, his more decent brother, and the beautiful villager the latter takes as his bride. A benchmark of Turkish cinema, this is a visceral, innovatively shot and vibrantly acted depiction of the horrors of greed.
Dry Summer was restored in 2008 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Ulvi Dogan, and Fatih Akim. Additional elements provided by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung. Restoration funded by Armani, Cariter, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.
The beloved Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane is the dynamic subject of this captivating musical documentary. Storytellers through song, with connections to political theater, the band became an international sensation (Western music critics have often referred to them as “the Rolling Stones of North Africa”) thanks to their political lyrics and sublime, fully acoustic sound, which draws on the Moroccan trance music tradition. Both a concert movie and a free-form audiovisual experiment, Ahmed El Maânouni’s Trances is cinematic poetry.
Trances was restored in 2007 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Ahmed El-Maanouni, and Izza Genini. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.
A torrent of sexual obsession, revenge, and betrayal is unleashed under one roof in this venomous melodrama from South Korean master Kim Ki-young. Immensely popular in its home country when it was released, The Housemaid is the thrilling, at times jaw-dropping story of the devastating effect an unstable housemaid has on the domestic cocoon of a bourgeois, morally dubious music teacher, his devoted wife, and their precocious young children. Grim and taut yet perched on the border of the absurd, Kim’s film is an engrossing tale of class warfare and familial disintegration that has been hugely influential on the new generation of South Korean filmmakers.
The Housemaid was restored in 2008 by the Korean Film Archive (KOFA), in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and HFR-Digital Film laboratory. Additional restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.