Director, writer, composer, actor, and one-man creative revolutionary MELVIN VAN PEEBLES jolted American independent cinema to new life with his explosive stylistic energy and unfiltered expression of Black consciousness. Though he undeniably altered the course of film history with the anarchic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, that pop-culture bombshell is just one piece of a remarkably varied career that has also encompassed forays into European art cinema (The Story of a Three Day Pass), mainstream Hollywood comedy (Watermelon Man), and Broadway musicals (Don't Play Us Cheap). Each facet of Van Peebles's renegade genius is on display in this collection of four films, a tribute to a transformative artist whose caustic social observation, radical formal innovation, and uncompromising vision established a new cinematic model for Black creative independence. Also included in the set is Baadasssss!, a chronicle of the production of Sweet Sweetback made by Van Peebles's son Mario Van Peebles-and starring the younger Van Peebles as Melvin.
THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS
Melvin Van Peebles's edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to Paris, taught himself French, and wrote a number of books in the language, one of which, La permission, grew ou of the story for his stylistically innovative The Story of a Three Day Pass. Turner (Harry Baird), an African American soldier stationed in France, is granted a promotion and a three-day leave from base by his casually racist commanding officer and heads to Paris, where he finds whirlwind romance with a white woman (Nicole Berger) but what happens to their love when his furlough is over? Channeling the brash exuberance of the French New Wave, Van Peebles creates an exploration of the psychology of an interracial relationship as well as a commentary on France's contradictory attitudes about race that is playful, sarcastic, and stingingly subversive by turns, and that laid the foundation for the scorchedearth cinematic revolution he would let loose just a few years later. - 1967 86 MINUTES BLACK & WHITE MONAURAL IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES 1.66:1 ASPECT RATIo
Melvin Van Peebles's only foray into Hollywood filmmaking, Watermelon Man is one of the most audacious, radically conceived works to be financed by a major American studio in the 1970s. Comedian Godfrey Cambridge delivers a virtuoso performance (initially in whiteface) as Jeff Gerber, a loudmouthed, bigoted white insurance salesman whose sitcomlike suburban existence is jarringly upended when he wakes up to discover, in a wild spin on Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, that he has become a Black man. What ensues is a ferocious satire of society's racist double standards that gradually transforms into an empowering portrait of awakening Black consciousness, executed with a mix of acerbi irreverence and deadly serious political commentary by a relentlessly subversive van Peebles - 970 100 MINUTES COLOR MONAURAL 1.85:1
SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG
A landmark of Black and American independent cinema that would send shock waves through the culture, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song was Melvin Van Peebles's third feature, made after he walked away from a contract with Columbia Pictures in order to make his next film on his own terms. Acting as producer, director, writer, composer, editor, and star, Van Peebles created the prototype for what Hollywood would eventually co-opt and make into the blaxploitation hero: a taciturn, perpetually blank-faced performer in a sex show, who, when he's pushed too far by a pair of racist cops looking to frame him for a crime he didn't commit, goes on the run through a lawless underground of bikers, revolutionaries, sex workers, and hippies in a kill-or-bekilled quest for liberation from white oppression. Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song's incendiary politics are matched by Van Peebles's revolutionary style, in which jagged jump cuts, kaleidoscopic superimpositions, and psychedelic sound design come together in a sustained howl of rage and defiance. - 1971 97 MINUTES COLOR MONAURAL 1.85:1 ASPECT RATIO
DON'T PLAY US CHEAP
Melvin Van Peebles's film version of his own Tony Award nominated Broadway musical, Don't Play Us Cheap is a bold blend of theater and nervy cinematic invention. A cast of Black stage and screen luminaries including Esther 0 Rolle, Mabel King, and Avon Long stars in this charmingly offbeat, fablelike fantasy in which a pair of mischiefmaking devil-bats dispatched by Satan assume human0 form in order to wreak havoc on a Saturday-night house party in Harlem-only to find their diabolical plan thwarted by their hosts' infectious generosity of spirit. Staged with ebullience, the original blues- and gospel-infused songs by Van Peebles burst forth in a life-affirming celebration of Black joy, tenderness, resilience, and strength. - 1972 102 MINUTES COLOR 3.0 SURROUND 1.66:1 ASPECT RATIO
FIVE-BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR'S SET FEATURES
- 4K digital restorations of all four films, approved by filmmaker Mario Van Peebles, with uncompressed monaural soundtracksfor The Story of a Three Day Pass, Watermelon Man, and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack for Don't Play Us Cheap
- Three short films by Melvin Van Peebles: Three Pickup Men for Herrick (1957), Sunlight (1957), and Les cinq cent balles (1961)
- Baadasssss!, a 2003 fictional feature film based on Van Peebles's diaries from the making of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, directed by and starring his son Mario Van Peebles, with commentary by father and son
- New conversations between Mario Van Peebles and film critic Elvis Mitchell; producer Warrington Hudlin and filmmaker and music historian Nelson George; and scholars Gerald R. Butters Jr., Novotny Lawrence, and Amy Abugo Ongiri
- Audio commentary by Melvin Van Peebles from 1997 on Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
- How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It), a 2005 documentary on Van Peebles's life and career
- The Story Behind "Baadasssss!": The Birth of Black Cinema, a 2004 featurette
- Melvin Van Peebles: The Real Deal, a 2002 interview with the director on the making of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
- Episodes of Black Journal from 1968, 1971, and 1972, on The Story of a Three Day Pass, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, and Don't Play Us Cheap
- Interview from 1971 with Van Peebles on Detroit Tubeworks
- French television interview from 1968 with Van Peebles and actors Harry Baird and Nicole Berger on the set of The Story of a Three Day Pass
- Excerpts from a 2004 interview with Van Peebles for the Directors Guild of America Visual History Program
- Introductions to all four films by Van Peebles
- New English subtitle translation for The Story of a Three Day Pass
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: A 52-page book featuring essays by film scholars Racquel J. Gates, Allyson Nadia Field, Michael B. Gillespie, and Lisa B. ThompsoN
FIVE-BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION BOX SET
THE EXPLOSIVE STYLE AND UNFILTERED EXPRESSION OF BLACKNESS
THAT JOLTED AMERICAN INDEPENDENT CINEMA TO NEW LIFE
Together for the first time-the first four features by Melvin Van Peebles
THE CRITERION COLLECTION PRESENTS
MELVIN VAN PEEBLES: ESSENTIAL FILMS
The most savagely subversive film by the iconoclastic auteur Luchino Visconti employs the mechanics of deliriously stylized melodrama to portray Nazism's total corruption of the soul. In the wake of Hitler's ascent to power, the wealthy industrialist von Essenbeck family and their associates-including the scheming social climber Friedrich (Dirk Bogarde), the incestuous matriarch Sophie (Ingrid Thulin), and the perversely cruel heir Martin (Helmut Berger, memorably donning Dietrich-like drag in his breakthrough role)-descend into a self-destructive spiral of decadence, greed, perversion, and all-consuming hatred as they vie for power, over the family business and over one another. The heightened performances and Visconti's luridly expressionistic use of Technicolor conjure a garish world of decaying opulence in which one family's downfall comes to stand for the moral rot of a nation.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 2K digital restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna and Institut LumiĂ¨re, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- Alternate Italian-language soundtrack
- Interview from 1970 with director Luchino Visconti about the film
- Archival interviews with actors Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin, and Charlotte Rampling
- Visconti: Man of Two Worlds, a 1969 behind-the-scenes documentary
- New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the sexual politics of the film
- New English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by scholar D. A. Miller"
Criterion Collection Presents:
Sparks fly both on and off the court in this groundbreaking feature debut by writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard), which elevated the coming-of-age romance by giving honest expression to the challenges female athletes face in a world that doesn't see them as equal. Sanaa Lathan (Alien vs. Predator) and Omar Epps (Higher Learning) make for one of the most iconic screen couples of the 2000s as the basketball-obsessed next-door neighbors who find love over flirtatious pickup games, fall apart under the strain of high-pressure college hoops and families, and drift in and out of each other's lives as they pursue their twin aspirations of playing professionally. Aided by stellar supporting performances and an eclectic R&B soundtrack, Love & Basketball captures the intoxicating passions, heartbreaking setbacks, and sky-high ambitions that mark a young woman's journey to the top of her game and to lasting love.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Gina Prince-Bythewood, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
- Audio commentary from 2000 featuring Prince-Bythewood and actor Sanaa Lathan
- Playing for Your Heart, a new making-of documentary featuring Prince-Bythewood, Lathan, actors Omar Epps and Alfre Woodard, Reggie
- Rock Bythewood, and basketball adviser Colleen Matsuhara
- Editing "Love & Basketball," a new program featuring Bythewood and editor Terilyn A. Shropshire
- New conversation on the film's impact among Prince-Bythewood, founding WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes, and writer-producer-actor Lena Waithe
- Audition tape excerpts and six deleted scenes
- Two short films by Prince-Bythewood: Stitches (1991) and Progress (1997), with a new introduction by Prince-Bythewood
- English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- PLUS: An essay by author Roxane Gay"
LOVE & BASKETBALL BLU-RAY Disc - CRITERION COLLECTION
With rousing martial-arts action and wild comedy, Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To's most personal film is a thrilling love letter to both the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and the art of judo.
One of the most personal films by the prolific Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To is a thrilling love letter to both the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and the art and philosophy of judo. Amid the neon-drenched nightclubs and gambling dens of Hong Kong's nocturnal underworld, the fates of three wandering souls-a former judo champion now barely scraping by as an alcoholic bar owner (Louis Koo), a young fighter (Aaron Kwok) intent on challenging him, and a singer (Cherrie Ying) chasing dreams of stardom-collide in an operatic explosion of human pain, ambition, perseverance, and redemption. Paying offbeat homage to Kurosawa's debut feature, Sanshiro Sugata, To scrambles wild comedy, flights of lyrical surrealism, and rousing martial-arts action into what is ultimately a disarmingly touching ode to the healing power of friendship.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- Interview from 2004 with director Johnnie To
- New interviews with coscreenwriter Yau Nai-hoi, composer Peter Kam, and film scholars David Bordwell and Caroline Guo
- Short making-of documentary from 2004 featuring To and actors Louis Koo, Aaron Kwok, Cherrie Ying, and Tony Leung Ka-fai
- New English subtitle translation
THROW DOWN BD CRITERION COLLECTION
Blu-Ray: $34.99 Buy
Blu-Ray: $29.98 Buy
In 1973 Bob Marley and the Wailers found themselves stranded on the West Coast of the United States after being asked to leave the Sly & The Family Stone tour for outperforming them every night. To make the best of the situation the band made their way to Los Angeles
The scene is Hollywood. Bob Marley and The Wailers were filmed in a closed door session at The Capitol Records Tower on October 24 by famed producer Denny Cordell, who received the blessing from Marley to capture the band recording 12 songs. Shooting with four cameras and mixing "on the fly" to a colorized tape, this footage, has been painstakingly restored, resulting in an incredible presentation of this unseen live session.
Peter Tosh joins Bob Marley And Bunny Wailer as an original Wailer.
This was only available as a bootleg previously
Bob Marley & The Wailers - The Capitol Session '73 [Live At Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, CA, 1973 / North American Version / 2 Disc Set]
Blu-Ray: $44.99 Buy
"Everything from the stage to the sound to the visuals were killer… a beautiful two-hour venture. TesseracT should be very proud of themselves for delivering such an immense quality of work for their fans during these unfortunate times” - Metal Insider
Following on from 2018’s critically acclaimed studio album, Sonder, the band, in the midst of a global pandemic decided to come together to present P O R T A L S – a cinematic live experience like no other. The band took livestreams to a new level by interspersing a conceptual storyline with their live performances that featured an arena-style light show.
TesseracT are a band that sit outside the bounds of any genre specificity, pioneers of the ever-evolving rock and metal scene, with an unstoppable force of off-kilter riffs, soaring melodies and disorientating atmospherics. They put all of this into the December 2020 event that featured the band performing songs spanning their entire catalog. Highlights included “Nocturne" off their 2010 debut EP, Concealing Fate and continued with “Eden” (One, 2011), "Of Matter” (Altered State, 2013), “Tourniquet” (Polaris, 2015), and “King” (Sonder, 2018), with the whole performance capturing 14 songs over 2+ hours.
Bass player Amos Williams explains more about the event and the concept behind it: “P O R T A L S is a celebration of our love of performing. Each act is a still from an ever-evolving musical personality. Each song is the conversations you have with old friends when you meet up for the first time in ages and you pick up exactly where you left off.”
Now, Kscope are proud to present this unique event to a wider audience for the first time. The film and soundtrack will be issued on an array of formats including Blu-Ray, Triple LP soundtrack and Deluxe Book Edition.
Along with the release of the livestream event, the band will be playing their first live shows in almost two years this November and December supporting Trivium in the UK and Europe, as well as returning to North American shores in 2022.
“The quality of the audio and visuals provide testament to TesseracT’s statement that the performance represents their biggest production to date" – Prog/ Louder Sound