30 Years of The Film Foundation
In 1990, Martin Scorsese founded an organization whose stated mission told the world, in no uncertain terms, that movies matter, that the art of cinema and its history is a legacy worth preserving. Three decades later, The Film Foundation is an indispensable pillar of moving-image culture, helping to make possible over 850 restorations so far and raising much-needed awareness of the necessity of film preservation as central to the safeguarding of our cultural heritage. In recognition of thirty years of vital work, the Criterion Channel looks back at a selection of the many brilliant films that, thanks to the efforts of The Film Foundation, have been rescued from the ravages of time for future generations to discover. This series will expand over the next year, with new additions to be announced monthly.
Directed by John Cassavetes • 1959 • United States
Starring Lelia Goldoni, Anthony Ray, Hugh Hurd
John Cassavetes’s directorial debut revolves around a romance in New York City between Lelia (Lelia Goldoni), a light- skinned black woman, and Tony (Anthony Ray), a white man. The relationship is p...
Directed by Vittorio De Seta • 1959 • Italy
Vittorio De Seta travels to a remote province in southern Italy to capture a unique celebration known as the “Feast of Silver.”
Directed by Robert Drew • 1960 • United States
Robert Drew’s groundbreaking 1960 film PRIMARY is one of the most important and influential documentaries in the history of the medium. A pioneering work in the documentary movement that came to be known as cinéma vérité, PRIMARY follows the young c...
The Cloud-Capped Star
Directed by Ritwik Ghatak • 1960 • India
Starring Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Bijon Bhattacharya
Directed by the visionary Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak, THE CLOUD-CAPPED STAR tells the story of a family who have been uprooted by the Partition of India and come to depend on their eldes...
Directed by Shirley Clarke • 1961 • United States
Starring Warren Finnerty, Jerome Raphel, Garry Goodrow
Shirley Clarke made a splash—and ignited a landmark censorship case—with her controversial feature debut, an innovative adaptation of Jack Gelber’s off-Broadway play in which the line between...
Directed by Francesco Rosi • 1962 • Italy
July 5, 1950--Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano's bullet-riddled corpse is found facedown in a courtyard in Castelvetrano, a handgun and rifle by his side. Local and international press descend upon the scene, hoping to crack open the true story behind ...
Directed by Ousmane Sembène • 1963 • Senegal
This groundbreaking short film, which won first prize at the 1963 Touris Film Festival in France, was the directorial debut of Ousmane Sembène.
Restored in 2013 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and Éclair, in association wit...
Directed by Ousmane Sembène • 1966 • Senegal
Starring M’Bissine Thérèse Diop
Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in ...
Directed by Agnès Varda • 1968 • France
In her effervescent first California film, Agnès Varda delves into her own family history. The short documentary UNCLE YANCO features Varda tracking down a Greek emigrant relative she’s never met, discovering an artist and kindred soul leading a bohemian l...
Directed by Barbara Loden • 1970 • United States
Starring Barbara Loden, Michael Higgins
With her first and only feature film—a hard-luck drama she wrote, directed, and starred in—Barbara Loden turned in a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema, bringing to life a kind of characte...
Directed by Med Hondo • 1970 • France, Mauritania
Starring Robert Liensol, Théo Légitimus, Gabriel Glissand
A furious howl of resistance against racist oppression, the debut from Mauritanian director Med Hondo is a bitterly funny, stylistically explosive attack on Western capitalism and the lega...
Directed by Agnès Varda • 1970 • United States
Agnès Varda turns her camera on an Oakland demonstration against the imprisonment of activist and Black Panthers cofounder Huey P. Newton. In addition to evincing Varda’s fascination with her adopted surroundings and her empathy, this perceptive sho...
Directed by Bahram Beyzaie • 1972 • Iran
Starring Parviz Fannizadeh, Parvaneh Massoumi, Manuchehr Farid
With brash stylistic exuberance, this first feature from Bahram Beyzaie helped usher in the Iranian New Wave. When he takes a job as a schoolteacher in a new neighborhood, the hapless intellec...
Directed by Lino Brocka • 1976 • Philippines
Jealousy and violence take center stage in this claustrophobic melodrama, a tautly constructed character study set in the slums of Manila. Lino Brocka crafts an eviscerating portrait of an innocent daughter and her bitter mother as women scorned. In...
The Tree of Wooden Clogs
Directed by Ermanno Olmi • 1978 • Italy
Starring Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi, Omar Brignoli
A painterly and sensual immersion in late nineteenth-century Italian farm life, Ermanno Olmi’s THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS lovingly focuses on four families working for one landowner on an isolated e...
Directed by Barbara Hammer • 1982 • United States
An incredible document of the LGBT film scene in the early 1980s (as well as artist Barbara Hammer’s off-the-charts charisma), AUDIENCE finds Hammer working in a more straightforward documentary mode than usual. Hammer interviews her largely lesb...
Directed by Jia Zhangke • 1997 • China, Hong Kong
Starring Wang Hongwei, Hao Hongjian, Zuo Baitao
The feature debut of visionary director Jia Zhangke announced the arrival of arguably the most important Chinese filmmaker of his generation. Left behind by friends who have taken advantage of the c...
Mysterious Object at Noon
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul • 2000 • Thailand
Apichatpong Weerasethakul brought an appetite for experimentation to Thai cinema with his debut feature, an uncategorizable work that refracts documentary impressions of his homeland through the surrealist concept of the exquisite corpse ...