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Essential Art House Volume V

Genres: Foreign, Drama, Criterion Collection, Art House, Comedy, Romance, War, Affairs, Based on Book, France, Italy, Japan, French Cinema, Japanese Cinema, Italian Cinema, Foreign Comedy, Romantic Drama, Romantic Comedy, Military / War Drama, Foreign Drama, Boxed Sets

Cast: Hana Brejchova, Marcello Mastroianni, Oskar Werner, Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson, Ganjiro Nakamura, Henri Serre, Susan Strasberg, Vladimir Pucholt

Director: David Lean, Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Gillo Pontecorvo, Milos Forman, Yasujiro Ozu

Synopsis: These elegant, movie-only editions of the true classics of art house feature lower cost and sturdy packaging and are a practical alternative to the more elaborate Criterion Collection special editions. Available individually or in sets of six, Essential Art House editions of the touchstones of world cinema feature beautiful digital transfers, accompanied by informative liner notes. For the devoted cinephile, these are the must-own fundamentals; for the novice film lover, this is precisely where to begin.
Films include: A Brief Encounter, 8½, Floating Weeds, Jules and Jim, Kapo, and Loves of a Blonde.

A BRIEF ENCOUNTER One of cinema's most timeless love stories, David Lean's A Brief Encounter stars Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson as a married doctor and a housewife who meet one gray evening on a London train platform and embark on a tentative, forbidden romance. Lean directs this exquisite adaptation of a Noël Coward play with his customary precision. In this master filmmaker's hands, the temporary, guilt-ridden affair is as delicate as a flickering candle.

8½: Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning is the Italian maestro's iconic story of a director's creative block, and the ultimate movie about movies. Marcello Mastroianni charmingly embodies adulterous scamp and world-famous director Guido Anselmi, whose romances, dreams, and memories become the elements of Fellini's endlessly expressive fantasy world.

FLOATING WEEDS: This late-career triumph for Yasujiro Ozu is one of his most visually splendid works. Shot in vibrant Technicolor, the film (a remake of Ozu's own 1934 silent classic A Story of Floating Weeds) tells the elegant tale of an aging actor who returns to the small seaside town where he once fathered a son, who has been raised to think the man is his uncle.Floating Weeds is a rich, evocative tale of family and the life of the theater.

JULES AND JIM: Truffaut's breathlessly paced three-way romance is cinema's most provocative, exuberant portrait of the unpredictability of love. Spanning twenty-five years, the film dissects the relationship between the beautiful, free-spirited Catherine (Jeanne Moreau, in her most captivating role) and the two men who love her, Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre).

KAPO: Before he left his mark on cinema forever with The Battle of Algiers, Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo directed this uncompromising World War II drama about a young Jewish woman (Susan Strasberg) in a Nazi concentration camp who saves herself from death by assuming another's identity and becoming a ruthless warden. The Oscar-nominated Kapò was one of the first films to depict the horror of the Holocaust, and it does so with brutality and daring emotional complexity.

LOVES OF A BLONDE: Before becoming an Oscar-winning auteur in America, director Milo Forman burst onto the international scene with the delightful Loves of a Blonde, one of the defining films of the Czech New Wave. Broken into three largely realtime segments, the film follows a night of romantic pursuits for shoe factory worker Andula, who longs to break out of her drab, provincial routine.

Language: Various

Country of Origin: Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom

Production Year: 1965


  • "A masterpiece. (Brief Encounter)", Halliwells Film Guide
  • "It is, beyond a doubt, a work of art of the first magnitude. (8 1/2)", Newsweek
  • "Floating Weeds is like a familiar piece of music that I can turn to for reassurance and consolation . . . It envelops me. (Floating Weeds)", Roger Ebert
  • "Among the great lyric achievements of the screen. (Jules and Jim)", Pauline Kael
  • "Remarkable . . . Every minute of the harrowing story is disturbing and alive. (Kapo)", Films and Filming
  • "Sweet, poignant, entertaining, and revealing. (Loves of a Blonde)", Leonard Maltin


  • Nominee, Oscar, Best Actress, Academy
  • Nominee, Oscar, Best Screenplay, Academy
  • Winner, Oscar, Best Costume Design, Academy
  • Nominee, Oscar, Best Art Direction, Academy
  • Nominee, Oscar, Best Director, Academy
  • Nominee, Oscar, Best Foreign Film, Academy
  • Winner, Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy

Essential Art House Volume V
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