Criterion's March 2010 Slate

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As a form of Christmas gift, the Criterion Collection unveiled its March 2010 releases this week, and, as usual, it's an eclectic mix: Nicholas Ray's 1956 melodrama Bigger Than Life, the 2008 Austrian import Revanche, Marco Ferreri's "inscrutable late-sixties masterpiece" Dillinger is Dead, and Letters from Fontainhas: Three Films by Pedro Costa.

While all four releases are surely deserving of the Criterion label (the cover art alone makes me want to buy Dillinger is Dead; the synopsis on Criterion's site is equally enticing), two of them are especially noteworthy.

Revanche has proven a breakout work for director Götz Spielmann, with the film finding great, albeit niche, success in New York where it played Lincoln Center earlier this year as part of the Lincoln Center Selects 2009 series. (Revanche is also the latest entry in Criterion's recent dedication to releasing current, critically-acclaimed independent cinema (see: Gommorah, A Christmas Tale, and Che, among others).) It's a film I missed when it was playing around town and am anxious to check it out on DVD.

Similarly, Film Forum presented a restored print of Bigger Than Life a couple different times this year (once as part of its Nick Ray festival; again because of "popular demand"), and it looked stunning -- James Mason's drug-addled suburban breakdown just about pops off the screen. Between this release and that of Z and the impending Lola Montes, I'm convinced that anything screening at Film Forum as a revival with a new print is more often than not destined for Criterion's library.