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Wexner Center to team up with the Criterion Collection, bring revamped films to Ohio State

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

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In collaboration with the Criterion Collection, the Wexner Center for the Arts is looking to offer the public an alternative to instant streaming and a glance at archived films in an uncut, contemporary form.

The Spotlight on the Criterion Collection is scheduled to be held Tuesday at the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Theater.

The Criterion Collection archives contemporary films in their uncut versions for home viewing, according to the company’s website.

This is the most recent installation in an ongoing string of events for the Wexner Center and Criterion. Past events of the collection have focused on Criterion’s DVD and Blu-ray releases of films such as Jim Jarmusch’s “Mystery Train” in 2010.

The event is scheduled to begin with a screening of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s adaptation of “The Decameron” at 4 p.m. in the Film/Video Theater. A reception is scheduled to follow the screening at 6 p.m. in the lower lobby, where the Wexner Center store will offer 20 percent off all Criterion Collection releases. A conversation with Criterion producers Kim Hendrickson and Curtis Tsui is scheduled to be held 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Film/Video Theater as well. The evening is slated to end with a screening of John Schlesinger’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” immediately following the conversation with Hendrickson and Tsui.

Since its formation in 1984, Criterion has become widely known for compiling DVD and Blu-ray special features and for the care it puts into presenting them to home viewers, according to its website.

“Criterion has always had that reputation of seeking out the best material,” said Wexner Center director of Film/Video Dave Filipi, who has followed the company since its early days, when it released films on LaserDisc, technology that was a precursor to the invention of DVDs.

Criterion has produced discs of features by directors worldwide, from Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” and “The Killing” to Alfred Hitchcock’ s “The Lady Vanishes” and “The 39 Steps” and Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” and “High and Low.” More recent films include Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” and Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture.”

Filipi said there’s been a shift in the way people are consuming films, meaning audiences are just as likely to stream a film at home as they are to go to a theater or purchase a physical copy of the film.

Calvin Clayton, a fifth-year in international studies, agreed with Filipi’s philosophy.

“I don’t buy DVDs or Blu-rays,” Clayton said, and added most of his movie watching is done via Netflix instant streaming.

Josh Hamill, a first-year in chemistry, echoed Clayton’s remarks and said he mostly buys movies he’s already seen and liked.

Hamill also said he “didn’t really care about the special features” on a given disc, suggesting some consumers weren’t especially concerned with DVD extras.

Filipi said it was an ongoing relationship with Criterion’s sister company, Janus Films, which first got the ball rolling into an event at the Wexner Center.

“We contacted Janus and said, ‘Who do you think would be the best person to come do a talk, and we’ll show one of the films,’ and it ended up being Kim Hendrickson,” he said.

Hendrickson and Tsui are expected to give a look at Criterion’s release process, offering insights on topics such as restoration practices and the production of special features, including audio commentaries or cast interviews, Filipi said.

He also said that this is one of the most appealing aspects about the Spotlight on the Criterion Collection.

“People don’t have any sense of what goes into one of these projects. Everything from finding the best materials to making the extras, doing a digital restoration and then doing the packaging, I think people like hearing people talk about it,” Filipi said.

Filipi also said with the Wexner Center collaborating with Criterion, each force is able to appeal to its own audience.

“I think, in a way, we’re both speaking to the same people. Criterion prides itself in having … this imprint of quality, and I’d like to think we operate the same way,” Filipi said.

Tickets are $8 for the general public and $6 for students, Wexner Center members and seniors, and $4 for children.
 

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