Monday, December 19, 2016

Boxwalla Film Boxes: The Ultimate Cinematic Gift Guide

Press Sample (Affiliate Links)

That I have already waxed poetic about Boxwalla's visionary Green Beauty Boxes can easily be seen in my reviews HERE and HERE. However, as I mentioned in passing, Boxwalla also offers extraordinary Film Subscription Boxes that will appeal to film scholars, filmmakers, film buffs, film students and anyone who loves watching, and thinking about, fine film. If you, or anyone on your holiday gift list prefers Film to Hollywood blockbusters– then these boxes are sure to be cherished gifts.

Boxwalla, it is an online bi-monthly subscription box service that was specifically created to introduce people to the finest artists, filmmakers, writers and artisans from across the globe. The creators of Boxwalla have effectively curated what they call a "multi-sensory haven for the multifaceted woman (or man) who wants to experience the best in every category." They currently offer four categories for their subscription boxes that appeal to the senses and the intellect, and each of these carefully curated boxes features the highest quality products imaginable.

Bi-Monthly Subscription Box Categories: 
  • Green Beauty
  • Artisanal Food
  • Books 
  • Film
According to Boxwalla, 

...we use a bimonthly subscription model to showcase the work of the artists and artisans within these categories. Subscribers have the option of switching between categories before every cycle.

We are passionate about showcasing the most effective, practical and luxurious products we have experienced in each category. The products included in each box are meant to be used together in a slow, pampering beauty ritual, while also complementing the products featured in previous boxes.

Boxwalla Film Boxes are comprised of films that have been selected from the iconic cinematic masterpieces from The Criterion Collection. 

About The Criterion Collection,

Since 1984, the Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, has been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. Over the years, as we moved from laserdisc to DVD, Blu-ray disc, and online streaming, we’ve seen a lot of things change, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to publishing the defining moments of cinema for a wider and wider audience. The foundation of the collection is the work of such masters of cinema as Renoir, Godard, Kurosawa, Cocteau, Fellini, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Fuller, Lean, Kubrick, Lang, Sturges, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Ozu, Sirk, Buñuel, Powell and Pressburger. Each film is presented uncut, in its original aspect ratio, as its maker intended it to be seen. Every time we start work on a film, we track down the best available film elements in the world, use state-of-the-art telecine equipment and a select few colorists capable of meeting our rigorous standards, then take time during the film-to-video digital transfer to create the most pristine possible image and sound. Whenever possible, we work with directors and cinematographers to ensure that the look of our releases does justice to their intentions. Our supplements enable viewers to appreciate Criterion films in context, through audio commentaries by filmmakers and scholars, restored director’s cuts, deleted scenes, documentaries, shooting scripts, early shorts, and storyboards. To date, more than 150 filmmakers have made our library of Director Approved DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and laserdiscs the most significant archive of contemporary filmmaking available to the home viewer.
According to Boxwalla,

"Art Cinema is Boring". The Film Box challenges this notion by demystifying the work of the best filmmakers, by creating a context within which to view them.

Each Box will contain films from the Criterion Collection, along with inserts with detailed information on each film. There will also be an exclusive post film discussion sent to subscribers.

We will also send subscribers additional material via email, some to be read before, and some after watching the films. If you have any questions or thoughts about these films, feel free to contact Boxwalla through social media or via email.

Each Boxwalla Film box costs $49.95, and comes in a gorgeous gift box with information about each of the films features that month. Here are a few of Boxwalla's Film boxes to contemplate:
February Film Box Boxwalla ($49.95): Includes two masterful films from the Criterion Collection– Closeup by Abbas Kiarostami and An Autumn Afternoon by Yasujiro Ozu. Boxwalla asserts that the February box "features two filmmakers: one living, one dead but both extraordinary observers of the society they belong to. Their films quietly entertain while highlighting the humor and pathos of life."

About Closeup (Iran, 1990) by Abbas Kiarostami:

According to The Criterion Collection, 

Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the past thirty years, and Close-up is his most radical, brilliant work. This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event—the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf—as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation, and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves. With its universal themes and fascinating narrative knots, Close-up has resonated with viewers around the world.

Disk Features:
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum, authors of Abbas Kiarostami
  • The Traveler, director Abbas Kiarostami’s first feature
  • “Close-up” Long Shot, a documentary on Close-up’s central figure, Hossein Sabzian, six years after the film
  • New video interview with Kiarostami
  • A Walk with Kiarostami (2003), a documentary portrait of the director by Iranian film professor Jamsheed Akrami
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Godfrey Cheshire
About An Autumn Afternoon (Japan, 1962) by Yasujiro Ozu:

According to The Criterion Collection,

The last film by Yasujiro Ozu was also his final masterpiece, a gently heartbreaking story about a man’s dignifed resignation to life’s shifting currents and society’s modernization. Though the widower Shuhei (frequent Ozu leading man Chishu Ryu) has been living comfortably for years with his grown daughter, a series of events leads him to accept and encourage her marriage and departure from their home. As elegantly composed and achingly tender as any of the Japanese master’s films, An Autumn Afternoon is one of cinema’s fondest farewells.

Disk Features:
  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
  • Excerpts from “Yasujiro Ozu and The Taste of Sake,” a 1978 episode of the French television program Ciné regards, featuring critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec, that looks back on Ozu’s career
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Geoff Andrew and scholar Donald Richie
The February Box Insert
The April Box: An Exercise in Minimalism ($49.95): Boxwalla posits, "The April Film Box continues the 'Film Festival in a Box' with filmmakers from France and Belgium. The featured filmmakers are known for their minimalism, using it to question the nature of film and of humanity."

About Mouchette (France, 1967) by Robert Bresson:

According to The Criterion Collection,

Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feeling with Mouchette, one of the most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film. Faced with a dying mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the teenage Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her economic and pubescent turmoil. An essential work of French filmmaking, Bresson’s hugely empathetic drama elevates its trapped protagonist into one of the cinema’s great tragic figures.

Disk Features:
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by renowned film scholar, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
  • Au hasard Bresson, a half-hour documentary about the director, including behind-the-scenes footage of Robert Bresson directing Mouchette
  • “Traveling,” a segment from the cine-magazine TV series Cinéma, featuring on-set interviews with Bresson and actors Nadine Nortier and Jean-Claude Guilbert
  • Original theatrical trailer, cut by Jean-Luc Godard
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Plus: A new essay by writer Robert Polito
About Rosetta (Belgium, 1999) by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardienne:

According to The Criterion Collection,

The Belgian filmmaking team of brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne turned heads with Rosetta, an intense vérité drama that closely follows a poor young woman struggling to hold on to a job to support herself and her alcoholic mother. It’s a swift and simple tale made revelatory by the raw, empathetic way in which the directors render Rosetta’s desperation, keeping the camera nearly perched on her shoulder throughout. Many have copied the Dardennes’ style, but few have equaled it. This ferocious film won big at Cannes, earning the Palme d’Or for the filmmakers and the best actress prize for the indomitable Émilie Dequenne.

Disk Features:
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Alain Marcoen, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • Conversation between film critic Scott Foundas and filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne * New interview piece featuring actors Émilie Dequenne and Olivier Gourmet
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Kent Jones
The April Box Insert
The June Box: Roma ($49.95): The June Box contained two iconic Italian films from the Criterion Collection. Boxwalla selected these two cinematic masterpieces in order to explore "the many distinct voices throughout the history of Italian Cinema."

About 8 1/2 (Italy, France 1963) by Federico Fellini:

According to The Criterion Collection,

Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s 8½ (Otto e mezzo) turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title for 8½ was The Beautiful Confusion, and Fellini’s masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.

Disk Features:
  • High-definition digital transfer of restored film elements, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on Blu-ray edition
  • Introduction by filmmaker Terry Gilliam
  • Audio commentary featuring film critic and Fellini friend Gideon Bachmann and NYU film professor Antonio Monda
  • High-definition digital transfer of a new restoration of Fellini: A Director’s Notebook, a 52-minute film by Federico Fellini
  • The Last Sequence, a new 52-minute documentary on Fellini’s lost alternate ending for 8½ (Blu-ray only)
  • Nino Rota: Between Cinema and Concert, a compelling 48-minute documentary about Fellini’s longtime composer
  • Interviews with actress Sandra Milo, director Lina Wertmüller, and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
  • Rare photographs from Bachmann’s collection
  • Gallery of behind-the-scenes and production photos
  • U.S. theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring writings by Fellini and essays by critics Tullio Kezich and Alexander Sesonske.
About The Great Beauty (Italy, 2013) by Paolo Sorrentino:

According to The Criterion Collection,

For decades, journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the glittering nightlife of Rome. Since the legendary success of his only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and elite social circles. But on his sixty-fifth birthday, Jep unexpectedly finds himself taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the lavish nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome itself, in all its monumental glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. Featuring sensuous cinematography, a lush score, and an award-winning central performance by the great Toni Servillo, this transporting experience by the brilliant Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is a breathtaking Felliniesque tale of decadence and lost love.

Disk Features:
  • New 2K digital film transfer, approved by director Paolo Sorrentino, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Sorrentino and Italian cultural critic Antonio Monda
  • New interview with actor Toni Servillo
  • New interview with screenwriter Umberto Contarello
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Phillip Lopate
The June Box Insert
The August Box: The Modernists ($49.95): The August Film Box featured 'The Modernists': "Italian Filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni & French Filmmaker Alan Resnais. Both of these filmmakers moved away from realism towards a language of cinema that allowed for a deeper exploration of the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the human mind."

About Hiroshima Mon Amour (France, 1959) by Alain Resnais:

According to The Criterion Collection,

A cornerstone of the French New Wave, the first feature from Alain Resnais is one of the most influential films of all time. A French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) engage in a brief, intense affair in postwar Hiroshima, their consuming mutual fascination impelling them to exorcise their own scarred memories of love and suffering. With an innovative flashback structure and an Academy Award–nominated screenplay by novelist Marguerite Duras, Hiroshima mon amour is a moody masterwork that delicately weaves past and present, personal pain and public anguish.

Disk Features:
  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie
  • Interviews with director Alain Resnais from 1961 and 1980
  • Interviews with actor Emmanuelle Riva from 1959 and 2003
  • New interview with film scholar François Thomas, author of L’atelier d’Alain Resnais
  • New interview with music scholar Tim Page about the film’s score
  • Revoir “Hiroshima” . . . , a 2013 program about the film’s restoration
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and excerpts from a 1959 Cahiers du cinéma roundtable discussion about the film.
About La Notte (Italy, 1961) By Michelangelo Antonioni:

According to The Criterion Collection,

This psychologically acute, visually striking modernist work was director Michelangelo Antonioni’s follow-up to the epochal L’avventura. Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau star as a novelist and his frustrated wife, who, over the course of one night, confront their alienation from each other and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles in which they travel. Antonioni’s muse Monica Vitti smolders as an industrialist’s tempting daughter. Moodily sensual cinematography and subtly expressive performances make La notte an indelible illustration of romantic and social deterioration.

Disk Features:
  • New digital restoration from a 4K film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with film critic Adriano Aprà and film historian Carlo di Carlo
  • New interview with professor Giuliana Bruno on the role of architecture in La notte
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Richard Brody and a 1961 article by director Michelangelo Antonioni.
The August Box Insert
The December Box: Two Spanish Strokes ($49.95): Boxwalla kicked off the December Film Box by featuring "two filmmakers who have similar origins yet completely different styles." 

About The Exterminating Angel (Mexico, 1962) by Luis Buñuel:

According to The Criterion Collection,

A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and find themselves inexplicably unable to leave, in Luis Buñuel’s daring masterpiece The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador). Made just one year after the director’s inter­na­tional sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie comic absurdity, continues Buñuel’s wicked takedown of the rituals and dependencies of the frivolous upper classes.

Disk Features:
  • Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and filmmaker Juan Luis Buñuel
  • Interviews with actor Silvia Pinal and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein from 2006
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with Luis Buñuel from the 1970s
About The Spirit of The Beehive (Spain, 1973) by Victor Erice:

Criterion is proud to present Víctor Erice’s spellbinding The Spirit of the Beehive (El espíritu de la colmena), widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s. In a small Castilian village in 1940, in the wake of the country’s devastating civil war, six-year-old Ana attends a traveling movie show of Frankenstein and becomes possessed by the memory of it. Produced as Franco’s long regime was nearing its end, The Spirit of the Beehive is a bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life and one of the most visually arresting movies ever made.

Disk Features:
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • The Footprints of a Spirit, a documentary featuring director Víctor Erice, producer Elías Querejeta, co-screenwriter Ángel Fernández-Santos, and actor Ana Torrent
  • Víctor Erice in Madrid, an interview with the director
  • Interview with film scholar Linda Ehrlich
  • Interview with actor Fernando Fernán Gómez
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: a new essay by film scholar Paul Julian Smith
The December Box Insert
Overall Assessment: This is probably the best gift that you could ever give someone with a penchant for Film, and the recipient is sure to be thrilled by all of these masterpieces from The Criterion Collection. Boxwalla offers the ultimate, high quality and beautiful edited subscription boxes, and once you experience their magnificence you will be a true believer! A+

$49.95 for each Film Box from Boxwalla (Affiliate Links).

Press Sample, All views expressed are categorically my own.
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